Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Letter to the Editor: Don't misread lessons from history

on February 21, 2014 10:20 AM

Having recently read several letters to this editorial page, I was slightly amused by the lack of historical and factual insight within some of the missives.

Tom Smith’s letter (“Don’t taxpayers already pay enough?” Feb. 12) asks if the taxpayers pay enough and a chorus of many would answer with a resounding “yes.”

But really? Have we all forgotten the numerous tax cuts that continue to benefit the wealthiest among us? Have we forgotten the tax credits to corporations that allow for soaring profits and offshore accounts? If the majority of taxpayers pay more than their fair share, then how about the select few?

And then there is the argument that this nation was founded upon religious freedom. Indeed, the Pilgrims did come for religious freedom as did the Puritans, Huguenots, Catholics, Baptists, etc.

Not all of those groups were tolerant of one another. The most tolerant was our own Pennsylvania, when William Penn, a Quaker, offered refuge for many religious groups. Later those who founded this country would ensure separation of church and state so that citizens could choose to practice as they saw fit.

Since Thomas Jefferson has been quoted in the past, here is one of Jefferson’s most famous quotes, written in 1802 to a Baptist association in Connecticut: “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

And finally, the burning issue that took the colonists to war and to independence was … gasp! … taxation. What the rebels demanded was taxation with representation, which today would certainly also be translated as equity and fairness in tax laws.

History needs to be studied to understand how much can be left out of pure political arguments.

Josephine Cunningham


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