Re: "Va., Md. punt on billions needed for roads," April 30
I've lived in Northern Virginia since 1979, and while I'm generally quite happy here, I find the total lack of planning for future growth amazingly poor, thanks to the General Assembly's failure to make any serious effort to fix our lousy road system. Even though I-66 is under constant repair, the potholes and uneven surfaces rattle one's teeth. Then there is the Spaghetti Bowl where I-95 joins the Beltway, which is enough to confuse Einstein.
I used to live in Virginia Beach. When it became a city 50 years ago, the population was about 50,000. Now it is more than 500,000 and growing. Virtually every major road had to be widened at least once and in some cases, three or more times. Every time, the city had to condemn homes or business properties at a huge cost. Yet despite the obvious growth, city officials continued to close their eyes -- and would then be forced to do the same thing again.
N.Va. is even worse. Arlington and Alexandria basically refuse to even consider road improvements because that would make it quicker and easier for people to drive into the District and cause their home prices to fall, with a subsequent loss of tax dollars. Arlington and Alexandria are now so built up that finding available land to build roads -- even if property is condemned -- would be prohibitive. Thus, we are stuck with a very expensive Metro system, which only slightly alleviates the constant traffic problems.
One simple thing that might raise sufficient funds to build and maintain better quality roads seems to be only a dream, as the governor and legislature will not raise gasoline taxes.
James R. Campbell
Reagan's tax cut was at the expense of poor
Re: "Reagan reduced highest tax rate to 28%," From Readers, April 30
Yes, Ronald Reagan did reduce the tax rate, but at the expense of children and the poor. The number of children aged 18 and younger below the poverty level increased from 11.5 million in 1980 to 12.4 million in 1988. Inequality also increased as low-income groups were affected by the reduction in social spending.
The share of total income received by the top 5 percent of highest-income households grew from 16.5 percent in 1980 to 18.3 percent in 1988. The share of the highest fifth of income earners increased from 44.1 percent to 46.3 percent in those same years.
In contrast, the share of total income of the lowest fifth of households fell from 4.2 percent in 1980 to 3.8 percent in 1988, and the second poorest fifth from 10.2 percent to 9.6 percent.
Second-in-line Biden lacks commander's grit
Re: "Obama camp claims Romney lacks commander's grit," April 30
In praising President Obama's decision to order the raid that resulted in Osama bin Laden's death, the Obama campaign also casts doubt on whether Mitt Romney would have done so. That, of course, we'll never know.
However, we do know that three months ago, in a speech to leading Democrats, Vice President Joe Biden confided that he -- along with most of the president's senior advisers -- counseled against going forward with the raid.
That Biden is now among the most visible and vocal members of the Obama team earnestly spreading this calumny against Romney is rich indeed.