Begrudging to poor

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I pity Charles E. Moore for his misguided views regarding the "leeches" and "looters" of society who siphon his income via federal taxes ("I Plead Guilty," Nov. 3 Forum). Although intentionally vague about identifying the culprits, he is likely pointing to the millions of single mothers, children and the elderly. These three groups comprise the largest beneficiaries of safety net programs like food stamps, school meals, low-income housing, child care assistance and/or health programs like Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, safety net and health programs receive 33 percent of our federal tax dollars, which may seem like a large hunk of Mr. Moore's pie, but it is a considerably smaller slice than it would take us to pay our grandparents' insurance premiums out of pocket, for instance.

Mr. Moore correctly chides those who refuse to work, but with minimum wage at a miserly $7.25 an hour ($15,080 a year) and few opportunities to escape generational poverty, the "nanny state" is often the only thing between survival and absolute destitution. The Moore children's dance classes and Little League are literally luxuries to millions.

Finally, most of us will likely spend $50 to $100 on Thanksgiving dinners this year, but our most vulnerable "leeches" will be using (free) federally backed programs like Meals on Wheels, food banks and soup kitchens for theirs. While Mr. Moore ostensibly begrudges these programs their "liberal" tax-exempt status, I am grateful to live in a country that helps the least of these.

LISA SILVERMAN
Penn Hills


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