I have many shirts and shorts I have purchased from Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores that are for athletic-type activities. The fabrics they are made of have me comfortable all day, even in Japan’s very hot and humid summers.

The Army-issue summer PT shirt, however, feels warm and sweaty even when I’m just standing around. It doesn’t absorb sweat easily, and it doesn’t allow air through it. Once it is wet, it doesn’t dry out quickly. The shirts shrink too, and they can get itchy even when clean.

The Army PT shorts are some very cheap swim trunks. Just like the shirt, they don’t keep you dry and cool. The legs are too short for people taller than 5 foot 8, I’m 6 foot 1 and they feel like “short shorts.” The pockets on the shorts don’t really hold anything. The pocket in the waistband fails and falls apart quickly and putting a key in it can get you poked in a sensitive place. The pocket on the leg has a tiny piece of Velcro that wears out readily, leaving things such as ID cards to fall out while running. The reflective Army lettering can wash out in a year, leaving otherwise usable shorts unusable for wearing in a uniform.

I (and anyone else) could go on the Internet to shop at any major athletic apparel and get a shirt-and-short combo that is more comfortable to exercise in, has better pockets and is higher visibility. Can the Army please just go to someone like Nike or Adidas and have them make a new shirt and short?

Spc. Andrew Francis

Camp Zama, Japan

Flat tax isn’t square deal

I believe the author of the July 20 letter “Taxes stifle capitalism” hasn’t thought the full implications of the “flat tax” he proposes. It would be “fair” in as much as that is defined as an “equal burden” in this case. At least it would seem so on the surface but, like the vast majority of things, it is not so simple.

While I am sure the letter writer would gladly pay his share, the implications for those of more humble means would be dire indeed. Simple math will illustrate: 10 percent of $30,000 is $3,000. For the sake of discussion, let’s say that is the annual income and tax burden of Person “A” and, if one adds a zero to each of those, it would give us the income and tax of Person “B.” Person “A,” who lives much closer to the poverty line and, depending on how many others he supports, may find himself below that line as a result of the tax change. Person “B” would be paying more but the impact to his livelihood would be much less.

Indeed, where one person could find himself homeless, the other would merely have to forgo a luxury vacation abroad and instead make do with spending his money closer to home.

The idea that “taxes stifle capitalism” holds no water either. Some of the highest taxes in recent memory (remember the 1990s?) saw innovation and job creation on a scale unprecedented since the end of World War II. The transfer of wealth to the top 5 percent of U.S. earners since approximately 1985 is well-documented. Further it has shown that these people, rather than investing in new ventures that employ U.S. workers, invest where the greatest profits are to be gained, as most would agree is prudent, in established concerns of proven reliability.

The support of “capitalism” the letter writer professes falls flat in the face of government bailouts of the financial system and the auto industry. These bailouts prevented pain to large sections of America, but mainly kept the rich in their mansions and their bonuses beyond comprehension. A true capitalist solution would have allowed these idiot gamblers to fall and allow new, more prudent people to rise instead.

I am willing to pay higher taxes so as not to pass on a gross national debt disgrace to my child or her children. I implore the letter writer to do his own research (the information is available through the Government Accountablity Office, Office of Management and Budget, and investment organizations such as Moody’s) rather than rely on the very pundits he lambasts.

Master Sgt. B. Scott McDonough

Sather Air Base, Iraq

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