Tax DeductionsIn his Feb. 21 column, "Open the Door on...


March 05, 1994

Tax Deductions

In his Feb. 21 column, "Open the Door on Housing," Neal R. Peirce repeats a liberal's oft-stated misunderstanding of the deductible character of home mortgage interest under the U.S. Tax Code.

He questions why a physician or a lawyer should get a big tax break, when a person whose labor product has less scarcity value has trouble getting a down payment together.

In fact, because of highly unfair progressive income taxation, the richer person faces off against the might of the state in financing a home purchase, because every expenditure of income is preceded by a 30-50 percent payment to U.S. and local taxing authorities.

On the surface, the richer person gains more from the deduction of home interest from taxable income. But when one realizes that that individual is merely getting some small portion of overtaxed personal earnings back, the apparent anomaly is surely mitigated.

Joel N. Morse


Nicotine Fix

As the dangers of second-hand smoke become better understood, smoking within closed spaces, such as office buildings, is decreasing. Bus stops, however, remain a major source of captive exposure to cigarette smoke.

When someone at a bus stop starts smoking, nonsmokers cannot escape. Since waits are often substantial, this can result in the forced exposure to large amounts of cigarette carcinogens. And as businesses become smoke-free, bus stops are used ever more for the needed nicotine fix.

I propose that the immediate vicinity of bus stops and other similar areas be made smoke-free. Though these are in the open, they are for all practical purposes confined spaces. A non-smoking zone extending around 30 feet on either side is probably an acceptable compromise.

This would allow smokers the option of smoking, while partly shielding non-smokers from the effects. Since the bus stop area is already indicated by "No Stopping" signs, "No Smoking" could be added to the existing signs, thus substantially saving on costs.

I hope some health-conscious members of the legislature will soon sponsor a measure to bring about this important change.

A. V. Aiyengar, M.D.


Kudos to Erlandson

I am writing to compliment Robert A. Erlandson for the excellent Feb. 13 Perspective section article on Baltimore police reform of 1964-1966.

Mr. Erlandson's writing is clear and to the point. His descriptions of events are truly excellent and a credit to The Sun.

It is gratifying to know that The Sun is still willing to publish the results of investigative work by a reporter, as Mr. Erlandson's article clearly shows.

The recent series in The Sun on the current failure of the Baltimore Police Department to cope with the rash of violent crime in the city is an all-too-rare example of an objective investigation of our local problems by The Sun.

It is to be hoped that The Sun will continue such investigation of government failure and improprieties both in the city and in the surrounding counties. I hope that this is the beginning and not the end.

Richard W. McQuaid


Unnatural Linkage

Your Feb. 14 editorial, "Schaefer's 'Family Cap'," was correct in stating that welfare reform, as it is presently being considered in Annapolis, is only "smoke and mirrors," without appropriate funding for day care, job-training and other reforms.

One particular idea in the editorial, however, I found especially disturbing.

You link, as though they were natural companions, Gov. William Donald Schaefer's proposed "family cap" -- which denies state support to a child born into a welfare family -- with unrestricted access to tax-funded abortion. The linkage is not natural at all; its product is akin to compulsory abortion.

The choices of a mother on welfare who becomes pregnant would be limited to two: either have the child and lose state support for the family or abort the child. It is as simple -- and starkly chilling -- as that. Is this the "choice" you advocated so often during the 1992 abortion referendum?

J. Kevin Appleby


G; The writer represents the Maryland Catholic Conference.

Baiul's Gold

Now that the Olympics are over, did anyone else notice that Oksana Baiul, gold medal winner, has suffered more hardships (including the loss of home and family and skating on a cut leg) than crybaby Tonya Harding? And what a sweet, talented child she is compared to sourpuss poor-loser Nancy Kerrigan?

I'm sorry the U.S. didn't get the gold medal, but Ms. Baiul certainly deserved it and, who knows, maybe she'll be skating for us next time.

Frances A. Miller


Playing an Anti-Israel Tune

I was personally acquainted with Dr. Baruch Goldstein, the young physician who went berserk and killed dozens of Arabs at the Tombs of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron.

I can only speculate that he snapped under the tension of treating so many Jewish victims of Arab terrorism.

The Sun Feb. 26, however, presents so completely distorted a picture of the event that I am forced to protest.

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