Giving the package a chanceThe thing that worries me more...

the Forum

March 08, 1993

Giving the package a chance

The thing that worries me more than anything else is not whether the Clinton economic package will work, but whether it will ever get a chance to work.

The way the merchants of special interests are behaving it looks like the general good is being betrayed by Congress once again.

Numerous powerful senators and representatives are already demonstrating the look of someone being led around by the ring of political expediency in their collective noses.

Opposition, stoked by special interest fears, has risen like cream in unhomogenized milk.

We've heard about Sen. Daniel Moynihan's resistance to suspension of social security cost of living allowances, Sen. Sam Nunn's stance on defense cuts, others who say the cuts are not enough and yet others who say the increase in taxes is too severe.

One unwelcome voice added to this dismal display of congressional myopia is that of Maryland's own, Sen. Paul Sarbanes.

As a constituent, I have a question for the venerable Mr. Sarbanes: When will he start standing for the good of all the people of this state and stop pandering to special interests?

Federal employees have long been paid much better than their counterparts in state and private employment. Even with a pay freeze, they will still be well ahead of most other workers in take-home pay. There should be no sacred cows, Mr. Sarbanes.

Why can't we enact the president's proposed legislation and see how it works? It's the first time in generations that any American chief executive has seriously looked at the deficit with an eye to reversing a deadly pattern.

Give it a chance to work.

Donald Klein


Clinton's con

I believe that President Clinton's new economic plan is the PTC greatest con game to be foisted upon the American people since the last one in 1990 (George Bush's and Congress' "budget-balancing" act). What worries me the most is the apparent gullibility of the American people in falling for this latest deception.

In simplified terms, here's what's really happening:

1. Clinton has proposed spending cuts of $247 billion and new taxes of $246 billion.

2. But we must subtract his additional spending increases of $178 billion (including the "stimulus") to get net spending cuts, which gives us a temporary balance of $69 billion.

3. Then we must move $21 billion of the spending cuts which are actually new taxes to the new taxes total, yielding balances of only $48 billion in spending cuts and $267 billion in new taxes.

4. Of course, keep in mind that $77 billion of his original spending cuts came from defense, leaving an actual non-defense spending increase, not a net spending cut at all.

So it's the same old "tax and spend" economics, only camouflaged as "fair" and as a "one-for-one" ratio of cuts to taxes, and any "sacrificing" to go toward any deficit reduction will come from tax increases and defense cuts.

What we really need from Clinton is not another economic plan, but merely adherence to the truth in packaging laws.

Lowell T. Wrucke


Headline goof

Regarding your headline "Women at home with kids found to be most depressed" (Feb. 15), you goofed.

The very last paragraph of the story said that, "most depressed of all, slightly edging out stay-at-home mothers, were mothers who work but have a hard time getting child care and get little help from their husbands."

That sounds like the majority of working mothers. It also directly contradicts your headline.

Concerning the study referred to in the article, all it really shows is that the small minority of working mothers who have good child care and helpful husbands were happier, on the average, than stay-at-home mothers in all circumstances, including welfare mothers.

The vast majority of working mothers still can't get good child care and have less than helpful husbands -- and therefore belong in "most depressed" group in the study.

Check those articles a little more carefully before you print those headlines.

K. Kolarik


Students' rights

Patrick Ercolano broadly misses the point in his Feb. 6 column, "For Students to Find Their Strengths."

His caustic remark that kids describe their classes as involuntary servitude was unnecessary and unconstructive. The point is that students do have rights, and those rights ought to be protected.

Students rightfully should protest against the 75 hours of required community service. We cannot teach the tenets of democracy in the classroom if we disregard its principles when making decisions that directly impact on their lives.

Mr. Ercolano seems to argue that democracy is all right, but if someone more enlightened can decide what is good for you, then democratic principles should be compromised.

What our students have learned in their social studies classes is that our country's Constitution guarantees protection of their basic rights, but these rights have to be jealously guarded or people will take them away -- even people like the government of Maryland.

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