Humble the rich
Dear Jack: I read with interest your piece on the book The Disposable American ("The ugly truth about the layoffs," Metro Times, April 12). I have great sympathy for the idea that the present "capitalistic system" is too corrupt to go on much longer.
I am, however, not sure that there is a suitable replacement. Let me suggest an alternative.
I suggest that any personal income over $1 million be taxed at the confiscatory rate of 90 percent.
Think of the implications of this scheme. All those stock options that upset people so much? Forget about them. A thing of the past. Since the stock would most certainly be bought well within 365 days of being "cashed out," any amount more than $1 million would be futile. This way, 'start up' companies that would most benefit from such stock options would still be able to use them, because they usually pay little or nothing in salary and, besides, my system would allow up to three years of income averaging. Fortune 500 companies, with their already sky-high top executive pay, would not.
Corporate mergers would become more difficult too, because all the pay grades would have to end at a million dollars, which would make extensive layering of management, beyond a certain point, all but impossible.
A more humbled rich would, in my estimation, be good for America.
I'm sure the folks at Fox would have a field day with this. They would call it "the success tax." And I would counter them, most enthusiastically, by calling it "the greed tax." Bob Cornwell, Warren
Easy does it
Jack: I like your column very much in general, but I thought that the tail end of this week's column, where you dismiss the "we're-gonna-win-in-Eyerak" guy, was a little New Criterion-ish. The tone it takes is exactly the same as that of the blind supporters. I understand that limited column space may make it impractical to explain history, but the haughty tone does nothing to encourage self-edification. It's the same frustrated intellectual tone that whines to no effect in so many other publications. I don't know where else your column appears, but I saw it in Metro Times, and surely you realize that it's not The New Republic; you're going to get readers that might not know about Vietnam. Please draw them in instead of maintaining your column for the converted.
I think you generally stay away from such antics, so I just wanted to caution you in case it gets out of hand, as I think it can be quite addictive. Roy Wang, Ferndale
Educated but ignorant
Re: Jack Lessenberry's column, "Men of the people," (Metro Times, April 5), what a sad affair. It's hard to believe someone from Harvard University with such intellect could be so ignorant. It just goes to show you, too much education can make you dumb, and Edward Glaseser is a prime example of that. Not only is Glaeser not in touch with Detroit's problems, he's not even in touch with the world. Who on earth called this man a genius? He appears arrogant in my opinion, to say the least. It's obvious he is an advocate for the "survival of the fittest" principle.
I suggest he go back to school and learn something about politics, economics and, most importantly, people. Although I no longer live in Michigan, and now live in a vibrant, progressive town, anyone can see that letting the people fall through a shithole is not the answer. Char Welmerink, Washington, D.C.
Eating his words
On the recommendation of a very favorable review in Metro Times of Zingerman's Roadhouse more than a year ago ("Grub heaven," Metro Times, Oct. 13, 2004), we traveled there for dinner. It turned out to be very disappointing and prompted me to write to your letters column detailing our contradictory experience (Letters to the Editor, Metro Times, Nov. 3, 2004). This prompted Paul Saginaw from the restaurant to respond to my letter and invite us back to give it another chance.
I am writing to say that not only did he honor his invitation of a least a year's passing but that we found the quality greatly improved and would not hesitate to recommend the restaurant to anyone looking for a good meal. He was extremely gracious to our party and the entire staff was knowledgable and helpful. Randle Samuels, Hartland
Choices led to tragedy
First of all, allow me to express my appreciation for the balanced and realistic profiles of Deshaun "Proof" Holton that appeared in your publication ("What do we have to prove?" and "Final moments & nagging questions," Metro Times, April 19). I never met Mr. Holton, so I can't dispute the descriptions of him as being smart, witty, possessing a wonderful sense of humor, and always willing to help out a friend.
However, while watching the extensive coverage of the story and Mr. Holton's funeral service, etc., I could not help but wonder how sad, sick and bitter a pill it must be for the Bender family to see and hear all the glowing tributes about the man who (if all reports are accurate) pistol-whipped and shot Keith Bender a son, a father, a brother in the face. The disturbing bottom line is thousands of people (including hizzoner the mayor) lined up to glorify a man who senselessly and stupidly murdered an unarmed man in a dispute over a game of pool at 4 a.m.
There have been many statements that Mr. Holton died for "no reason." Au contraire. The reasons are all too clear. Mr. Holton is dead because he made a series of choices. Mr. Holton is dead because he enthusiastically embraced a lifestyle that promotes violence, guns and aggresive macho behavior, and belittles women, among other things. Mr. Holton is dead because he carried a weapon into an after-hours drinking establishment. Mr. Holton is dead because of his inability to resolve a trivial dispute, without resorting to pistol-whipping and shooting a man in the face.
As a result of Mr. Holton's choices, two men perished needlessly. Two mothers lost sons. Two wives lost husbands, and children will grow up without their fathers. But it was not without reason. The reasons are obvious. In an ironic twist worthy of Shakespeare, the lifestyle, and attitude that created, and brought fame and fortune to Proof, ultimately destroyed Deshaun Holton. Doug Donald, Clawson
Framing the issues
Re: Rebecca Mazzei's "Wide open" (Metro Times, April 26), it was a brilliant article. Thank you. I'm jamming my fingers in my ears to block the sound of gossip and complaints, and waiting happily for the day when we can walk in. Mary Fortuna, Royal OakSend comments to firstname.lastname@example.org