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Columnist Peter Goldmark, in "Our unfair tax rates favor the rich" [Opinion, Feb. 26], laments the unfairness of our federal income tax, as well as the payroll taxes, Social Security and Medicare. Well he is right, things are not fair; 49 percent of the lower-income earners do not pay federal income taxes.

The payroll tax relief puts very small change into people's pockets, but at the same time underfunds Social Security for another year, driving the Social Security Trust Fund into bankruptcy much sooner. This is very, very unfair, especially to future retirees.

He says that the wealthy should pay more taxes. He admits that this would only raise $50 billion to $100 billion in new revenue, depending on how it were done. With President Barack Obama's deficit in the trillions, this does not help very much.

Goldmark suggests we must invest in the future and lower our ratio of debt to gross domestic product. Investing in the future could raise our ratio of debt to gross domestic product still higher. Has Goldmark thought this through?

Joseph Scrandis, Westbury

No doubt this column strikes a chord with those who believe the rich are not paying enough taxes -- or their "fair share," which is the broken-record phrase the media and government use. And why would it not? The overwhelming majority of us are not in the top 1 percent, so it is easy to take that populist view.

But what Peter Goldmark fails to mention is that even at a 15 percent tax rate, the wealthy are paying thousands (or millions) of dollars in taxes. Yes, the rate may be lower than that of other people, but have we forgotten to do the math and realize the vast dollars being collected from high earners? For the most part, they receive the same government services as the rest of us, yet pay more in taxes.

Should the wealthy pay even more? Many folks say yes. One can make the point we need to attack the deficit from both sides of the equation, raising revenue while cutting costs. But please, would the media and current administration stop the "fair share" rhetoric and acknowledge what they are really asking: that the wealthy help us get out of our financial mess?

Ralph Tilleli, Commack