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The proposed tax cuts in Washington are nothing but political posturing, further benefiting those in the tax-collecting industry (IRS) and those in the tax-avoiding industry (tax lawyers). More pages will be added to the thousands of pages already in the tax codes.

When Henry Ford was asked why he was paying such high wages to his employees, he replied: "So that they can afford to buy my cars." And they did.

They did not have regressive taxes such as payroll and excise taxes forced on them, as the consumers have today. It is time to free our economy by giving the buying power back to those who help to make our country run.

Scrap the income tax code. Enact a flat tax with a generous personal exemption where, as Steve Forbes suggested, a family of four earning $38,000 would pay no income tax. The personal exemption for a family of one would be $8,840. Any income above those exemptions would be taxed at a rate of 15 or 17 percent.

Perhaps one additional exemption could be allowed: home mortgage interest.

Income should be defined as being any money received in or from the United States, including retirement funds, after the input to them has been retrieved. The generous personal exemptions would make it a progressive tax, protecting those of low income.

The payroll tax for Social Security should also have an $8,840 personal exemption. For a minimum-wage earner, it would be like a 35-cent raise. The loss to the fund could be recouped by taking the cap off from the payroll tax. In addition, the cost-of-living adjustment should be a flat amount, based on a consumer price index taken from the basic living expense and omitting luxury items.

A loaf of bread costs the same to everyone, so why should the more affluent receive five or six times more than a needy person? Then a percentage of the payroll taxes could be cut, or increased, to keep the fund solvent.

Lawmakers in Washington should be ashamed that many families have to work two or three jobs to make a go of it, paying all these taxes, while foreign goods flood our markets.

Eino Salminen Lancaster

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