If the expensive shoe fits, tax it

I think the Inquirer published the most definitive argument yet for including tax increases for the wealthy as part of addressing the national budget deficit, when you published the article about Beth Shak and her 1,200 pairs of outrageously expensive designer shoes ("Her Sole Obsession," July 29, 2011). At least one pair cost "$4,000-plus"!

Raise your hand if you think she, and her wealthy compatriots, should be compelled to divert a bit of their surplus income to the common good.

Patricia Robin, Wyncote

FAA shutdown is fine with Republicans

Might I suggest that the FAA shutdown really isn't a problem for Republicans. From their perspective, it cuts Government spending and boosts corporate profits since most of the airlines are pocketing the lost tax revenue. And to top it off, it also increases the unemployment rate which is perfectly fine if that makes Obama look bad. How else to explain their apparent total indifference to layoffs of some 4,000 FAA employees and 10s of thousands of construction workers while blasting the administration on jobs?

Sam Goldwasser, Bala-Cynwyd, sam@seas.upenn.edu

Israelis aren't the obstacle to peace

Trudy Rubin asks, What will happen to Israel—and U.S. policy in the Middle East—when the peace process ends? Like a modern day Rip Van Winkle, she has awakened from a decades long slumber, unaware the world has changed. Gaza is Palestinian ruled for years and in 2011 it is Jewish Israelis not Arabs who are the most ardent supporters of a thriving and peaceful Palestinian state. Israeli leaders, from the left and the right, including Ehud Barak, whose chief of staff she cites, have failed to conclude an agreement, because Palestinians reject a two states for two peoples solution, if one state is a Jewish homeland. The peace process, whose loss she laments, was all process but no peace, stillborn from Yasir Arafat's White House handshake, intended by him not to bring peace but to bring him from Tunisia so he could wage war from up close. The real question is what will Palestinians do when they realize if they want peace they will have to help make it?

John R. Cohn, Philadelphia, john.r.cohn@gmail.com

"Catholic-Lite," and proud of it

After reading George Weigel's op-ed piece "The New Catholic Paradigm," I feel compelled to confess my sin for being what he calls "Catholic Lite." He writes that the Catholic Lite: "helped cause - as in Boston -the meltdown that began in 2002." Please forgive me, I thought the meltdown was caused by the epidemic of priests raping and sodomizing children and by Cardinals and others in authority, whose idea of compassion and caring Catholicism apparently was to protect the predators and the church while children were repeatedly victimized.

I've been a practicing Catholic all my life and was taught that Catholicism, Lite or otherwise, was a religion that cared for the least among us, not the most powerful and authoritative, including our own Church. \Mr Weigel refers to me and others as "the usual Suspects." The real suspects are those who committed these sins to the least, the same children who called them "Father," and those who continue to shift the blame on anybody but those who were and continue to be responsible for those sins.

He suggests that a more "discerning reader" would be better served not reading the "mainstream media" for the truth. I would suggest that the reader and Mr. Weigel read the Grand Jury report instead.

Michael J. Malloy, Narberth