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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obama touts taxes but uses deductions

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's interesting that President Obama tells us he and other wealthy people should pay more taxes, but according to news reports, he and Mrs. Obama are getting a $12,000 refund this year ("Obama's tax return shows a decline in his income," Web, Monday).

Don't get me wrong, the Obamas paid a lot of taxes on their $1.7 million adjusted gross income. But if they really want to set the example, how about not itemizing and/or claiming deductions so they can pay more like they say they want to? How about returning the refund to the Treasury? If he really wanted to pay more taxes, he could also have claimed Washington residency.

I'm not saying they don't deserve the refund. I'm saying Mr. Obama and other liberals tell us they (and many others) should pay more taxes while they have the ability to do so but choose not to.

It's also tiresome to hear the disingenuous anthem of Warren Buffett and other celebrity liberals that they should pay more taxes. Mr. Buffett should stop hiding his income in Berkshire Hathaway stock that doesn't pay a dividend (avoiding a higher tax rate) and taking exemptions and/or deductions. Mr. Buffett and everyone else who wants to pay more taxes can get their checkbooks out right now and write a big check to the Treasury for deficit reduction.

While Mr. Buffett's pledge to give away the majority of his wealth after his death is admirable, it would be more impressive if he gave the majority of his current net worth away while he is living. He could keep $100 million to be comfortable and cash the rest in for charity and taxes right now. That would be putting his money where his mouth is. Until he does, he should refrain from lecturing others.

Tax forms ought to be changed to allow anyone who wants to pay more to have the option of writing in whatever extra amount they want to pay. One simple line added to the form could let Vice President Joe Biden's "patriots" write in their extra contributions.

STEPHEN PAAR

Chesapeake Beach, Md.

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