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May 11, 2011

Inbox — May 11, 2011

Letters to the Editor

CFA or CSA?
Regarding the CFA/CSA confusion in the “Green giants” article published in the April 20 LEO Weekly: Community Farm Alliance is Kentucky’s very own homegrown, grassroots, statewide member organization. Members of CFA love fresh local food and the out-of-the-box thinking that goes into creating new businesses like Grasshoppers Distribution, which supports local farmers, increases the amount of good food in our city, and strengthens our food system by linking our rural and urban economies.

The CFA specialty, however, is policy. We are the only organization in Kentucky focused on creating rules that support small-scale agriculture and preserve our family farms. Policy is one of those things you don’t always see, but you certainly feel its effects. One example of policy that was initiated by CFA members is the law that made it possible to buy all those good jams, jellies, breads and salsas at farmers markets. Not only are they delicious, but it’s an added income for farmers who want to turn their harvests into value-added products through home-processing and micro-processing.

You do not have to buy a share in a CSA (community supported agriculture) to be part of CFA — join online at www.communityfarmalliance.org.
Beth Nolte, CFA board member, Old Louisville

Trapped
It is that time again: Time for the Derby Festival Mini-Marathon, where the event planners show once again they don’t give a damn about those of us who live and work in the downtown area. Past experience has taught me that it is best to just stay home and avoid all the roadblocks; but alas, I am scheduled to work. So I decided to be smart this year and check out the route map to try to find my way from my Old Louisville apartment to my place of employment in the heart of downtown. Imagine my dismay at discovering there is a nice, tidy rectangle encasing all of downtown.

Why is it so hard to make some accommodations for people who have dealings in downtown? Why can’t a route be created that won’t make it quite so impossible for people to get from one place to another? It baffles me every year, and frankly makes me angry. The Derby festivities are supposed to be fun and bring the community together, but instead, oversights like these indicate that we who live in the area just don’t matter.
Allan Day, Old Louisville

Number Crunch
I would like to respond to David Cay Johnston’s April 27 Inbox letter. In my April 20 letter, I mentioned working-poor families with children. I did not assume they were the only poor, though I do assume they make up the bulk of the working poor. Perhaps I’m wrong. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of low-income filers by age and household status. Also, I wonder whether Johnston’s income numbers take into account transfer payments such as food stamps. If not, it’s likely that for many folks, the value of those payments more than offset state and local taxes.

For rich taxpayers, I used Johnston’s numbers for 1961 and multiplied the average income ($13.6 million in 2007 dollars) by the rate paid (42.4 percent) and then by the number of payers (398) to come up with a total federal income tax paid of about $2.295 billion. From www.usgovernmentrevenue.com, I got the total federal income tax revenues for all payers and adjusted it to 2007 dollars. That comes up to $427.33 billion. Doing the division, I calculated that those top earners paid 0.54 percent of all federal income taxes in 1961. Using Johnston’s numbers for 2007, the top 400 paid a total of about $22.908 billion. Total income taxes paid by all earners in 2007 was about $1,533.71 billion. By my math, those 400 paid 1.49 percent of all federal income taxes. If the question is the share of those taxes paid by the 400 wealthiest taxpayers, that has gone up from 1961 to 2007.

Finally, I never meant to imply that FICA was voluntary. My main point was that the reason the wealthy don’t contribute from the portion of their income that is over $106,800 is that they don’t benefit over that amount. The max Social Security benefit for a worker retiring at age 66 is about $28,000. For high-income retirees, that’s not going to cover their amount of their income taxes.
Rich Mills, Shawnee