Stupid ColumnIt would be hard to find a stupider or more...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 25, 1992

Stupid Column

It would be hard to find a stupider or more superficial essay on the subject of inflation than the one you printed by William Pfaff Sept. 14.

"Most people," says Mr. Pfaff -- normally a thoughtful if somewhat windy writer -- "like a little inflation." A cheap house can be sold for a surprising number of inflated dollars, and "debts are paid off by the currency's loss in value."

What good is your big stack of inflated dollars if all it will buy you is another cheap house at a grandiose price? And if the debts that are paid off are debts that are owed to you and not by you, how is that so good for you?

That $50,000 in Treasury bills that you worked so hard to save for and buy (i.e. lend to the government) would be paid back to you in inflated dollars.

What could you buy for that inflated money? A $10 cup of coffee? A $98 frying chicken for dinner? A backyard shed to keep garden tools in? And what happens to the value of the insurance policy whose premiums you worked hard to pay?

Stick to your last, Mr. Pfaff, and don't dabble in what you don't know about.

Aurelia L. Loveman

Catonsville

Give 'em Harry!

Will the "real" Harry Truman please stand up?

Come on, Ross Perot -- time is running out!

Joyce M. Stump

Cockeysville

Unfair Portrayal

As a United States senator whose South Carolina constituents suffered both from Hurricane Hugo and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response to it, I am writing to dispute what I consider to be an unfair and inaccurate portrayal of Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski's record ("Mikulski Battens the Hatches," Sept. 7).

There has been no member of Congress who has been more aggressive and persistent in trying to improve FEMA's response to major disasters than Senator Mikulski.

It was Senator Mikulski who helped persuade our colleagues in the Senate to provide the necessary funds to rebuild South Carolina after Hugo, despite the fact that FEMA was both incapable and reluctant to provide us with decent damage assessment estimates.

It was Senator Mikulski who joined me in asking for an initial General Accounting Office review of FEMA after Hugo.

NTC And it is Senator Mikulski who has been among the most persistent critics of FEMA's initial response to major disasters and one of the few members of Congress who have been willing to work to bring about a more credible disaster relief policy.

After Hugo, FEMA gave a million excuses on why things went wrong. Then the agency gave us another million reasons why those mistakes would never be repeated the next time.

And despite all of our efforts to make sure there wouldn't be a "next time," the results of Hurricane Andrew proved that it's time for a real overhaul of how our government responds to disasters.

Senator Mikulski is the one to see that it is done right.

Ernest F. Hollings

Washington

G; The writer is a Democratic senator from South Carolina.

Maximum Punishment Will Stop Criminals

How many more innocent children, adults and police officers must be shot or murdered before state and city officials realize that Baltimore is out of control, has been out of control and that drastic measures must be taken to make this city safe again?

Isn't it about time that all of us wake up and see that the traditional system of locking the criminals up when they're arrested and then giving them suspended sentences when they're convicted is not the answer?

Everyone knows that the jails and prisons are overcrowded and that we don't have room for any more criminals. Prisoners have rights, too, unfortunately, against being overcrowded in cells. It's about time that these criminals should have their rights taken away from them.

Isn't it about time that we "gas" every convicted criminal that is sitting on death row? I'm sure that would make some room for more criminals.

It doesn't matter how many more officers are put out on the

street to battle crime. The shootings and killings will continue, unless we send criminals a message: "You shoot or murder someone in Baltimore City, then you'll be put to death."

Give criminals the maximum penalty for their crimes -- that is, no suspended sentences, no plea bargains, no time off for good behavior, no early parole.

These criminals know the system inside and out. They know that their lawyers will plea-bargain their cases and get them suspended sentences. Or if they are sentenced for their crime, they won't even do a third of their sentences.

So it's no big deal for them to be arrested. They'll eventually be released early, and while they're in prison, they'll be fed three meals a day, have visitation rights, be able to communicate with the outside world (continuing their drug trade), enjoy TV and stereos and, in some prisons, concerts by national entertainers. And all at the expense of you and me -- the taxpayers.

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