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Tax solution?

To restrain inappropriate property-assessment inflation [“Property Tax Revolt,” June], homeowners should have the right to sell their property to the municipality at the assessed value. (This would certainly help owners facing foreclosure.)

If the purchased property is in fact undervalued, the town could resell it and add the profit to its tax collection.

Rowland Williams
Newburyport, Mass.

Fighting the deficit

One onerous thing that Michael J. Graetz left out of his essay [Opinion, “Balance the Budget. Here’s How”] is the huge industry fostered by the tax laws. I refer to the army of accountants, tax lawyers and corporations that exist only to interpret the myriad tax laws that are constantly changing. Few ordinary taxpayers can do it.

We spend billions of dollars annually estimating, figuring and preparing tax returns, and almost all of it is totally nonproductive. Just think what our economy could be if we could rid ourselves of this huge burden. A simple postcard return should be sufficient to do the entire thing.

Alan C. Fitzgerald
South Fork, Colo.

Michael J. Graetz’s essay suggested lowering the corporate income tax rate to 15 to 20 percent, and listed as its advantage that it would give the United States one of the lowest corporate taxes in the world. How is that an advantage?

It would allow the huge corporations to continue paying enormous salaries and make a minimum contribution to the country.

D. Stern
Aventura, Fla.

The essay by AARP CEO A. Barry Rand [Where We Stand, “Attacking the Deficit”] again expressed a single-minded determination to see that programs for older people are not cut or weakened in the effort to cut the deficit.

Elsewhere in the issue, other writers criticize our political parties for not being willing to compromise on spending programs each believes is important.

I believe the criticism of the political parties is correct. How then can you reconcile your AARP firm stand on not touching the programs for older people?

That’s hypocrisy, isn’t it?

Richard L. Olson
Columbus, Ga.

How ironic. AARP has a long and presumably proud history of advocating for ever-increasing funding for established “nondiscretionary” entitlement programs.

Similarly, AARP is well known for lobbying for new federal social support programs, most recently drug programs and health care.

Now along comes the June issue with no fewer than three articles—including “Too Much Red Ink” [Editor’s Letter]—beg­ging for actions to address the huge deficits being piled up by the federal government. Seems to me you are essentially reaping what you have sown.

Matthew J. Scully
Sahuarita, Ariz.

Old sayings

I enjoyed the “Say What?” article [Power of 50] on old expressions that have outlived their roots. But, as a Bronx native, I have to report that the expression “in like Flynn” predated the actor Errol Flynn.

It first referred to Bronx Tammany Hall boss Ed Flynn, whose lock on the electorate in the 1920s and ’30s was so strong that he won every election, and every nominee of his for judgeship, commissioner, etc. gained approval without question. To be “in like Flynn,” therefore, meant that you had gotten something without any doubt.

Morton Isaacs
Rochester, N.Y.

CLARIFICATION: “Cadillac Ranch,” shown on page 24 of the October 2009 issue of the Bulletin, is copyrighted 1974 by Ant Farm (Lord, Michels and Marquez).

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