Higher marginal tax rates help us grow

President Barack Obama has no plan to fix the economy, says a recent letter writer, and she may be half right.

Since our government is sharply divided on how to do this, and the president has limited options we may not see any improvement until one party prevails.

The Republicans believe "trickle down" works despite evidence to the contrary. Numerous studies have pointed to two pieces of factual data that slam the myth that taxing the rich kills jobs and growth.

When marginal tax rates have been above 50 percent, the average annual growth in jobs has been 2.3 percent and when marginal tax rates have been below 35 percent, growth has been one-quarter of that.

The same holds true for annual growth. The higher tax rates yield average annual growth of 4 percent, but marginal tax rates below 35 percent have been half that. Even during the 1950s, when marginal tax rates were 90 percent, growth was much more robust. We need only look at the economic policies of President Bill Clinton to see recent evidence of these policies.

The rich tax breaks contribute to a lack of a money to sustain our infrastructure, but also by influencing Congress to enact legislation that protects their wealth and, consequently, their power.

Anne Spanier

Alameda

Water conservation policies are not fair

This is in response to the Jan. 28 letter, "Consider water usage penalties."

The last time EBMUD enforced a 20 percent reduction with penalties, I was in a similar situation as the letter writer describes. I had already been conserving my water use mightily. Nevertheless, my target was set 20 percent below my calculated average use, even though my average was well below the districtwide average. Calls to three EBMUD officials did not change my target.

As a result, ever since the 20 percent penalty was lifted, I have been using water without trying to conserve. I am working on raising my average in anticipation of the next drought-required, penalty-enforced reduction.

EBMUD's inflexibility and inability to respond to consumers who normally conserve has caused its customers to use, and possibly waste, more water.

Bruce Joffe

Piedmont

Brown should switch focus from toy train

In the past few weeks, about every other day, there's been several very good articles raising concerns about our state's present and lengthening drought. Reminders of past ones are included.

Fading from coverage is mention of Jerry's Joke -- the little choo-choo that thought it could but is rapidly turning into, at best, a Tonka Toy wannabe.

Since Gov. Jerry Brown's rather expensive, legacy-to-be train to nowhere in no way resembles the promised item voted on by our state's denizens, how about he switches his misguided energy to take the hoped-for bucket of money and build more reservoirs.

Brown might find a more appreciative audience, and end up with something a lot more useful to our 33 million inhabitants than a new train on old tracks with a very limited load capacity and capable of not covering much more ground than several loops around a high school track team practice facility.

Dave Cardana

San Leandro

Thanks for coming to aid of stray cats

Few individuals have given as generously of their time and resources as Ellen Lynch, who was spotlighted in the recent article, " 'Crazy Cat Lady' on a mission."

Dedicated animal lovers probably do seem a bit nuts to many folks, particularly when they go to great lengths to care for and protect animals that do not share their homes. The selfless kind of work that Ellen does day in and day out to feed starving feral cats is rarely recognized, let alone rewarded.

Thanks to her tireless efforts to trap ferals, and have them spayed or neutered, she helps keep this population from growing even faster. People often mistake the independent nature of cats for an ability to survive in the urban wilds when, in fact, they are as vulnerable to starvation, injury and disease as everyday house cats. Life on the streets is a tough, and often brief, tenure for these abandoned felines.

A heartfelt thanks to Fix Our Ferals, Ellen, and other volunteers for bringing our attention to the problem of stray cats, and offering remedies, both short- and long-term.

Wendy Jung

President San Antonio Hills Neighborhood Association Oakland