- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 1, 2001

Working folks deserve 'payroll tax holiday'

I am glad to see that some leaders in Washington are finally getting serious about economic stimulus. After weeks of fighting over two equally dreadful stimulus bills, one from the left and one from the right, Sen. Pete V. Domenici, New Mexico Republican, has found the third way ("Bush demands better stimulus bill," Nov. 29). The proposal of a "payroll tax holiday" will mean real stimulus for hardworking Americans.
Suspending the Social Security payroll tax for one month will put money directly into the hands of the working people, who keep our country running day in and day out in these trying times. A payroll tax holiday will also assist the businesses that are facing great pressures in an unstable marketplace.
For example, a worker earning $50,000 would retain a one-month savings of $250. Providing immediate real money for the workers and businesses who share the cost of the 12.4 percent payroll tax is simply good politics and good economics.
Working people deserve this much-needed tax holiday. It will both lighten their burden and help get the economy rolling again.

NATHAN R. SHRADER
Arlington

Our veterans deserve better

In response to the Nov. 27 editorial, "Still homeless," I commend The Washington Times for supporting the expansion of access to psychiatric services and drug and alcohol treatment for America's homeless veterans.
Untreated, severe mental illness harms not just the individual but families, communities and our nation. The men and women who fought for our freedom deserve the best mental health care our nation can provide.
Especially with America at war, I agree that Congress must send the message to veterans, psychiatric patients and their families that providing quality mental health care is a top priority for our nation.

DR. ALBERT C. GAW
San Francisco

Dr. Albert C. Gaw is speaker-elect of the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association and co-chairman of the American Psychiatric Association's Caucus of Veterans Affairs Psychiatrists.

U.S. will have to pay the social costs of lower energy prices

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham writes that "no one's interest is served by artificially high energy prices" ("Meet energy challenges," Op-Ed, Nov. 29). He's correct, but no one is well-served by artificially low energy prices, either. Consumers may feel better in the short-term, but we will eventually pay for the social costs that low prices hide.
The price of gasoline fails to accurately reflect the true cost of its production and use. All Americans, drivers and nondrivers, pay an additional steep price in the form of traffic congestion, pollution, lost open space, taxes spent on expensive road projects and overseas defense of oil reserves. These hundreds of billions of dollars in hidden costs make for a deceptively cheap gallon of gas.

MARK M. GLICKMAN
Oakland, Calif.

Mark M. Glickman is an economist for Redefining Progress, a public policy organization based in Oakland.

Editorial, 'bleeding hearts' reveal love of terrorists

We're fighting a war, yet your editorial page joins the American Civil Liberties Union and ultraliberal Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, in denouncing President Bush's efforts to protect our country.
In your Nov. 30 editorial, "Questions for Mr. Ashcroft," you first tell the FBI how to do its job fighting terrorism. Then you denounce the president's proposal for establishing military tribunals to try captured foreign terrorists, calling it "noxious."
The only thing "noxious" here is your knee-jerk, bleeding-heart concern for the rights of terrorists. While you and Mr. Leahy and your friends at the ACLU are so worried that foreign terrorists might not be able to enjoy the same civil liberties that American citizens enjoy in peacetime, the rest of us are more concerned that, without tribunals, lawyers such as Johnny Cochran and Alan Dershowitz will create another O.J. Simpson circus.
Shame on you and all of your bleeding-heart friends who care more about terrorists' rights than America's security.

MICHAEL HURWITZ
Rockville

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