Why do people in dire straits have so many kids?Nearly...

LETTERS

January 14, 1996

Why do people in dire straits have so many kids?

Nearly every time I pick up the newspaper, a heart-wrenching story about a poor family can be found.

They've been evicted, a parent has been killed, they are in need of public housing, parents are on drugs or in jail, they are in need of public assistance, etc.

The overwhelming majority of them have something my husband and I do not have: more than two children. I am not suggesting denying the fundamental right of procreation to poor people, I'm talking about making responsible choices.

My children are the joy of my life and I would have loved to have had more but I didn't. Why? Because I would not have been able to provide for them as I see fit, financially, but more importantly in terms of time.

Why do people with inadequate resources continue to reproduce? Don't they love the children they already have enough to want to provide adequately for them?

If they oppose birth control for religious or moral reasons, how about abstinence? Once the children are here, they need to be cared for, by their parents or by the state if necessary because it is not the children's fault. But who is going to teach them responsible parenting?

Roberta L. Edwards

Sykesville

Constitution ignored in budget standoff

As the charade over balancing the budget is played out in Washington, many Americans are wondering if either the Republicans or the Democrats are truly interested in solving the problem.

The media has made it clear that no one has actually suggested reducing spending by our leviathan government. Both the Democrats and the Republicans believe only in reducing the rate of growth of spending.

The president has proposed reducing the rate of growth in Medicare from about 12 percent to 7.5 percent as well as increasing the amount to be spent on premiums.

The Republican alternative is to hold Medicare spending growth to 6 percent a year -- more than double the increase of the cost of living.

With all the mumbo-jumbo and posturing over which plan is the lesser of two evils, it is noteworthy that no leader of either party, to my knowledge, has mentioned the fact that the bulk of current spending is not authorized by the U.S. Constitution, this document being viewed as little more than a dusty document in the Archives by our leaders.

Syndicated columnist Walter Williams, an economist at George Mason University, estimates that but a third of today's federal spending is authorized under the well-defined functions noted in the Constitution.

Under the 10th Amendment, says Dr. Williams, check and see whether the Constitution gives any authority "for Medicare, crop subsidies, corporate handouts and welfare." Of course not.

Many are convinced that we will never reduce the tremendous government debt load and heavy tax burden on the U.S. citizens until we reduce the size and scope of government by returning to the Constitution.

And until we the people have enough influence on the Congress to force it to do this, it will continue to "spend and spend, elect and elect." It is that simple.

Ruth Shriver

Westminster

We're making schools the scapegoats

I read with interest the front page story the other day about the schools in this country and the need to improve the physical plants to allow our students to learn.

More than anything else, it made me aware of how selfish and fractionalized our society has become. It wasn't that many years ago that we needed new bridge and highway repairs, so we raised the gasoline tax to finance that undertaking. That was acceptable since we all knew the conditions of the roads and the need to resolve this matter.

But with education, preparing our greatest resource, the children of this country, for the 21st century, we are much more than indifferent. We're unwilling to spend the necessary funds to teach our children properly. It is OK to shuffle them into portable classrooms. It is OK to keep increasing class sizes, knowing that this reduces the teacher's ability to teach, but saves us from having to hire more teachers. And it is OK not to make teacher salaries consistent with the private sector based on their education and responsibilities of the job.

Think about it. Why would someone really want to become a teacher today? We're crowding 30-plus students into some classrooms, reducing budgets that minimize access to the resources necessary to do a quality job, allowing school buildings to get old and obsolete and yet complaining that standardized test scores should be higher.

My friends, like it or not, we are part of the problem with academic achievement in this country. We kid ourselves into believing that the schools have too much and a little belt-tightening is necessary. To a certain degree, that may be true. I believe we can all do a better job of managing our resources and budgets. And we all know that more money never solves the problem. But that is only part of the answer.

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