Non-Citizens Pay Taxes, Too

I would like to comment on the letter by Kathy Matches in the July 24 issue, claiming that non-citizens should not be counted by the U.S. Census because they don’t pay taxes.

Matches is forgetting that the large majority of non-citizens are here legally, are legally employed, and pay income and Social Security taxes. But even the undocumented non-citizens (whom she no doubt has in mind), even if they are employed “off the books” and are not paying those taxes, are directly or indirectly paying property taxes (if they rent, their landlord pays property taxes out of their rent), sales taxes at the store, gas taxes if they drive, etc. Only the homeless depending on charity pay no taxes; and they are the most likely not to be counted by the census, as well as very probably being U.S. citizens.

Theodore Chase Jr.

Princeton

Coping with the End

For all of us who suspect that we and our loved ones will not live forever, I recommend three coping tools — an event, a website, and a new book.

A community forum, “End of Life: Planning is Everything” will be at the Princeton Public Library on Tuesday, August 13, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Organized by Dorothy Mullen, founder of the Suppers Program, and Leslie Rowley, of Hereafter Partners, it will cover palliative and hospice care, estate planning, and New Jersey’s recently adopted Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act. Space is limited and registration is required at https://princetonlibrary.org/events.

Mullen’s inspiring first-person narrative about how she wants to live out her final days was featured on the cover last month (U.S. 1, July 10). Through Suppers, Mullen wanted us all to eat well — according to our preferences. Now she is helping us live and die better — according to our preferences. Says Mullen: Just as we have lost our natural connection to growing and cooking food, just as we have lost our community connections and have to start support groups to compensate, we don’t know how to die. Or how to be with someone who is dying.

If you can’t come August 13, turn to the website GoalsofCare.org, founded by David Barile MD, the palliative care physician I wrote about five years ago (U.S. 1, November 12, 2014). Palliative care specialists help patients to get the care they need and no less — and the care they want and no more. If you don’t think that matters, talk to anyone who has been a caregiver.

The just-published book has a Princeton connection. Do you recall the Princeton University sophomore who climbed atop the Dinky and was nearly electrocuted? That was B. J. Miller. A triple amputee, he is now an assistant professor at University of California at San Francisco, teaching palliative care medicine and co-author, with Soshana Berger, of “A Beginner’s Guide to the End, Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death.”

Thanks to Berger’s journalistic and design skills, this book outclasses its sometimes hard-to-open rivals. As the editorial director of the design and consulting firm IDEO, Berger fashioned the book after “What to Expect When You Are Expecting,” lacing it with illustrations, cartoons, sidebars, and pull out quotes to make the ideas accessible, casual, and sometimes worth a smile.

Someday we all be caregivers. Someday we will all be care receivers. You’ll be glad to have this book on your shelf.

Barbara Figge Fox

Princeton

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