Welfare cuts are no savingI refer to your front-page story...


October 05, 1995

Welfare cuts are no saving

I refer to your front-page story (Sept. 22): ''SSI reform would cut 1 million from rolls," in which you call the proposed budget cuts a ''savings'' of at least $27 billion over seven years.

Could it be that The Sun has bought into the politically expedient illusion that a reduction in welfare spending is a ''savings"?

This is what legislators who cannot see past the next election would have us believe. But I believe that responsible reporting should call this ''savings'' what it truly is, a very costly postponement of spending from one area to another that will be borne by future generations of taxpayers.

Do these budget cutters actually believe that a half-million legal aliens will return to their native countries when their SSI checks are stopped? Are they so naive to believe that 130,000 drug addicts -- upon having their benefits removed -- will suddenly become drug-free and stay that way? Will children with disabilities be healed overnight?

A study of the costly consequences of Gov. Parris Glendening's ''savings'' of $35 million by cutting the DALP funding for fiscal year '96 is already being undertaken by the Baltimore mayor's office, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and nonprofit groups that serve former DALP recipients.

In just the three months the cuts have been in place, homelessness has increased, panhandling is on the rise and soup kitchens and drop-in centers are being severely taxed in their ability to serve those in need. What will this cost us in years to come?

A savings in welfare costs may come about if elected officials work to find programs that would address the causes of despair and social injustice pervading our society, rather than punish the victims by taking away their livelihoods.

The former approach requires vision, leadership and patient sacrifice by citizens. The latter course of action will require more public spending for police, courts, prisons and hospitals as people do what they have to do to survive in an uncaring and unresponsive world.

Webster defines ''saving'' as ''the act or an instance of economizing.'' The economizing in cutting the budget will occur only when the cost of a new program is less that the cost of the one it replaced.

If the new program is no program, responsible news organizations should not report to the public that a savings has resulted. A cut by any other name is still a cut. Don't try to make it sweet by calling it a savings.

Ken Carter


Jury system not suited to a diverse society

In the aftermath of the incredible jury verdict of not guilty in the O.J. Simpson trial, the jury system will be scrutinized and adjustments will be made to it.

But the jury system has only worked in homogeneous societies, not in a racially divided society such as America, where verdicts are rendered on the basis of race and not on the basis of the over whelming evidence.

What can one conclude about a society where, in general, there is a very sharp distinction between blacks who are cheering wildly over a verdict and whites who are melancholy? One cannot rest a justice system on a foundation like that.

Joseph Parker


Media treated trial like circus

For more than a year I have watched with disgust a public spectacle and raucous mess being televised from Los Angeles -- the O.J. Simpson trial. I have no opinion as to Mr. Simpson's guilt or innocence. However, I am angered and ashamed at our society that we would permit such a circus to occur in the media spotlight.

Mr. Simpson's trial was not representative of the American justice system, so it had no real educational value. Neither did it have news value because most of what was televised was not news but hot air. The only value in broadcasting this trial has been higher ratings for TV news programs.

The murders of the two individuals were tragic events and the victims' families have been left to suffer and grieve in a public arena. Televising the O.J. Simpson trial was equivalent to dropping a hot dog into a piranha tank.

Stephanie Jane Wise


Kicking the habit all over again

I am 81 years old and I quit smoking 35 years ago.

At this time, I have incurable and steadily advancing bone and muscle disease.

When it got to be very painful and incapacitating, I decided -- what the heck -- I may as well go back to smoking as a diversion from, and a palliative to, my condition.

As a result, of course, I said hello to the habit and addiction of tobacco because if I am going away via the bone-muscle disorder I may as well enjoy the smoking with its danger of cancer of the lungs; kind of ''you'll be in danger whether you do or don't.''

That went on for about three weeks. I endured the coughs and other nasty symptoms caused by the tar and the chemicals all over again.

I became very disgusted with the habit and its vile symptoms, so I quit again.

In my brief return to smoking I learned a few valuable facts:

1. If you free yourself from the habit, you free yourself from the addiction.

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