Your cover story rightly sounds the alarm about a China bubble related to its recent real estate mania [Oct. 31]. But the related article "A Great Leap Forward" paints too glowing a picture of China's private consumption. Most of the anecdotes in the article refer to the consumption behavior of the rich, not the mass-consuming middle class. I also think your claim that the middle class will rise to 70% of the population by 2020 is a bit wild, given that it constitutes about 20% of the population now.
Kam Wing Chan, Professor of Geography, University of Washington, SEATTLE
Drowning in Student Debt
Thanks for the excellent article about student debt [Oct. 31]. But you neglect to point out that students are unable to borrow sufficiently via Stafford loans--unsubsidized or subsidized--because of the set dollar limits. So private loans and their ensuing heinous interest rates become a necessity. Our son just graduated from a state school with a B.S. in chemistry, and his outstanding loans total nearly $50,000. Fortunately, he is employed.
Diane Greenwood, GENESEO, ILL.
Of the five young adults featured with large portraits in your article, there was not one with a major in science or math. Specialized studies, multimedia design, English, history and global studies? Give me a small break. Nothing wrong with an interest in these areas, but it's pretty predictable that the people who major in them are unemployed or underemployed.
E.A. Whited, TAYLOR, TEXAS
Not Quite So Simple
Millions would approve of Fareed Zakaria's tax-reform proposal as superior to Cain's or others' ["Complexity Equals Corruption," Oct. 31]. The concept of merging a simple flat tax with a three-tiered system to make it progressive (9% for the first 90% of Americans; 18% for the next 9%, whose incomes start at $150,000; and 27% for the top 1%, whose incomes start at around $500,000) is the keystone. Competitive corporate taxes without all the loopholes will spur growth. With all economic classes having some skin in the game, it is the path forward for our country.
William Krieg, EAST ROCHESTER, N.Y.
Zakaria wants to enact a 50% inheritance tax? The hard work, investment and long-term vision--rather than obsession with quarterly profits--by one generation to pass to the next is the foundation of American small business. Our economy is hurt if the next generation must buy the business back from the tax collector.
John Hein, TOMAHAWK, WIS.
A League of Their Own
Joel Stein misses the point when he says Tom Hanks is in the top 1% ["Who Speaks for the 1%?," Oct. 31]. Hanks did not destroy the economy, demand that the government bail him out and then pay himself lavish bonuses while 16 million were out of work. It's not how much you have; it's whom you stepped on to get it and what you do--to help or harm those less fortunate--once you're at the top.
David Rivera, LOMBARD, ILL.
Please recycle this magazine and remove inserts or samples before recycling