Flat pay raises more fair than percentagesI am writing...

the Forum

July 24, 1992

Flat pay raises more fair than percentages

I am writing this note to let you know how I feel about the unfair way the federal government treats its employees. Each time they give a cost of living raise to their employees, they give a percentage raise instead of an across-the-board raise.

If the federal government were to give a 4 percent cost of living increase to their employees today, a GS-1 employee would receive $459.12 annually, minus the federal, state and Social Security taxes.

The GS-14 would receive an increase of $2,184.28 annually. This happens each time they give their employees a percentage increase. Do you think this is fair for a cost of living increase, when they both pay the same amount for a loaf of bread?

Now I know where the saying the rich get richer and the poor get poorer comes from. Should the federal government give all employees the same $459.12 or a fair amount for a cost of living increase, there would be a savings of over a billion dollars each year, which could help the deficit.

This percentage thing is getting out of hand; all employees should be treated equally with this type of increase. This doesn't only apply to federal workers. It applies to all employers who give their employees percentage increases.

James Reck


Where's Baltimore?

Regarding the traveler depicted by Robert C. Tompkins' letter "Where's Pimlico?" in The Evening Sun (July 1), one is prompted to ask: "Where's Baltimore?" Not only is direction to Pimlico missing, but also the sign welcoming travelers to Baltimore is not displayed.

When our friends in Pennsylvania come down I-83 to visit our exciting downtown or to see the Orioles play, let them know when they've come into town.

F: Welcome to Baltimore -- one of America's great cities.

Albert D. Harris


Right to hate

It's okay to destroy the flag, paint swastikas on buildings and burn crosses. But prayers, benedictions and Bibles have no place in the public schools.

I cannot fathom how such gentle acts can be overridden by such hateful, degrading and harmful actions. Where are our rights?

Joan L. Lease


Recognize warning signs of depression

Your editorial comment in "Suicides at College Park" (July 18) that "young people kill themselves for a lot of reasons, most often because a problem of the moment seemed insurmountable and unlikely to go away" is completely untrue.

Mildly depressed individuals do not commit suicide. Deeply depressed people who are suicidal are in that condition because of chemical imbalances. The medical treatment for someone who is severely depressed is to prescribe anti-depressants, often with supportive psychotherapy and a two- to four-day stay in a hospital until the anti-depressants take effect. Such people often can and do get well and stay well.

Instead of chipper editorials, I suggest you publish some of the warning signs of clinical depression. Any high school guidance counselor can enlighten you.

The eight students who killed themselves represent enormous grief to their families and friends and probably no little guilt. Clinical depression doesn't arise overnight. Someone saw how much these students were sleeping or drinking or having trouble concentrating -- yet didn't realize they needed an emergency room.

What happened at College Park is a tragedy. But the real tragedy will be if all of us -- friends, relatives, newspaper readers -- don't try to stop the suicides.

Patricia Fulda


Legalizing drugs: Rosenthal blew it at the end

A. M. Rosenthal just wrote the most amazing column (Other Voices, July 3) I have ever read. In the first 17 inches of an 18-inch column, he brilliantly cuts to the bones of our major presidential candidates for their failure to deal with a drug war that is clearly being lost while our neighborhoods are dominated by armed drug gangs. He concludes this reasoning with "there is another solution -- legalization. That might reduce killings."

But not willing to leave well enough alone, he added a final inch of ignorant nonsense, when he wrote:

"Of course, it would also increase the number of addicts, AIDS victims, babies born with ever-damaged brains. And would amount to genocide against the major drug victims -- blacks and Hispanics . . .

If, by "legalization," Mr. Rosenthal means to throw drug merchandising open to private enterprise to exploit at the entrepreneurs' pleasure, his conclusions would be warranted. After all, look what Schenley, Miller and their ilk have done since the end of prohibition. Look what the Liggett Group and R. J. Reynolds have done to addict millions more citizens.

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