LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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TAX TALK

Thank you for writing about the apparent double standard of Americans who are unwilling to pay more taxes to fund more government services but are quick to offer an opinion as to what services should receive additional funding (Down on the Levy, March 2004).

Your survey did not appear to address the more relevant question of whether Americans would be willing to pay more in taxes to maintain the same level of services they have enjoyed in the past. I would guess that the results would be similar. I would also guess that many Americans think government should be forced to do more with less, and that it would all be made possible by a swift identification and correction of that elusive animal called Fraud and Waste.

BETH LINDLEY

Sacramento, Calif.

COUNT ON US

I would like to commend you on your fine magazine it is one of my favorite technical magazines (the company I work for even had a full-page ad just inside the front cover).

But I have found a mistake in the February 2004 issue, which I wanted to bring to your attention. On page 37 in the Growing Young Men population bar charts, I count 66 bars, which I would presume represent the ages 0-65. But the axis label on these bar charts goes from 0-60. I suspect these custom labels were hard-coded by hand, and that the 60 should really be 65.

Being somewhat of a SAS/Graph guru, I have included a SAS/Graph imitation of your graph, showing what the correct graph should look like.

SAS allows me to create these custom axis labels programmatically, therefore ensuring that the text in the label is correct (since the text is derived from the actual numeric x-value).

ROBERT ALLISON, PHD

SAS Institute, Inc

BELIEVE IT OR NOT

On page 13 of your April 2004 issue, there was an article entitled, Still a Hidden Market with a connected box of data (Gay Magnet Metros).

I understand why you might choose to write such a piece. However, I think you grossly misrepresented the facts in the article. It is terrible editing, writing and journalism to place such a misleading statement as:

The Human Rights Campaign says that estimate could be off by as much as 62 percent. More reliable estimates of gay, lesbian and transgender individuals range from 10.5 million to 26 million, or from 3.6 percent to 8.9 percent of the U.S. population.

Perhaps you would quote me as credibly as you did the Human Rights Campaign (who is that?) if I were to say that estimates could be off by as much as 50 percent from Census 2000 and actually represent only 0.25 percent of households in U.S. In fact, your sentence More reliable estimates makes no mention of who in fact believes such a wild number of gays/lesbians/transgender individuals are part of the U.S. population.

So, it seems that your numbers can be either based on fact, or just whatever someone may believe, based on their agenda. Is that the case? If so, the volumes of data you turn out may be grossly flawed and worthless!

You have really caused me to question the validity of American Demographics. Can you restore credibility?

THOMAS K. CROW

Executive Pastor

Charlotte's First Baptist Church

Charlotte, NC

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