Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 20, 2005

The high cost of eliminating the estate tax

Our Republican masters in the executive and legislative branches tell us they have a plan to save Social Security, and that those awful Democrats don't. Well, water is wet, the sun is hot and the GOP is lying to us again.

Last week, beneath President Bush's benevolent gaze, the Republican-controlled House voted to permanently abolish the estate tax, which only affects the heirs of our wealthiest families ("House members again vote for permanent repeal of federal estate tax," April 14).

This repeal would cost the U.S. Treasury almost $750 billion over the 10 years after it took effect. Given the extra debt this revenue loss would demand, and its attendant interest payments, the total cost could be about $1 trillion over that decade.

That's $1 trillion taken out of the federal budget as we approach the time at which the Republicans tell us that Social Security will "go broke."

This is just one of many indications that the Republicans don't give a bald eagle's behind about "saving" Social Security.

It is gratifying to know, however, that President Bush, Paris Hilton and the rest of this nation's slacker trust-fund babies will be well looked after.

Richard Levy

Cambridge

Minimum wage hike can prime the pump

Republicans argue that giving more money to the rich, for example by eliminating the estate tax, causes money to pour into our economy and boosts the economy ("House members again vote for permanent repeal of federal estate tax," April 14).

How ironic, then, that Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has vowed to veto a $1 increase in the minimum wage for the workers of Maryland.

Wouldn't an increase in the minimum wage pour more money into the economy also?

Or is the Republican argument only used when it can benefit rich people?

B. A. Zalesky

Columbia

Busch's obstinacy blocks will of people

House Speaker Michael E. Busch cannot blame anyone - not the governor, not Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, not a vast right-wing conspiracy - for the death of slot machines for a third year in a row ("Lots of time to lay blame, credit for no slots," April 12). His arrogance and obstructionist tactics defy not only the governor but also the majority of his constituents and citizens of this state.

My wife and I are tired of driving to Delaware to play slots. I go at least once a week, and sometimes twice in 10 days. My rooms and meals are complimentary. I even receive gas cards now to compensate for the increase in fuel prices. However, it is a 200-mile round trip from Largo.

Mr. Busch clearly has no concern for the will of the people or for saving the state's horse racing industry. He's only concerned with politics and obstructing any victories for the governor.

Let's pass slots now. The governor should make legislators go right back to Annapolis, sit down, roll up their sleeves and do the hard work to represent the people.

Mr. Busch should be the first one called.

Arthur F. Dorr

Largo

Greed doomed slots initiative

Now that the dust has settled on the slots debate, we can begin to draw some conclusions about who really wants slots and why ("Lots of time to lay blame, claim credit for no slots," April 12).

The House of Delegates presented the governor and Senate with a bill that would have allowed thousands of machines at numerous locations. The bill provided plenty of everything - except a massive windfall for Joseph A. De Francis and the other big-money gambling interests.

By rejecting this bill, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. made it clear to everyone that their true concerns are not education and the budget, but lining the pockets of those big campaign donors.

Ultimately, it was greed, more than anything else, that killed slots.

Larry Kloze

Baltimore

Pox on all houses in the slots debate

C. Fraser Smith attempted to determine whether Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller or House Speaker Michael E. Busch was primarily responsible for the failure of state government to pass a slot machine bill this year ("Annapolis mystery: Who killed slots this time?" Opinion * Commentary, April 17).

I say, to paraphrase William Shakespeare, a plague on all their houses.

Leon Reinstein

Baltimore

Condemning Israel even for concessions

Trudy Rubin's column "Israel's Gaza retreat may be setback for peace" (Opinion * Commentary, April 15) proves Israel is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't.

Any action by Israel seems to be criticized, but Ms. Rubin's hypothesis takes the cake. By giving the Palestinians what they supposedly want - land - Israel is setting back the peace process?

When Israel holds onto disputed land, critics shout that Israel is holding back the peace process. Now Ms. Rubin has Israel boxed in - either way, Israel is at fault.

Ms. Rubin's view is full of half-truths and just more anti-Israel propaganda.

Michael Berenhaus

Potomac

Does CEO's pay rise along with oil price?

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