Your Letters

Your letters about the tangled web that is our tax code, our interview with Utah Governor Jon Huntsman and Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Time now for your letters.

(Soundbite of typewriter)

SIMON: And lots of letters this week about an essay I did last week about the tangled web that's our tax code. I mentioned that Warren Buffett liked to tell interviewers he pays less than 20 percent in taxes on his income of billions while his receptionist pays about 30 percent.

It's not, as I implied, because Mr. Buffett has lawyers and accountants to find him all sorts of deductions. The reason, writes George White(ph), a Washington, D.C. tax attorney, is right there in section one of the code - the 15 percent rate on qualifying dividends. When Mr. Buffett calls attention to his low tax rate in contrast to his receptionist, he's decrying the preference in the income tax system for the investment class over the working class.

We also heard from a number of you who commented on our interview with Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. Utah recently became the first state to mandate a four-day work week for many of its employees. Benedine Stone(ph) of Honolulu wrote that the governor neglected to note, as you did not question him about, the effect of this work week on families, especially those with young children. Arrangements must be made for those with children in pre-school or after school programs that often close by 5:30 or 6:00.

He goes on to say the one argument often used for the four-day work week is more family time. Well, not if the rest of the family is in school or works on Friday.

Many of you also wrote in about my essay on what would have been Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. First, I misstated the year in which the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. There were actually two orders. One in September, 1862. The second, January 1 of 1863. The Times of London editorial denouncing President Lincoln for the policy of abolishing slavery in confederate states as they returned to union control was in 1864.

But Jeff Levine(ph) from Rockville, Maryland writes, thank you for your splendid piece celebrating Lincoln's birthday. You married the myth to the to the man by contrasting his eloquence to the venality of his detractors. Lincoln is much like a great book. No matter how many times you read it, the story is fresh in the retelling. Like you, we all share a connection to Lincoln, the real and the ideal.

Barry Ogenbrown(ph) from St. Petersburg, Florida writes, thank you for your appreciation of Abraham Lincoln. It was moving and poignant. It was also a timely reminder of how different the judgment of history on our presidents can be from the criticism of contemporary observers, no matter how erudite and astute they purport to be at the time.

We welcome your letters. You can come to our Web site, npr.org. Click on Contact Us. You can also leave comments under Individual Stories on our Web site or on our blog, nprsoapbox. For that matter, I'm on Facebook and Twitter. We'd love to hear from you there, too.

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