Who will save our 'lost generation'?Statistics regarding...

the Forum

April 07, 1992

Who will save our 'lost generation'?

Statistics regarding the condition of children in poverty, beset by crime and labeled the "lost generation," are appalling. Responsible adults cannot let this continue.

I suggest the president call a meeting of leaders of the entertainment industries and demand they become more responsible. We are being fed a diet of violence, corruption and sex. Young people think this is real life and it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Sure, there's lots of money to be made in the short run. But in the long run we are already seeing a "lost generation" that will perpetuate more lost generations.

Who said it would be easy to turn things around? Nothing worth having is ever easy.

Shirley Stoler


Clean burning

The ongoing concern about incineration is fueled by the question "How safe is safe?"

The regulatory agencies keep telling us we are OK for now, but the next round of regulations on incineration are already on the drawing board.

The alternative is autoclaving -- steam sterilization. The technology has been an approved method of processing medical waste in Maryland for years. There is no known adverse impact on the environment using this method.

Let's not gamble on our air. Let's reduce burning and still get the job done -- safely.

Mary Russell


The ongoing war

The looming discharge of military personnel from the armed forces because of the dearth of wars to fight overlooks one war in which we are engaged, a war which is accelerating and which we are losing -- the war against drugs and violent crime. This is a war which the military forces are suitably competent to wage successfully.

If the armed forces are given the mission of making this country drug-free, they will do so. They can prevent drugs from entering this country. They can prevent drugs from being produced and marketed in this country. They have the ability to wipe out production of drugs anywhere in the world. We have the right to prevent any country from producing drugs that are destined for us.

The armed forces have the capability, capacity and ability to mount patrols in areas where violent crimes proliferate. They have intelligence-gathering abilities that would be useful and effective in carrying out those missions. The very fact that they were assigned this mission would make an impact.

The armed forces have experience in handling prisoners of war, and could be effective in lowering the burden on the civilian penal system and probably do a better job.

Eugene Hettleman


Sorry state

I watched the Academy Awards the other night, like millions of others. I find it perfectly expressive of the whole sorry state of human civilization that Kathy Bates (Best Actress, 1991, "Misery"), who portrayed a woman who chopped off a man's leg, handed the Oscar to a man, Anthony Hopkins, (Best Actor, 1992, "Silence of the Lambs"), whose character said he devoured a man's liver, "with a bottle of Chianti."

I'm not sure I understand. Perhaps I should see "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" to find a clue?

Thomas Platt


Corrupt power

This year, for the first time in 29 years, I am going to be active in the presidential campaign, working to get Ross Perot on the ballot in November.

Why? Because the system within which both Republicans and Democrats operate is corrupting. Until it is changed, we can continue to send intelligent, decent, thoughtful people to Congress and the White House -- I believe that my representatives possess those qualities -- and they will continue to make stupid, damaging laws.

The heart of the corruption is the tax system. All taxes are confiscations by the government of its citizens' income. We have given power to Congress to appropriate our income because we accept that the government needs revenues to support socially beneficial activities best performed by the government.

The problem is that Congress not only has the power to tax income, but it has the power to decide which form of income to tax. You can be a millionaire with any amount of income and payments made to you for Medicare aren't taxed.

Worse, Congress has the power to decide what part of your income to tax based on how you spend your income. Studies show that people who own houses pick up $40 billion a year on mortgage interest deductions, $14 billion from deferred capital gains on home sales and $11.5 billion from property tax deductions.

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The way to reduce the power and the corruption that flows from it is to stop the auction of tax loopholes. Treat all income, from whatever source and however spent, equally. You report your taxes on a post card, listing income from all sources multiplied by the tax rate applied to that level of income.

Not only will a monumental corrupting influence be removed by such a change, but the choice to invest or to spend would be tax neutral.

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