Debate over plans to boost economy isn't just bickering...


January 16, 2002

Debate over plans to boost economy isn't just bickering

The Sun's editorial "Trading political jabs won't solve fiscal crisis" (Jan. 8) sees recent statements by President Bush and Sen. Tom Daschle and other Democrats as political posturing. But behind the rhetoric lie starkly differing proposals to alleviate the current recession.

This recession started in 1999 when demand growth slackened. When inventories started to accumulate, firms cut production, firing workers. Profits and stock prices fell; firms invested less in new facilities. Those without work, or fearing job loss, further cut spending.

Sept. 11 shocked families into further buying caution. In 2001, 1 million Americans lost jobs.

Democrats think the stimulus should largely help unemployed workers get extended benefits and health care. This would immediately boost demand. They also think tax cuts should temporarily help firms that create jobs. Republicans, in contrast, propose mostly tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals, hoping they will invest in added facilities, eventually hiring workers.

While these proposals also please party supporters, most economists and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office believe the Democrats' plans most effective. This is a real debate, not bickering.

Clark Row


Don't blame the president for the economy's weakness

Jules Witcover believes the country's current economic woes are the result of President Bush-backed tax cuts ("Bush's rosy 2001 forecast yields to reality of '02 in red," Opinion Commentary, Jan. 4).

It apparently makes no difference that the economic downturn began long before Mr. Bush took office or that it was exacerbated by events outside of anyone's control. And it makes no difference that there is no economic explanation for the recession that would place the blame on tax cuts, many of which have yet to take effect.

I must agree, however, with both Mr. Witcover and Sen. Tom Daschle that the rebate checks did not stimulate the economy. Studies of similar plans, most recently in the Ford administration, have indicated rebates have only a negligible impact, so that was inevitable.

But, then, rebate checks were never part of the original Bush tax cut plan. They were initially proposed by Mr. Daschle and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman.

William E. Fleischmann


Time for `Gore losers' to stop their whining

Thomas L. Friedman's column "We need a bold Bush at home, too" (Opinion Commentary, Jan. 4) claims President Bush is using the war on terrorism to promote a right-wing agenda in Washington. Mr. Friedman forgets that Americans voted Mr. Bush into the White House to get away from a liberal, left-wing agenda.

Mr. Friedman further states that he wishes Al Gore were president. He and other "Gore losers" should stop whining and crying in their beer.

Frank V. Vaccaro


Teachers aren't the cause of Northern High's chaos

Much has been written and shown on TV about the chaos at Northern High School ("Students, teachers call Northern out of control," Jan. 9).

There is plenty of blame to go around, but don't blame the teachers or the principal. Blame lies in great measure with the so-called "experts" who established so large a school. Bigger is not always better.

Some blame must go to the feeder schools (middle and elementary) where learning school discipline starts. And the major blame lies with parents who do not practice discipline at home.

Richard L. Lelonek


Reading First program will enhance kids' literacy

President Bush deserves great credit for appointing Baltimore's Christopher J. Doherty as director of his Reading First program ("City schools reformer to lead Bush initiative," Jan. 6).

Reading First will bring research-guided direction and funding to early literacy programs across the country. It would be hard to find a brighter and more committed person to spearhead it than Chris Doherty, as he has demonstrated in heading the Baltimore Curriculum Project in the Baltimore schools.

The appointment is a tribute to him, and a coup for the Bush administration.

Kalman R. Hettleman


Tales of settlers' misdeeds very often prove to be false

Kathleen Kern is obviously unaware of Hebron's very sordid history ("Settlers' strikes create cold fury," Opinion Commentary, Jan. 3).

The Israeli government did not "build the settlement of Avraham Avinu"; it allowed the return of part of the property abandoned after the savage 1929 Arab attack on that city's ancient Jewish community (67 dead, hundreds wounded).

Today's Jewish residents truly live in a state of siege, frequently shot at from the hills above. They certainly have no need to seek out imaginary enemies when so many real ones exist.

So Ms. Kern's tale of settlers publicly celebrating the death of a "kind old man" who wished them no harm has more than a scent of mendacity about it. While her sincerity is not in doubt, her credulity surely is. Time after time, Palestinian horror stories have turned out to be either entirely false or wildly exaggerated.

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