Who are the Mike Milkens of Maryland?Who are the "Michael...

the Forum

April 29, 1991

Who are the Mike Milkens of Maryland?

Who are the "Michael Milkens of Maryland?" Convicted felons? Savings and loan bandits? No, the Michael Milkens of Maryland," according to one House Democrat, are people who declare a capital gain on their state income tax form.

The "Michael Milkens of Maryland" include citizens who have sold their homes to meet living expenses or cashed in an asset to pump money into their business. Republicans believe that the investments of those who have been frugal and farsighted enough to save and invest for their future are what make the American economy work and grow. Democrats apparently believe they're speculators or crooks.

It is this attitude that led the Maryland House of Delegates to abolish, over the objection of 23 to 25 House Republicans, a long-standing preferential tax treatment for capital gains. "Closing loopholes to tax the rich" may make for a snappy sound bite, but it's lousy economic policy.

Summing up a fiscal policy that most Republicans adhere to: If you tax something, you'll get less of it; subsidize something, you'll get more of it. This is what makes "sin taxes" so easy to sell. Raise the cigarette tax, we are told, and fewer people will smoke.

Yet, when it comes to the capital gains tax, there seems to be little comprehension that the same rule applies. The more heavily you tax capital gains, the more you'll discourage capital investment. And if you get less capital, you'll reap a bitter harvest less money for investment in business, fewer jobs and, in turn, fewer taxpayers.

Isn't it ironic that, as we "close loopholes" to "soak the rich," we have such a shortage of venture capital that the state has created a taxpayer-supported Venture Capital fund? There was a very good reason why people who are willing to take risks with their savings were encouraged through tax policy to do so. Minus that tax incentive, many would take the safer route and simply put their savings in a bank. New and minority businesses that have the toughest time generating capital suffer most when tax policy discourages risk-taking and reduces capital availability.

Ellen R. Sauerbrey

The writer is the Republican minority leader in the House of Delegates.

Bush's China card

What's with George Bush and the Chinese government? While he's smiling and bowing toward the Butchers of Beijing, they are selling sophisticated missiles to Pakistan capable of delivering nuclear payloads to India and neighboring countries.

Four months ago, on the same day Bush promised increased efforts to limit nuclear proliferation, he approved the sale of a giant computer to China. Apparently, he was rewarding the sponsors of the Tiananmen Square massacre by giving them the primary tool for building missiles and warheads. Doctor Pavlov would say President Bush is teaching the dog to chew the rug!

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

Supporting murder

I saw the 1989 movie entitled "Romero," which was aired recently on television by CBS, and I was horrified. To see in action the repressive and murderous regime that was in power in EL Salvador in 1980 was all the more frightening because one could see and comprehend how easily such a government could take hold and maintain power in any country in the world.

In every walk of life in that society, the faint of heart would cooperate with and legitimize the incumbent government. Even the church was powerless to secure human rights for the people and prevent the rapes, kidnappings and murders perpetrated by the soldiers against the innocents. Finally, Archbishop Romero was brazenly gunned down as he was conducting a church service for a group of horrified nuns and other civilians.

The murderers of the Jesuit priests and their housekeeper and her young daughter have not been brought to justice as yet, although those murders occurred years ago.

Will we continue forever to support such regimes in El Salvador and elsewhere with arms and large infusions of cash?

I. H. Desser

Baltimore

The problem is you

It is not new for Governor Schaefer to read and listen to the radio. After I sent a letter to the Forum, he called me and left a message on my answering machine: "Call me and let me know what's wrong with my administration." I've called and called but can't get to him, so in answer to his question, here's what is wrong with your administration you.

Your attitude toward spending your lack of caring about the middle class appointing friends to jobs and accepting a very generous raise while other people are laid off moving funds around to accommodate your pet projects installation of sound barriers on I-695 with the explanation that the federal government was going to pay half.

Another one is thinking you should be a candidate for president.

Perhaps you should have taken my call. Then we could have discussed the problems in private.

A. A. Hachtel Jr.

Baltimore

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