Blaming victims of bosses' greedThank goodness for Stephen...

the Forum

July 08, 1994

Blaming victims of bosses' greed

Thank goodness for Stephen J. K. Walters' warning (Other Voices, June 22) that BUILD ought not to organize downtown service section workers -- who mostly earn $4.25 an hour and no benefits -- lest they "price themselves out of the market."

That was a close call. I guess workers everywhere will just have to accept this injustice, for fear that business will leave their communities and take their jobs away.

And if this also means that workers' means of survival is so tenuous that they are forced to suffer repeated indignities at the hands of their employers, then that, too, will simply have to be tolerated.

Of course, there is another option, one that Mr. Walters somehow missed.

And that is that workers everywhere organize so that no worker has to live under such dehumanizing conditions, as opposed to every worker having to, which is what Mr. Walter's fatalistic logic would compel.

L In economics, as in every area of life, we blame the victim.

If businesses move away, it is the workers' fault for demanding a living wage, not business' fault for caring nothing for justice and everything for their own power.

Somehow, when average citizens act selfishly at the expense of their community, they are held personally responsible and chastised for their immoral behavior.

But when businesses do the same, they are found blameless, at the mercy of market forces.

The pressing ethical issue of what it is to take advantage of another is buried by the manipulative, sanitizing language of economics.

But this should be no surprise, since it's always easier to attack those at the bottom than at the top.

No, I think it better for BUILD to continue its organizing efforts despite the insidious myopia and gentle rebukes of a tenured economist.

Mark Silverman

Baltimore

Same game

Like many other fans, I was disappointed to hear that Jim Speros lost to the well-heeled National Football League in the hearing over the use of the name Colts.

May I offer an alternative name, "Canadian Organized Local Team Sportsters -- of Baltimore."

This is really ugly, too long, stating just about nothing. Therefore it should be abbreviated, "C.O.L.T.S. -- of Baltimore.`

Charles Johnston

Pasadena

Costly insurance

I am very concerned with the support shown for single payer proposals as potential solutions to the American health care problem.

My first concern is that both the liberals and conservatives are incorrectly describing these alternatives, and as a result both sides are losing sight of the issue.

Both the left and the right describe the single payer alternative as a system in which the government pays for health care.

This description is wrong. The government does not pay for anything, ever.

Under a single payer system, taxpayers will pay for health care just like they pay for all other government programs. All the government does is redistribute the tax dollars it collects.

We must never forget that the government's two main sources of revenue from which it pays for programs are the individual income tax and the corporate income tax.

The correct description of the single payer alternative is a program in which the taxpayers pay for the health care needs of both those who pay taxes and those who do not.

The main reason people do not have health insurance and thus do not receive the care they require is that they cannot afford it. The single payer program will do nothing to reduce the cost of health care.

The government has a long documented history of paying more than it should for goods and services.

If this trend is adhered to when government takes over health care -- and there is no reason to believe that it will not -- then the providers of the services will have no motivation to reduce costs.

Since it is the taxpayer who funds the program, all that a single payer program will do is force taxpayers, under penalty of law, to buy expensive health insurance.

Yes, there are problems with health care today, but the single payer program is not the solution.

#Maximillian F. Van Orden

Baltimore

Guns kill

Two stories in recent weeks share common elements. In one, a teen-age boy picked up a gun and shot it into a closet, critically injuring a neighbor sleeping in the next apartment.

In another, a 16-year-old baby-sitter killed the 6-year-old child she was watching when a gun she was putting away accidentally went off.

Both will be charged with crimes.

Either teen-ager could have just as easily been injured or killed by their own ignorance of how to handle loaded weapons.

Instead they both hurt someone else, and for that they will have to face their own guilt and the accusations of others for the rest of their lives.

A heavy burden to bear for someone so young, as evidenced by the hospitalization of the girl for "shooting chest pains, vomiting and fainting."

If that doesn't sound like the physical manifestations of extreme guilt, I don't known what does.

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