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Mitt Romney's taxes, and our mean streets

Danny Pierce
What is this, Kick a Person When They're Down Month?

First we had the case of a serial killer preying on homeless people in Orange County. Four men were killed before police apprehended and charged a suspect.

Then on Tuesday came the odd story of Pinkberry co-founder Young Lee, who in June allegedly used a tire iron to beat a transient who had asked him for money.

This follows the sad case this week of a Los Angeles woman who was arrested on suspicion of offering sexual favors  in exchange for Chicken McNuggets at a McDonald's drive-through.

Sure, terrible things happen every day, and not just in Los Angeles. But doesn't it seem that the mean streets are getting meaner?

Part of the reason, of course, is that the social safety net is -- well, I guess the polite term is that it's "fraying."

You know: We can't afford to do as much; we're taxed to death in California; businesses are fleeing.

But do you want to really educate yourself about California's fiscal situation? Then go read my colleague George Skelton's terrific column, "Voters need facts, not myths."

After you've read that, go to another story in The Times, "Homeless make up growing number of California welfare recipients."  Read how assistance to people struggling to work and feed and house their families has been cut from $560 a month three years ago to $490 now, with more cuts likely.

Finally, go read the story on Mitt Romney and his taxes.   

Asked Tuesday in South Carolina, the Republican presidential candidate acknowledged that his tax rate is about 15%. 

Which is about half what the average American earning $60,000 a year with no deductions is taxed at.  (Romney earns a bit more than $60,000; his wealth is estimated to be at least $250 million.)

The top tax rate is 35%. Romney has said he'd like to cut that to 25%. 

And after reading those stories, answer this question:

If Romney becomes president, how much meaner do you think our streets will become?


Charges filed in homeless slaying

Tattoo tied to alleged beating by Pinkberry co-founder

A few novelties in the latest Republican presidential debate

 --Paul Whitefield

Photo: Danny Pierce, 56, sits in the Santa Ana Civic Center area. Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times


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