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Protesters see our economy as out of balance

POSTED: October 14, 2011 1:00 a.m.

Your editorial, "Biting the hand," in last Sunday's paper shows a real lack of understanding of the Wall Street protests and the current struggles of many middle-class Americans. If you actually listen to the protesters you will see that many cannot find a job, don't have health insurance, have low-paying jobs and student loan debt to pay off or are generally struggling to make ends meet. They are from all age groups and all walks of life.

Your article implies, though, that the protesters and middle-class people are doing just fine and are merely resentful of the rich for making more money. Over the past 30 years, middle class incomes have risen very little while incomes of the top 1 percent have risen almost 300 percent.

Decreased taxes on the rich have led to even more disparity in wealth. In some cases, due to loopholes and low capital gains taxes, wealthy people pay less of their income in taxes than middle class people. Many wealthy people feel that this system has gotten out of hand and agree that they should pay more in taxes.

In fact, one of the protesters who is well-off stated that his tax rate should increase. However, greed has been running rampant among many at the top income levels, and average Americans are suffering as a result. Even before the recession, many middle-class and poor households were finding it harder to make ends meet. Along with stagnant incomes, certain costs such as health care, energy and housing increased astronomically.

Banks, health insurance companies and energy companies were able to take advantage of consumers and make huge profits due to deregulation, federal subsidies or both. Deregulation of the financial industry finally resulted in economic collapse and enabled many of the perpetrators to make millions and others to be bailed out, while causing many hardworking people to lose jobs and retirement savings and struggle even more than before.

Many Americans are now extremely concerned about their financial future and the future of this country. In addition, 17 percent of the population now lives in poverty. This is what the protests are about - to validate what many Americans are feeling and going through and to call for the restoration of our country to a sane and just system that does not reward greed and allow a few to make huge profits while more and more people struggle.

The protests are not about resentment or class warfare; they are about a system that is out of balance and the legitimate struggle of an increasing number of Americans.

Anne Trotter
Gainesville



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