November 30, 2008

It's natural to want more for our children

I found the column in which Diane Cameron advises us to expect less and want less to be rather naive and even somewhat offensive ("Our wealth is relative to our desire," Commentary, Nov. 25).

Like Ms. Cameron and many other adults, I made much less money in my 20s than I do three decades later, but I never felt "poor" living in my small apartment and driving an inexpensive car decades ago.

However, my desire to have more wealth as I grew older stemmed not from a desire for a fancier car or a better wardrobe but from an increased sense of responsibility after I got married and had children, and my desire to make sure that my children had the tools necessary to succeed in a highly competitive world.

This meant I needed to own a house in a safe neighborhood with excellent schools, save for their college tuition and be able to afford things like computers, tutoring if the kids needed it, and even summer sports camps where kids have fun while learning new skills and making new friends.

Yes, I could want less and expect less for my family.

But that would not only be anti-American, as Ms. Cameron suggests, it would also go against basic human nature.

Mark Haas, Timonium

Investment in transit nothing to brag about

I think it is the administrator of the Federal Transit Administration who mischaracterizes the agency's commitment to public transit across America ("Public transit funding has gotten a boost," letters, Nov. 24), not the writer of the letter "Hoping for change at transit agency" (Nov. 15).

The administrator's letter brags that federal funding for public transit increased 6 percent in two years. That's only about a 3 percent increase per year, which is inadequate even to keep up with the rate of inflation.

The letter says that the FTA will fund two major new transit projects this year.

Does the agency really hope that we'll be impressed by two new projects for the nation's 50 states and thousands of cities and towns?

The letter goes on to state that the FTA has "invested in more than 280 new miles of transit lines since 2001."

Does the agency expect us to be awed by the fact that it has invested in building only 40 miles of transit infrastructure per year - less than one mile per state?

The FTA should be ashamed of these figures, not bragging about them.

Morita Bruce, Fallston

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