It's IncomeThe letter from Richard K. Ebert Feb. 28, under...


March 14, 1993

It's Income

The letter from Richard K. Ebert Feb. 28, under the heading "Unfair Burden," is apt to frighten your elderly readers unnecessarily.

The vast majority of retirees are not in the income bracket ($25,000 for single taxpayers and $32,000 for couples) to pay any income tax on their Social Security income.

Most recipients would be happy to pay $900 on a 35 percent increase in the taxable base.

While it is true that Social Security is not the problem, Social Security income is income.

F. Van Dommelen


Cost Effective

The big business of managed care has no business in the personal business between a patient and her/his psychotherapist!

Treatment is disrupted and intruded upon by reviewers who never see the patient (nor should they), and who have no understanding of the process of intensive, long-term psychotherapy or psychoanalysis.

The managed care companies make their large profits by restricting, interrupting and prematurely terminating treatment -- inflicting more pain upon already vulnerable people.

Meanwhile, reliable research indicates that psychotherapy reduces utilization of other more expensive medical treatment. People who get help with emotional problems have fewer medical problems.

We now know that the cost of out-patient psychotherapy amounts to only 2.5 percent of total health care expenditures nationwide. What could be more cost effective?

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the invasion of psychotherapy by the managed care industry has lowered costs.

Many business leaders, seduced by deceptive sales pitches, have enriched managed care executives while restricting the mental health benefits of their own employees. Not a great way to increase productivity in the work force.

Intensive insight-oriented psychotherapy and psychoanalysis have enabled thousands of Americans -- formerly handicapped by crippling and deep-seated emotional problems -- to live happy, fruitful, productive lives, to be better parents, better citizens, better employees, and to contribute to society in so many ways. Such results could never have been achieved in 10 or 20 sessions.

I shudder to think of an America in which this kind of help will no longer be available. The Clintons, the Gores and the Congress need to be made aware of this.

Marion Pokrass


A5 The writer is a licensed certified social worker.

Road Fiasco

In his letter of Feb. 23 letter, Paul Schlitz Jr. points out that rubber is used to supplement asphalt in roads in Northern Europe. Contractors are motivated to do so by a responsibility to perform repairs if any are needed.

He mentions that such an approach might have avoided the popcorning that took place in several places in Maryland a couple of years ago. What may not be known is that no entity ever assumed any responsibility for that fiasco.

As one who filed a claim with the state over damage to the finish of my car, I can tell you that the Maryland absolved itself totally by claiming that it was using what was claimed to the best available technology and knowledge and that there had been no instance of deliberate malfeasance.

Thus it was hundreds of individuals, lacking the resources to test the matter in court, who ended up assuming the cost of this manifest lack of responsibility.

Ronald B. Leve

Ellicott City

County Library

The letter signed by Ann Werps and Ann Tanner, March 1, criticized Baltimore County Executive Roger Hayden for closing some county libraries. I point to the contradictions in their complaints.

They began by stating that the U.S. places 19th out of the 20 nations studied on per capita newspaper circulation.

Besides the fact that the writers should be blaming the less than inspiring school system for this depressing statistic, their claim of less readership points to the very reason Roger Hayden was led to choose which libraries could be closed at this time.

Information from the county executive's office indicates that when making the choices, a study was made on library use. Libraries targeted for closure showed the lowest records of public use and so were judged to be dispensable.

On the positive side, Baltimore County ranks number one in the nation in per capita library book circulation. That's 13 books for each of our 670,000 Baltimore County citizens.

Considering that Baltimore County is not even among the top 20 jurisdictions in terms of per capita income, some libraries have become inequitable burdens.

Clearly this county has no choice except to down-size tax-funded public libraries to bring this public convenience in line with our tax base.

The statistics mentioned in the Werps-Tanner letter obviously do not apply to library readers but to newspapers. Consolidating low-use libraries with high-use area libraries is the only fiscally responsible move Roger Hayden could make.

I encourage Roger Hayden to continue to look for ways to cut down on the huge county budget and eliminate the need for higher taxes. This is the reason he was elected.

Terry Spangler Capps


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