Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 05, 2005

Donation cap will hurt ability to help needy

Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation is considering a proposal to cap charitable donations for contributions of clothing and household items at $500 a year per taxpayer.

Assuming tax cheaters are inflating the value of their donations to charity, the committee estimates that this would result in $1.9 billion in additional revenue over 10 years.

Unfortunately, if this proposal became law, it would have a devastating social and economic impact on many individuals in our community.

Currently, Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake Inc. serves approximately 3,500 individuals each year, many of whom have profound physical and mental disabilities or struggle with illiteracy, homelessness, substance abuse, domestic violence and a lack of skills.

In 2004, Goodwill placed 1,336 people into jobs.

Goodwill is able to do this because of its ability to recycle the public's donations and turn them into a revenue stream that supports career services for these individuals.

The 1,336 individuals whom this Goodwill alone placed into jobs will generate an estimated $372,000 in income tax receipts and an estimated $246,885 in retail tax receipts in 2005.

If this cap were imposed, organizations such as Goodwill would receive fewer clothing and household items. And ultimately, the government would have to provide more social services.

The donations cap would imperil our ability to serve those in Baltimore who need it most.

Marge Thomas

Baltimore

The writer is president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake Inc.

Impulsive parenting can ruin girl's future

As Alice sees the world through the looking glass, Kathryn Edin sees things as if reversed ("Motherhood before marriage," Opinion * Commentary, March 27).

Ms. Edin states that news of a pregnancy puts "relationships into overdrive, as the would-be mother begins to scrutinize her mate like never before, wondering whether he can `get himself together' - find a job, settle down and become a family man - in time."

She goes on to say of these women, "Given their limited economic prospects, the poor have little motivation to time their births as precisely as middle-class women."

Her conclusion suggests that these women will continue to have children "while deferring marriage" until they have more access to financial independence. But this simply rationalizes what is precisely the reason poor women have such limited prospects.

If community leaders, and Ivy League professors, stressed responsible child-bearing within the confides of a stable, committed relationship, such as marriage, then poor women would be able to close the economic gap.

Rather than vindicate that "they've got nothing to lose by an ill-timed birth," everyone should point out that they, in fact, have everything to lose.

One's economic success is tied almost completely to education and skills - and these things are hampered by impulsive decisions about parenthood.

K. Gary Ambridge

Bel Air

Arrogant dismissal of Schiavo's backers

What a peaceful picture The Sun describes in its editorial "Rest in peace, Terri" (April 1) - Michael Schiavo holding in his arms the wife he slowly starved to death.

And then to admonish those who prayed and supported her family throughout this ordeal that Terri Schiavo wasn't worth those prayers, that they would have been better directed to some other tragedy.

Do you even realize how monstrously arrogant you've become?

Corinne Will

Pasadena

Winking at failures of U.S. intelligence

In the typical and clever way that his government spins his policy failures, President Bush thanked the commission that reviewed U.S. intelligence capabilities and promised to do it better next time ("Report faults U.S. spy community, challenges strategy for overhaul," April 1).

But he never apologized for the responsibility he has in the deaths of more than 1,500 American soldiers and thousands of Iraqis in an unnecessary and unjustifiable war.

He said nothing about punishing those in the intelligence community who were culpable for the mistaken intelligence - but of course we know how he feels about that, since he has given awards to the man who was in charge of the CIA, George J. Tenet.

Jaime Lievano

Baltimore

The study of space enlightens mankind

It may serve the writer of the letter "Spend space funds much closer to home" (April 1) to know that information gained from studying the forces and mysteries of the universe is not a waste of taxpayer money. And that there are taxpayers who favor funding those enterprises that do not necessarily bring commercial rewards.

Small is the mind of one who concludes that what is yet to be revealed by studying the cosmos is unimportant.

Our present tax dollars are spent on many projects and causes that are not necessarily helpful to mankind.

At least the knowledge and understanding that are gained in return for the study of space stand to be a source of help to and enlightenment of mankind in the future.

Geraldine Wright-Bey

Baltimore

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