Dole tax cut is no gimmickContrary to the impression which...

Letters

September 10, 1996

Dole tax cut is no gimmick

Contrary to the impression which you have helped to foster, the Dole-Kemp tax plan is not a gimmick or a massive give-away to the rich.

Reducing long-term capital gains rates while incrementally lowering tax rates on ordinary income over three years by five percent a year will undoubtedly stimulate an increase in the current abysmally low savings and investment rate.

It will also restore some of the purchasing power lost as a result of the 1993 tax increase, which probably never should have occurred in the fist place.

One does not need to be a supply-sider to see that the overall effects of such tax policies could indeed be positive for the economy without overheating it.

Much of the political rhetoric about such policies producing higher interest rates and ballooning deficits amounts to nothing more than scare tactics, especially since a President Dole, unlike Bill Clinton, would be willing to make the hard choices up front and would seek immediate passage of the ultimate weapon for instilling long-term budgetary discipline -- a balanced budget amendment.

If he has a Republican-controlled Congress to work with, he just might be able to pull it all off and finally put this country on a sound footing once and for all.

Dick Fairbanks

Baltimore

Headline language was insensitive

Your Aug. 31 headline, ''Re-opening the insane asylum," [editorial about the Baltimore Ravens] showed great insensitivity persons afflicted with mental illness and to the health professionals who care for them.

Even in jest, such language is no laughing matter.

Sister Patricia Smith

Baltimore

The writer is assistant to the president for theology, mission and ethics at Mercy Medical Center.

Greed has led to trivial lawsuits

All you hear today is ''sue, sue, sue!'' Litigate if you find a tiny piece of bone in a chicken sandwich. Sue if you don't read the directions on a product and the results are not as expected.

We have all read about the person who sued a major fast-food chain because of being burned by hot coffee. When you order hot coffee, you must assume some responsibility for handling it properly. In that instance, the wonder is not that the person sued but that the plaintiff won.

Administer the Heimlich maneuver to a choking victim and you may get sued for breaking a rib. No wonder trained medical personnel are reticent about rendering aid outside of their work environments.

Neighbors threaten to sue neighbors over trivialities. I know of one case where just such threats were delivered because tree leaves and twigs fell over a fence onto a neighboring property.

In my opinion, much of this is the result of all those hawking lawyer commercials that frequently pop up on television. My most unfavorite of all is the one where a sad-eyed woman (supposedly an attorney) urges parents and/or guardians to contact her law firm if they suspect their children's disabilities are accident-related.

One local lawyer even offers a ''credit card,'' of sorts. By all means, keep that card handy in case someone rear-ends you in traffic. Then, before you call 911 you can call the attorney.

Let's all try to recognize greed for the vice that it really is.

Joan F. Hubbard

Baltimore

Tom Paine was a real visionary

I read with interest Jack Fruchtman Jr.'s Sept. 4 commentary on Thomas Paine's early advocacy of a national welfare program for colonial-era America.

The Sun's readers may be interested to know that in addition to advocating a national welfare program, Thomas Paine was also the first prominent American to advocate social insurance -- what we have come to think of as Social Security. In his 1795 pamphlet, Agrarian Justice, Paine proposed the use of a special inheritance tax to fund retirement benefits for those age 50 or older ''to enable them to live in old age without wretchedness and go decently out of the world.''

It would be 140 years before America adopted a social insurance plan to guard against poverty in old-age. Paine himself, despite being a hero of the early Republic, would die alone in a lodging house in New York City, at age 72, in poverty.

Larry DeWitt

Baltimore

The writer is the historian for the Social Security Administration.

Need to do more to reduce city crime

I found your Aug. 23 article about the Baltimore City Council members' research trip to New York to investigate that city's ''zero tolerance'' crime policy both encouraging and informative.

It said New York had reduced its murder rate by 25 percent within the past year, thereby decreasing that city's crime rate. It stated that this reduction was due in part to the implementation of that policy.

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