Your Letters: Herman Cain's Tax Math

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There was lots of mail about our interview last week with Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, especially what he said about the taxes paid by a family of four making $50,000 a year under the current tax system. Host Scott Simon reads letters from our listeners about that story and more.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for your letters.

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SIMON: Lots of mail about my interview last week with Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain, especially what Mr. Cain said about the taxes paid by a family of four making $50,000 under the current tax system.

HERMAN CAIN: Based upon standard deductions and standard exemptions, they're going to pay $10,200 in taxes.

SIMON: Mr. Cain's estimate sent many listeners running for their calculators. NPR's Tamara Keith consulted tax expert Edward Kleinbard. And he told Tamara, under Mr. Cain's 9-9-9 tax proposal the same family would pay about $5,000 more a year in taxes.

EDWARD KLEINBARD: The rich will find their tax bills going down, and the majority of working Americans would find their tax bills going up, quite substantially.

SIMON: We reached out to Herman Cain's headquarters for clarification, but they didn't get back to us.

Karen Michel's report last week on photojournalist Ruth Gruber, who is now 100 years old, got the attention of Fern Zalin Jones of Valencia, California. She says as a PTA mother she once dressed up as Ruth Gruber and took questions from elementary school students to teach them about great women in history.

She writes of meeting Gruber some time later, dressed in the same outfit. I was thrilled when she saw me in my 1940s foreign correspondent suit, and said, I had a suit just like that. Spending time with Dr. Gruber was like touching history. Thank you for featuring her.

And we also got a letter that was music to our ears: Shannon Bower of Wooster, Ohio wrote about our interview with Amy Lee, singer with the metal band, Evanescence.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHAT YOU WANT")

AMY LEE: (Singing) Do what you, what you want if you have a dream for better.

SIMON: Ms. Bower says thank you for expanding your music selections. I appreciate the many genres you're now covering, including metal, rap, hip-hop, rock. I love the show, but I was a little tired of jazz interviews for three or four weeks.

And if anything else you hear on our show bangs your head with joy or anger, please let us know. Go to NPR.org, click on Contact Us. You can also reach us on Facebook or on Twitter at NPRWeekend. I'm NPRScottSSimon, all one word.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHAT YOU WANT")

LEE: (Singing) Remember me? I'm everything you can't control. Somewhere beyond the pain there must be a way to learn forgiveness. Hello, hello. Remember me? I'm everything you can't control. Somewhere beyond the pain there must be a way to believe we can break through. Remember who you really are. Do what you, what you want.

SIMON: This is NPR News.

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