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FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Nov. 30-Dec. 6

This week, readers sent us comments about federal pay, the FairTax and our upcoming conference.

In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the e-mail we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.

Federal Pay

Nice job on the comparison — best I’ve seen ["Are Federal Workers Overpaid?," Dec. 1]. But there is one more factor you should consider to make comparisons truly apples to apples: locality. Take attorneys for example. If one compares the salary of government attorneys with private attorneys, one might find a very slight bias in salary for the government attorneys. However, there are many private sector attorneys serving as public defenders, divorce attorneys, traffic ticket attorneys, etc. in small towns and cities across America in places like Broken Bow, Oklahoma, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Nice places, but less costly to live and hence lower wages overall. By contrast most government attorneys work in places like Washington, D.C., New York City, San Francisco, etc. When you compare government attorneys in D.C. to private attorneys in D.C., once again you see the private sector earning more. Most federal govenment offices are in large cities with higher costs of living.

Bill Luthans
Dallas, Texas


FairTax Futures

I have recently begun to read about the FairTax. Your article ["Unspinning the FairTax," May 31, 2007] is good; as you say, it shows a healthy skepticism. However, I did chuckle when you mentioned Brookings and the bipartisan President’s Advisory Panel as objective opinions. Brookings is, of course, on the left of the political spectrum. As far as the President’s Advisory Panel: while it is bipartisan, that does not make it objective regarding a consumption tax. The reason I would favor such a tax is that it would end the practice of both major parties using the tax code for political ends. Unfortunately I believe the idea is doomed to fail for that very reason: neither major party will promote a change that would significantly reduce their power.

I am resigned to continue to vote third party, knowing such parties have no chance of winning.

Fr. Michael J. Driscoll
Peoria, Ill.

FactCheck’s Conference

FactCheck.org note: The following letters were received in response to our announcement of our December 13 post-election conference.

Great idea! Have you considered asking your readers to submit questions? While I’m sure your staff is eminently qualified and they will pose many well thought out questions to the panelists, perhaps someone from the public arena might come up with a question (or comment) worthy of consideration.

Ross Meyer
Monument, Colo.

FactCheck.org responds: Great idea! If you have questions you would like to hear our panelists answer, please send them to Editor@FactCheck.org and put "Cash Attack Question" in the subject line. We’ll use as many as we can.


I believe in allowing Americans, and American based organizations, to contribute whatever they can to campaigns.

However, foreign contributions and internet contributions, which by definition are from unknown sources, should be prohibited.

I look forward to your post-op report.

Scott George
Mt. Vernon, Mo.