I think I finally understand the Republican tax philosophy: America's working class just doesn't understand the value of a buck.

Those Americans who can feed, clothe and house a family on a minimum-wage job (or two) just don't understand what it costs to run the federal government ["Tax Plan May Bring Shift in Burden; Poor Could Pay a Bigger Share," news story, Dec. 16]. Whereas those overburdened taxpayers in the top 1 percent deserve a break because they understand perfectly well what it costs to finance the corporate tax breaks, government business subsidies and other costly spending programs needed to guarantee American democracy, or at least their two-SUV lifestyles.

MARTI ESTELL

Arlington

While upper-income taxpayers may pay a larger share of income tax, lower-income taxpayers pay a much larger percentage of their money in other kinds of taxes and fees -- and many of these are regressive.

Take the gas tax, for example. Upper-income taxpayers may do a little more driving than middle- and lower-income taxpayers, but not substantially more. Both pay the same amount of gas tax.

Republicans need to watch it if they intend to shift more of the tax burden to the lower-income groups. Not only will they create a political problem, but they may choke out spending by the people whose spending is necessary to sustain a recovery.

LARRY WIENER

Alhambra, Calif.