Compassion for some, but not othersHow ironic that Wiley...

the Forum

October 20, 1992

Compassion for some, but not others

How ironic that Wiley Hall's commentary about white poverty being somehow better than black poverty should run on the same day as two articles about the rising cost of teen and adolescent pregnancy.

One article reported that expenditures for Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Medicaid and food stamps had risen 18 percent in three years.

Another reported that Maryland had spent $450 million in 1991 -- the amount of its budget shortfall -- on these same programs.

The studies did not even take into effect the long term costs to the public pocketbook.

Mr. Hall is upset because he feels white people would rather their money go to elderly people who had what he calls "work experience" than to the "black and Hispanic poor," as if the two groups were mutually exclusive.

Mr. Hall makes a point if you can possibly ignore his virulent racial prejudice. Taxpayers of all races would prefer to see their money spent on people of all races who have worked for years, paid their share of taxes, raised their families and now need help because of failing health, rising medical costs and fixed incomes.

They would rather not see it used to finance programs that encourage teen-agers to become parents.

We all want our elderly to live with the dignity they deserve, and we want to help others of any age or race who have health problems or who have fallen on bad times through no fault of their own.

But every time another teen-ager gets rewarded by a bigger welfare check for getting pregnant again, it means less care for those we do feel an obligation to.

The idea that it is no longer necessary to plan how one is going to feed, clothe, shelter, educate or care for children before one becomes pregnant or fathers a child is a fairly recent one, fostered by government programs.

Actually, I suppose the people having these children do know how the children will be supported -- by us, the taxpayers.

Mr. Hall has been quite vocal in the past about the horrors of the immediate gratification ethic of the 1980s.

Well, how about the 20-year-old who already has three children but no husband and demands her own apartment with excellent security and free medical care and day care and a good job but didn't want to waste time or put out any effort toward finishing high school before the taxpayers bought her all these things?

Most of us who are supporting the government these days have worked since we were teen-agers making less than minimum wage. We sat through a lot of irrelevant high school classes to make ourselves employable and resisted the romantic dreams of most adolescents about the fun of having a baby and living with our boyfriend.

We've put up with some crummy, boring jobs, worked during the day and studied at night and never planned our families with the expectation that the government would support them. Is it any wonder that we are not only unwilling to finance someone else's irresponsible lifestyle but are outraged at having to do so?

People are losing their jobs because of the inability of businesses to grow. Taxpayers' money is not being recycled back into the economy but being diverted to those who have never made the slightest effort to become employable and pay their share of the taxes.

So, yes, to some we wish we were able to give more help than we do. And to others, we begrudge every penny of our hard-earned money.

Carol D. Williams

Phoenix

Keyes campaign

Recently, while riding through the neighborhood I was astounded by a billboard found only in the inner city. Its contents were aimed strictly at blacks: Alan Keyes aiming his senatorial campaign based on the fact of his color and nothing else.

Why in 1992 must our elected officials still rely on racial aggravation to get elected? Whatever happened to issues and goals instead of race-baiting to win an election?

If Sen. Barbara Mikulski started posting billboards in the suburbs or different sections of the city based on the fact that she is a woman, or white, all hell would break loose.

Whether Democrat or Republican, now is not the time to rely on race hatred to win an election. Please, Mr. Keyes: Winning at all costs sometimes can be costly not only to you but your community.

Randolph Sydnor

Baltimore

Why are other candidates ignored?

I'm not sure who I'm voting for, but I am sure of one thing, you (The Baltimore Sun) are only interested in my voting for Bush, Clinton or Perot. There are five individuals on the ballot for president of the United States this year in Maryland alone, yet almost all of your political reporting space is dedicated to only three.

Why have you not seen it fit to do an article on Andre Marrou (Libertarian)? Is he a lesser candidate than the three the media have selected to present?

Where was the press coverage on Lenora B. Fulani (Alliance)? Perhaps a woman who is not behind a man on the presidential ticket is not worthy of your press time.

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