January 27, 2009

Public investments best stimulus package

Our economy is in a perilous state, and it is essential that Congress designs an effective stimulus package. The bulk of that package must go to investments in creating public facilities. Such investments achieve the maximum immediate economic stimulus in terms of jobs created and yield the greatest long-term benefits. Tax cuts have no place in the stimulus package.

The article "Stimulus ideas split party philosophy" (Jan. 24) describes Republican attempts to redirect the stimulus package toward tax cuts. However, recent events have proved that tax cuts are ineffective in stimulating the economy. And economists of all stripes agree that most of the money spent on tax cuts goes into savings, not spending, which defeats the purpose of tax cuts as a stimulus program.

Compromising with the minority party is laudable but not at the expense of extending the nation's economic ruin.

Republicans have bowed before the gospel of deregulation and tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, since the unfortunate era of Ronald Reagan.

But with President Barack Obama's election, the legacy of Mr. Reagan's failed economic and social theories has thankfully ended.

J. Kinstlinger, Baltimore

Mood of bipartisanship already fading fast

I wish President Barack Obama well in his efforts to obtain some level of bipartisanship. But the bipartisan mood seems to have lasted about an hour ("Stimulus ideas split by party philosophy," Jan. 24).

On one hand, we have some Republicans - whose only economic solutions historically have been to cut taxes and regulations (and we all know how well that has worked out) - who have now taken on the role of obstructionists.

On the other hand, we have the tax-and-spend liberal speaker of the house, whose thinking seems to be, "My way or the highway."

This country is in dire economic straits, and one would hope that our elected senators and representatives could work through their respective concerns and arrive at a solution that will restore some normalcy to our financial system, even if that means nationalizing the banks and prosecuting the bank officials who got us into this mess and are keeping us in it.

Franklin Shekore, Columbia

When will we punish corrupt financiers?

In China, many people have already been tried and sentenced for their roles in the production of baby formula contaminated with melamine-tainted milk ("2 death sentences in tainted-milk scandal," Jan. 23).

What punishment awaits those who contaminated our financial system with the melamine of toxic mortgage securities?

Paul Romney, Baltimore

Bombs kill children along with enemies

Would it be too much to ask for the Obama administration and the new government Israel will soon have to stop using "smart bombs" that don't seem to distinguish between combatants and women and children?

Jaime Lievano, Baltimore

State regulates guns too closely already

A recent letter suggests that Maryland legislators are callous because the state's gun control laws are not strict enough ("Callous legislature lets problems fester," Jan. 23).

I can assure the author that Maryland's lawmakers must care very deeply indeed, since this state has among the most stringent laws in the nation governing the purchase, possession and transportation of handguns.

Maryland lawmakers care so much that they have enacted restrictions on what handguns can be sold in the state; a seven-day waiting period on purchases; a rule forbidding face-to-face handgun sales without the involvement of the police; mandatory child locks for guns; and some of the most restrictive laws in the country about transporting handguns.

The attorney general's office cares so deeply that it coerces firearms dealers to participate in an ammunition registration program that has no basis in state law.

Thus Maryland's government has demonstrated that it cares so much about guns that it will pass laws that punish law-abiding gun owners rather than punishing criminals.

Paul Dembowski, Annapolis

The writer is president of Maryland Shall Issue, a group that advocates for the right to self-defense.

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