Editor: According to a Gallup Poll, 79 percent of Americans favor requiring all able-bodied people on welfare, including women with small children, to work. I would like those in favor of such a proposal to explain how they would implement the requirement.
We read daily of plants closing, personal and business bankruptcies, lengthening unemployment lines and increasing numbers of people applying for food stamps. With management types losing their jobs; with skilled workers being laid off; with many unemployed eagerly hunting jobs, just where will the able-bodied welfare recipients be placed?
Editor: Your front page article describing Surgeon General Antonia C. Novello's attempt to have alcoholic beverage manufacturers limit their advertisements which seemingly encourage young people to drink is most interesting.
What is really unbelievable is the assertion by Beer Institute President Jim Sanders that there is no proof that advertising causes people to drink.
If that is true, why do alcoholic beverage companies spend $2 billion a year on alcohol advertising?
F. J. Townsend Jr.
Editor: Would someone please enlighten this benighted non-economist as to the benefits of these interest rate reductions, which at present appear to be illusionary at best?
We deplore the low savings rate of the nation, yet we remove any incentive to do so and impose a heavy penalty on those who already saved by taxing their interest income through these reductions at a scale far above even the highest tax rate imposed on the so-called rich.
We view with alarm the declining or stagnating sales volumes of stores and businesses, yet we remove a large part of the discretionary and not so discretionary purchasing power of the population, while severely punishing those who partially or entirely must depend on their monetary investment income.
We complain of the reduced income and sales tax collections and the resulting budgetary problems of all levels of government, yet these are to a great extent the direct result of this loss of income.
We berate the banks for the prevailing credit tightness, yet we reduce their liquid capital by inducing the continuing severe flight of investors' money from them, which amounts to 60 percent of savings instruments not renewed in some areas.
We cause foreign investors to look for greener pastures elsewhere, thereby further reducing the available liquid capital.
Does any of the above make any sense?
Editor: That these are difficult times is disputed by no one. My family is feeling the effects of the recession firsthand -- my husband has lost his job twice in the last 12 months, once due to a corporate consolidation/relocation and once due to staff cutbacks.
Yes, these are tough economic times. . . but to propose closing 5 firehouses, disbanding 13 companies and eliminating more than 250 positions in the Baltimore City fire department is absolutely the wrong way to solve the city's budget crisis.
The job of firefighter is always cited as one of the most stressful, most hazardous of occupations today. To compound this with the stress of job insecurity/job loss -- which is second only to death of a spouse or divorce in terms of levels of life stress -- is completely unconscionable.
Susan Hughes Gray.
Editor: I read with growing dismay the Perspective section article headlined, ''Bush's Sudden Tax Cut Turnaround'' (Oct. 27). Particularly maddening (yet enlightening) were the quotes from Bush advisers Charles Black and Frank Donatelli.
The former stated, ''The most important thing we could do to protect the president is to have a good economy next year,'' while the latter claimed, ''The president is right to be concerned about trying to get the economy moving. . . . It's also very important to begin to lay the groundwork for electing more Republican members of Congress.''
It should not be surprising that our country is experiencing economic and ethical crises when curing the ailing economy is seen only as a means to a political end, and party interests are openly equated with national interests.
George J. McCool.
Restore the Hippodrome
Editor: I was amused but saddened to read of the report that concluded the Mechanic Theater was out of date and should be replaced. Baltimore, it seems, still clings to the concept, long since abandoned by most American cities, that any building over 25 years old is an old eyesore and should be razed. Along with this is the old battle cry, ''It would cost more to restore it than it would to tear it down and build a new one!''
All across the country, early 20th century movie palaces are being given a new lease on life after restoration. Columbus, Ohio, a city somewhat comparable to Baltimore, boasts two such theaters, both now successfully showing live theater, concerts and a summer series of classic movies.
Unfortunately, Baltimore, in the heyday of urban renewal, tore down most of its grand theaters. Most, but not all. For instance, the Hippodrome, which still stands at 12 N. Eutaw St. This 3,000-seat theater was, when built in 1914, the largest playhouse south of Philadelphia. According to theatre historian Robert Headley, its facade is one of the finest examples of decorative brickwork in the area. Its stage opening is 43 feet wide, and there were 16 dressing rooms available for its stars. (An idea of the size of the stage can be gauged by noting that one of the opening attractions was ''Robinson's Elephants.'')
The Hippodrome is currently for sale. It is located in an area desperately in need of revitalization, and also close to the new Oriole Park.
Why not look into the possibility of rescuing a vital piece of Baltimore's history before it goes the way of the Stanley and the Century?