Columnist Peter Goldmark's comments are class warfare. He combines half-truths with incorrect conclusions. ["Fair share talk isn't class warfare," Opinion, Feb. 12].
It is a half-truth that Mitt Romney's tax rate is the same as the retired bank teller making $30,000. When Romney first earned his money, it was ordinary income, which today is taxed at 35 percent, compared to the bank teller, who today would either fall into the 15 percent bracket, or, after deductions, pay no taxes at all. Romney's current tax rate of 15 percent is based on investment income that is taxed at the lower rate for all. He already paid his 35 percent on the millions when he first earned the money.
Goldmark's desire to tax investment income at the same rate as ordinary income would lead to a collapse of the financial markets. Investment dollars would simply pour out of these markets because the risk would far outpace the reward.
Investors would simply put money into safer havens. A collapse of the financial markets would hurt the same middle class that Goldmark claims a tax increase would benefit. The middle class has most of its retirement money invested in the stock market.
Thomas Calabrese, Farmingville
Why is it that all public discussions of the disparity of taxes on earnings versus investment disregard the 15.3 percent "payroll" tax deducted from a workers' paychecks or paid on their behalf by their employers? Warren Buffett says his effective tax rate is 17.4 percent, while his secretary's is 35.8 percent. However, his secretary pays not just 25 percent on her income tax, but actually more than 40 percent (counting the 15.3 percent that she and her employer pay), while Buffett pays only 15 percent on his capital gains, or even 35 percent on dividends.
Sounds to me like class warfare on the part of the wealthy.
Jerry Worthing, Wantagh
In Sunday's column, Peter Goldmark referred to the retired bank teller earning $30,000 yearly from Social Security, which is grossly inaccurate. In 2012 the maximum Social Security benefit at age 66 is $30,156. To receive this amount, a person would have to contribute the maximum Social Security tax for 35 years, which is based on income of slightly more than $110,000 a year.
A bank teller's salary wouldn't rise to that level, and in retirement, he or she would more realistically receive about $12,000 to $14,000 yearly. In fact, the yearly average Social Security income for individuals is now about $14,000.
Mark Rosen, East Meadow
Editor's note: The writer is a pension consultant.