The Region

Letters to the Editor

Editorial comment from Region readers.

Published September 1, 2003  | September 2003 issue

To the Editor:

I enjoyed reading "Rich and Poor" [June 2003] in your publication. It was very interesting.

I thought you might be interested in some observations made by a Minnesota banker on some of the topics.

  • The data on individual entrepreneurs is subject to doubt. Many small private businesses take significant money "off the books" to avoid taxes. They also do not report their total wealth. They also transfer wealth to their children "off the books." Wealth transfer is much bigger than it seems.

  • Sub S corporations also distort data because total corporate income is treated as individual income.
  • America's poor are overwhelmingly single mothers whose children have been born out of wedlock. This is poverty in America.
  • Personal income pretax ranks significantly higher in Minnesota than personal income after-tax because of high Minnesota tax cuts. We are near the top of pretax and in the middle after-tax.

Enjoyed the article.

William A. Cooper
Chairman of the Board
Chief Executive Officer
TCF Financial Corp.
Wayzata, Minn.

To the Editor:

Your article "Accounting for the Rich" [June 2003] includes extensive discussion as to why people save. You cite Franco Modigliani, who won a Nobel Prize for his "seminal theory" in 1954. You also refer to findings by Gary Becker and Robert Barro.

While many other economists have gained fame from theories on the motivation for savings, none has to my knowledge mentioned what I would call passive savings. In my case, for example, my generous state pension plus my Social Security more than meet my modest desires. I buy what I want, and the rest simply accumulates in savings. Most of it will go to my children upon my death, but that is not the purpose.

And I am small peanuts. Look at the individuals with very large incomes, such as corporate executives, entertainers, athletes and successful entrepreneurs. Do they live on budgets, in order to save money?

Mack A. Moore
Professor (emeritus) of Economics
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Ga.

To the Editor:

Your article "Perfectly Competitive Superstars," [September 2002] though interesting, leaves out one important fact—the employers of those high-priced superstars pay them outlandish salaries because of their inherent belief that they will realize a direct return on investment, through higher sales of their products and services. A-Rod sells tickets, Jack Nicholson sells movies, Hillary Clinton sells books. Less theory, more pure economics.

Howard Kaplan
Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Queue Associates Inc.
New York, N.Y.