Don't 'Scrap' It
Editor: I was disappointed to read the Sept. 19 report by John Frece that Gov. William Donald Schaefer had "scrapped the strategy of re-election campaign wrapped in good deeds and volunteerism."
I admired the governor's move away from campaign-as-usual tactics and believed he was at least giving some attention to better use of time, energy and money than the usual political game-playing.
One of the governor's strengths is his willingness to be innovative, and his courage to do things differently has gained my support even when I haven't always agreed with his plan. I think this campaign approach came from some very desirable motivations and hope he will work on improving the effectiveness of these new techniques, not "scrap" them.
Bills Are Due
Editor: It's time for Americans to grow up, to pay the piper. We have the cheapest gas in the world, we pollute five times more than any other nation per capita, we drive over-meaty cars frivolously here and there. So a tax on fuels is warranted. At least it affects all of us, not just the few.
Sure, it would be nice if the U.S. government would mind its purse the way a normal American family does; but since it hasn't, we have to help balance the checkbook. After all, this is the best place to live in the world and if we don't mind our budgetary manners, we'll all suffer.
By driving at 50 mph instead of 60, you can save as much as the 10-cents-per-gallon tax; by consolidating errands and trips, you can save as much again and be ahead of the game. By adding insulation to a house, or window insulation (interior storm windows, insulated shades), you can save one-third of your winter and summer fuel costs.
I don't mind the extra $1.20 per tankful. And we should all be tankful that gas doesn't cost more than $4 per gallon as it does in Europe. And think of the 200 cubic feet of air you foul each time you burn one gallon of fuel. Multiply that by 17 million barrels -- 714 million gallons -- used per day and you'll understand why the environment is such a mess. Take a deep breath: that breath contains 40 times more noxious poisons than it did 50 years ago.
James R. Durham.
Let It Fail
Editor: In regard to the budget bill, I believe it is time that all elected legislators remember that they are U.S. senators or representatives. For this bill, the United States is their constituency.
This bill is imperfect and it may be too late; it could have been enacted in 1980 or in October 1987, or even a year ago when it wasn't an election year. Members of the two houses couldn't, or wouldn't, put local pressures aside. And there are some big ones. When each representative or his agent spends several times his official income to be elected, there are bound to be commitments to interests of a parochial nature.
Perhaps I am overly concerned. Let the bill fail; let there be furloughs; let vital services go unadministered. Perhaps the nation won't be upset with its Congress, but I doubt it. I also doubt that many, if any, of our elected representatives will return that part of their pay in proportion to agency cutbacks.
To establish perspective for my pro-budget position, I am over 65, I drink a bit, I own a sailboat and my household income is below $50,000 per year.
Paul A. Gasparotti.
Editor: In your recent article describing National Health Care Day, you mention the often quoted refrain: The United States pays the most for health care of any industrialized country, yet we are way down in life expectancy and infant mortality. Therefore we need national health insurance.
The average life expectancy in the United States of 75 years is one or two years below some other countries. However, the homicide rate in the United States is 15 times greater than these same countries.
Similarly, while the infant mortality rate for the United States is more than twice those of some countries, the infant mortality among white babies is the same as these other countries. The poor rankings of the United States in life expectancy and infant mortality are not a reflection of poor medical care. Rather they reflect serious social problems which no amount of national health insurance will cure.
Editor: Judging from The Sun's reports, the governor's official hostess, Hilda Mae Snoops, has carried out her duties in a responsible manner. This has been reaffirmed by the recent report (Sept. 21) of her role in ordering new furnishings for the governor's yacht.
She is acquiring a sofa, love seat, carpeting, draperies and 12 dining room chairs for $9,360. This seems well within the bounds of prudence.
Moreover, her recommendation to replace the china place settings with plastic foam plates shows a practical approach that is reassuring. The Pentagon would do well to hire Mrs. Snoops as a purchasing agent.
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