- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 15, 2000

Goring car drivers with energy taxes

Your coverage of record "out of whack" gasoline prices addresses one part of this administration's involvement with current, elevated energy costs the role of regulations ("EPA, Energy probe 'out of whack' cost of gas in Midwest," June 13).

Typically, as here, the regulations yield questionable benefit for the cost. These are mere crocodile tears shed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy for diminished mobility for those on low and fixed incomes. Scrambling these regulators for the purpose of conducting an inquiry certainly conjures up the folly of "I'm shocked, shocked that gambling is going on in [this casino]," and rounding up the usual suspects. Yet, even worse hypocrisy lurks beneath the surface of this finger pointing, and it deserves exposure.

Indirect costs from regulation, of up to 23 cents per gallon, compound the direct increases from a federal gasoline tax of a little more than 18 cents. Of the latter tax, only a little more than 4 cents is directly attributable to Vice President Al Gore, who cast the tie-breaking vote on that increase. This tribute pales in comparison to what a President Gore and his fellow Clinton-Gore administration travelers would do.

Two dollars per gallon is less than one-half of what we reasonably should expect to pay. I refer to page 173 of Mr. Gore's disturbing and recently republished tract "Earth in the Balance," in which the man who would be president states: "Higher taxes on fossil fuels … is one of the logical first steps in changing our policies in a manner consistent with a more responsible environment."

Worldwide, we all pay about the same amount per barrel of oil. The difference between U.S. prices and European prices for, say, a gallon of gasoline is taxes. France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy all pay between $3.90 and 4.80 per gallon, according to the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation. Energy taxes are designed to discourage consumption. They are inherently inflationary and regressive, most harmful to those on low and fixed incomes.

Of critical importance, they also clearly are just a first step, as current European nations' efforts to increase energy taxes for the purpose of meeting their Kyoto Protocol obligations demonstrate.

The Clinton-Gore administration is concerned about higher energy costs? That concern is nothing a victory in November can't solve.

CHRISTOPHER C. HORNER

Counsel

Cooler Heads Coalition

Washington

Reader delivers a cold piece on Domino's Pizza ruling

Excuse me, but did I miss something? Was Domino's Pizza being sued because it refused to deliver pizza into high-crime neighborhoods or because it couldn't find low-wage employees stupid enough to take pizzas into such bad neighborhoods ("Pass the pizza, or else," Editorial, June 11)?

As an employee in the private sector for 30 years, I never have heard that I could be ordered, by our government, to risk my life for my job. If I were in the military, I would expect the risk, but in the pizza business?

I have an aunt who has spent more than 50 years in a convent. She told me that the Roman Catholic Church fell from its glory because its elite officials took to arguing over how many angels could dance on the head of a pin instead of dealing with the struggles of their flocks. Our current ruling class seems to be in the business of destroying the American dream.

JACK DEATHERAGE JR.

Emmitsburg, Md.

Responses to coverage of Beijing-Plus-Five conference

The article in The Washington Times about a U.N. committee ordering China to allow women to sell their bodies as "sex workers" inaccurately portrays the facts ("China 'sex workers' treaty backed," June 1).

The article raises the question of why the U.N. committee issued the instruction for China to legalize prostitution. A simple review of the text of the committee's recommendation to China, coupled with a study of China's report to the committee, gives the answer.

The full text of the recommendation can be found in the Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women on its 20th session (Jan. 19 through Feb. 5, 1999) Note 289: "The Committee recommends decriminalization of prostitution. Given the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the Committee also recommends that due attention be paid to health services for women in prostitution. The government is also urged to take measures for rehabilitation and reintegration of prostitutes into society."

In its periodic report, China acknowledged the problem of abduction and sale of women and children, also known as the trafficking and forced prostitution of women. As a practice, to maintain control of these women and further enslave them, the abductors threaten to report them to government officials who in turn would arrest and prosecute them. A significant majority of these women are illiterate and impoverished, and threats of arrest and prosecution paralyze them further.

In 1991, China adopted a decision to punish criminals guilty of abducting and selling women and children and a decision to severely punish prostitution. However, the government has not done much to alleviate the persistent fear of prosecution reinforced in these women's minds. The committee's recommendation to China goes to the very heart of this issue and is a means of reducing the further victimization of these women.

While the article in The Times depicts "decriminalization" as "legalization" and interprets decriminalization as a stamp of approval for prostitution, a more thorough study of this complex issue presents it as a means of removing fear of further prosecution and taking steps to provide the necessary conditions for the safe reintegration of these embattled women into society.

LEILA R. MILANI

Washington

Leila R. Milani is a lobbyist for the Working Group on Ratification of the U.N. Women's Human Rights Treaty.

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I would like to extend my gratitude to The Washington Times for the June 12 news analysis "Feminist proposals routed at U.N. conference."

"If [Western delegations are] not being serious, it is better just to leave now and go back to our own countries," a G-77 delegate cried.

The recent developments in the Beijing-Plus-5 conference were sober and humbling reminders of the true meaning of civility. It was deplorable that in the midst of such an opportunity for nations to communicate their needs for clean water, proper health care and education, the dialogue had to devolve to the legislation of sexual permissiveness.

A battle was waged over the weekend by the "Third World" nations in this conference on behalf of life, liberty and morality. The concern of these nations has been far more fundamental than for "sexual rights." Organizations such as the World Youth Alliance and the American Life League have joined these nations in concentrating on the promotion of a truly pro-life message, one that can be embraced by all civilized nations, including the United States. Thank you to The Times for bringing to light the route the feminists have taken.

MICHAEL P. MURPHY

Stafford, Va.

Michael Murphy is the press secretary for American Life League.

Article gets good grade

I would just like to say that The Washington Times had a lovely article on home schooling ("H-O-M-E schooling spells a winner," June 24). We home-school our four children, ranging in age from 4 to 12 years. Many people think our children are shut-ins who are socially deprived because they don't attend a school. That couldn't be further from the truth, and it is nice to see an article that does home-schooling justice.

CHRISTINE COLEBECK

Kitchener, Ontario

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