Readers Write: ‘On The Right’ is so wrong

The Island Now

I’m surprised that your newspaper’s editorial board allows a certain columnist to provide information that either fails to show the complete picture, thus making it misleading, or is totally false. In George T. Marlin’s column, “On the right”, he begins by saying that if Biden wins the presidency, “his new spending proposals will exceed $5.4 trillion over ten years” and to plug budget gaps, he will have to raise the top federal income tax bracket on people earning over $400,000 annually from basically 37 percent to 39.6 percent and it can go up to 45%. Pity the poor billionaires.

How about if I begin by presenting a bit of history. Let me take you back some 55 years, to 1965, when the following events occurred:

The New York Jets signed future Hall of Famer Joe Namath.

Martin Luther King begins drive to register black voters and is arrested in Selma, Ala.

President Lyndon Johnson deploys first U.S. combat troops to South Vietnam.

The Rolling Stones release “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

The Los Angeles Dodgers win the World Series.

The film “Doctor Zhivago” premieres in New York City.

Do you know what the maximum income tax rate was in 1965?  Before I let you in on the answer, we all know that the cost of almost everything has gone up since then. For example, a first-class stamp went from 5 cents to 55 cents. Gas went from 30 cents a gallon to approximately $2.25 a gallon. A loaf of bread went from 30 cents to approximately $2.10. The average rent went from $115 per month to $784 per month. How about the median price of a new home going from $20,000 to almost $330,000 and let’s conclude with the cost of a new car, for instance a Ford Mustang that went from $2,320 to $26,670. Based upon the above, the increase in each category ranged from seven-fold for bread or rent to 16-fold for buying a new home.

How do all these multi-fold increases in the above categories compare to the increase in federal income rates for the highest earning taxpayers. To repeat, the proposed increased tax rate as mentioned by Mr. Marlin was 39.6 percent. In 1965, for income earned over $100,000, the top rate was 70 percent. Seventy percent! That’s not an increase. That’s a decrease of over 40 percent. Pity the poor billionaires and millionaires.

On capital gains or losses on the sale of stocks, Marin either outright misleads or is, in fact, ignorant of the tax law. He states that if you buy a stock on Jan. 1, 2020 for $5 a share and it goes up in value to $8 a share on Dec. 31, 2020, even if you don’t sell it, you must report the unrealized capital gain on your tax return of $3 a share. That’s not true. You report a gain or loss only if you actually sell the stock, but he continues on with a convoluted calculation that is totally incorrect. Utilizing his example, you buy a stock on Jan. 1, 2020 at $5 a share and sell it the following year in March 2021 at $2 a share, your capital loss in 2021 is $3 a share ($5-$3). It’s as simple as that. There’s nothing in between.

Switching away from taxes, Marlin goes on to say that Gov. Cuomo has been lobbying for $59 billion from Washington to close the fiscal gaps for the state, the MTA and the municipalities. He goes on to say that “even if he gets that money from the Biden administration, it’s only a one-shot revenue. It does not fix the structural deficit caused by Cuomo’s shutdown of the New York economy.”

Yep! Cuomo caused the New York economy shutdown because as the president of the United States, he failed to respond quickly and adequately to the coronavirus pandemic. But wait a minute. If I recall correctly, Gov. Cuomo is not the president of the United States. That honor belongs to Mr. Trump. In conclusion, I guess that Mr. Marlin gets many of his so-called facts mixed up. No wonder he supports Trump.

Alvin Goldberg

Great Neck


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