November 2008

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News and Opinion

Letters to the Editor

The Responsibility of Religious Organizations to our Children

As Protecting Your Children pointed out sexual abuse happens in all settings, but institutions where children attend and learn are often 'magnets' for predators.

It's crucial that religious organizations particularly work hard to both protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

We hope that your readers circulate the valuable information in this article to friends, family and colleagues.

-- Barbara Dorris, St. Louis, Missouri
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Preventing Sexual Abuse

It is unfortunate that an attempt to teach children how to stay safe made it to a political commercial with such biased and completely inaccurate information. However, I appreciate that you picked it up and made a point to disseminate accurate information in such a normalizing way. Because I work with children who have been sexually abused, I am in a position of offering this information to stop something from happening again. I like opportunities to help educate parents and children on how to stay safe from a prevention perspective.

-- Christine Downs, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Safe Place, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

"Pragmatic skeptic" vs "worried Jew"

What gives Aaron Ahuvia such confidence that the Palestinians are a threat to Israel? Ari Shavit and Shimon Peres recently spoke about the weakness of the Palestinian authority.

Why does Ahuvia assume that a theoretical Palestinian State would have to attack Israel alone? Would they not get help from their allies?

I do not object to your effort to simplify the analysis but I do think it is wrong to lump Jews with very good reason to be concerned into the category "worried Jews" thereby denigrating them as somehow childish or neurotic. Let's have a serious discussion of credible threats.

I have listened very carefully to the arguments made for Ahuvia's case by people such as Daniel Levy and it seems to me that what we are dealing with is a debate over assumptions about what the Arabs will do under different circumstances. I would like to see more evidence to support your assumptions before any steps are taken that cannot be reversed and that place millions of Jewish lives under grave threat. I have no doubt that all on his side are acting in good faith and that he believes his proposals will lead to peace. However, I am not convinced by the evidence. This does not in my view qualify me for the label "worried Jew" --- I would rather adopt the title "pragmatic skeptic".

-- Yocheved Seidman, New York, NY

There is a legitimate problem for sole proprietors like Joe the Plumber. The way our tax code is written, the personal income Joe draws from his business is not the only income which is taxed: his Schedule C business profits are added to his personal income; the resulting sum is used to compute a higher tax rate than would be attributed to the proprietor’s personal income alone. This problem persists under either the McCain or Obama tax plan.

By contrast, the Chairman and CEO of a corporation pays taxes only on his own personal income. New forms of corporate partnerships have been invented – for instance the legal liability company (LLC) – to avoid similar tax disadvantages from non-corporate partnerships.

Joe’s $250,000 business jumps Joe’s personal income under proposed higher marginal rates from his $100,000 actually taken home, under current methods of personal income currently in force. Such business income is computed under Schedule C, and contributes to Joe’s adjusted gross income. If instead, sole proprietorship income were considered an investment – and computed like many other specialized investment income types in Schedule D Part IV,

  • Joe’s personal income tax rate would be based solely on his personal income;
  • Joe’s business income tax rate could be computed on the basis of corporate tax rates or his personal tax rate, whichever is less.

Under such a tax code, Joe’s increased tax rate would not be increased by his proprietorship income. Under such a tax code, there would be no discrimination of corporate taxation over sole proprietorships or non-corporate partnerships. Under such a tax code, a proprietorship would be considered an investment asset, rather than as a tax liability.

As Jews, we are commanded to pursue justice. We can afford to show some sympathy even to people like Joe.

-- Ben Burrows, Elkins Park, PA

The Philadelphia Jewish Voice welcomes the submission of articles and letters to the editor letters @ pjvoice.com. Please include name, address and phone number for identification purposes. We cannot publish every submission we receive. We also reserve the right to edit submissions for length, clarity, grammar, accuracy, and style, though we will never intentionally distort the author's intent.

Editor-in-chief Adena Potok editor @ pjvoice.com.

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