Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 03, 2005

Health care tax makes big firms pay fair share

In his column defending Wal-Mart's failure to provide adequate health care coverage for its employees, Jay Hancock said that Wal-Mart is a "company that doesn't give much to Maryland politicians" ("Wal-Mart tax exemplifies `tyranny of the majority,'" Jan. 26).

Mr. Hancock failed to mention that late last year, Wal-Mart hosted a $1,000-a-head fund-raiser for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. ("How officials play politics with politics," Dec. 28).

We hope that Wal-Mart's "generosity" does not keep Mr. Ehrlich from joining the Greater Washington Board of Trade, Giant Food and other large and small businesses in Maryland in endorsing the Fair Share Health Care Plan.

This bill requires businesses with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health care for their employees.

When uninsured workers and their families go to the emergency room, the cost of the unpaid bills gets passed along to those of us with insurance and businesses such as Giant that provide their employees quality, affordable coverage.

It's high time we require all large businesses in Maryland to do their part in making sure that Marylanders have access to health care.

Glenn E. Schneider

Baltimore

The writer is the executive director of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative.

Taxing Wal-Mart will hurt the public

The Sun reported that governor-wannabes Mayor Martin O'Malley and Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan support a new tax on companies with 10,000-plus Maryland employees if those companies spend less than 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits ("Wal-Mart tax exemplifies `tyranny of the majority,'" Jan. 26).

Wal-Mart would be the only company subject to this tax. Giant Food, a supporter of this measure and the only other company of this size in Maryland, would avoid the tax because it provides sufficient benefits.

But once again, the "progressive" politicians have it wrong and the citizens of Maryland may pay for their mistake. Wal-Mart has built its business by offering shoppers low prices. It can do so because it tightly controls the cost of labor and benefits.

Giant Food smothers us with service and a pleasant shopping experience. But its prices are higher.

It's up to us consumers to choose between the two, not the politicians. And it's up to the individual to decide whether to work at Wal-Mart or not, not the politicians.

Bill Herrfeldt

Towson

Tough judge sends an overdue message

It is refreshing to finally have a judge who understands that the citizens of Maryland and Baltimore County want harsh sentences handed down to punks and thugs who terrorize the community with handguns ("Judge quickly earns his tough reputation," Jan. 30).

Circuit Judge Patrick Cavanaugh was true to his word when he gave a 100-year sentence to the thug who shot up Randallstown High School.

During the 2002 election campaign, Judge Cavanaugh promised to hand out harsh sentences. Now, we are fortunate to have him as a judge in Baltimore County.

The voters of Baltimore City should take note and get rid of those judges and politicians who fail to protect the citizens of Baltimore.

Joe Collins

Reisterstown

Doesn't government have any experts?

Neither the administration's use of my tax dollars to pay political commentators to further the Bush agenda nor the administration's defense of that policy is particularly surprising ("3rd columnist paid by administration to promote agenda," Jan. 29).

But the excuse that the administration was really just buying "expertise" is a transparent fiction: There are plenty of experts on virtually every conceivable subject already on the government payroll.

Evan Sage

Columbia

Hubble has earned a shot at rescue

I am outraged at NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe's lack of support for the Hubble Space Telescope ("New NASA budget expected to scuttle Hubble rescue plan," Jan. 24).

The telescope is a national treasure that has made discoveries of historic and unprecedented proportions.

The Hubble is arguably the most successful product of all NASA endeavors. The unimaginable discoveries made by the orbiting observatory pique the interest of children and adults alike. For Mr. O'Keefe to opt out of a servicing mission is unconscionable.

The Hubble is in its prime; to turn our back on it and fund an inert project such as the International Space Station is highly questionable and very curious.

Madeline Bacon

Baltimore

Summers recycled harmful stereotypes

I agree with Steve Chapman that scholars should be allowed to behave like scholars in challenging prevailing wisdom ("Harvard no haven for academic freedom," Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 25).

Institutions of higher learning are and should be the champions of debate and provocative thought. They should also be havens where students' inquiry and intellectual growth are encouraged and challenged in a nonjudgmental environment that does not promote dangerous stereotypes.

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