- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 31, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Tax-and-spend Warner

In a recent front-page story, The Washington Times credits former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner with “solving the state’s budget crisis,” but is “criticized for raising taxes to do so” (“Warner tied to late tax payments,” Page One, Wednesday). The statement doesn’t reflect the opinion of many citizens of Virginia.

Mr. Warner promised in his campaign for governor that he would not raise taxes. Upon gaining the office, he aggressively supported referenda to add taxes in Northern Virginia and Southeast Virginia to try to address traffic congestion problems. The measures were soundly defeated by the voters in both areas.

As the story indicates, he later raised taxes by $1.38 billion to “solve the budget crisis.” However, these funds were not needed. Three days after that tax increase passed, Mr. Warner reported that we had a $1.4 billion surplus. Not one penny of that tax increase was used for transportation.

In retrospect, Mr. Warner would not have been able to discern that the Bush tax cuts would not only increase federal tax receipts, but also those of the commonwealth. He does not seem to understand basic economics. Either that or he understands it perfectly well but hasn’t been straight with the people of Virginia.

SEN. KEN CUCCINELLI

Virginia General Assembly

Fairfax

To the heart

God willing, surgeons in Algeria will exercise the considerable skill required to repair a hole in the heart of 6-year-old Iraqi Ahmad Raouf (“Hatred of Israel cuts deep to heart,” Page 1, Thursday).

If they’re successful, though, who will repair the emotional hole in the heart of Ahmad’s mother, Diyar, whose hatred of Israel caused her to refuse expert care for her son from Israeli surgeons?

Also, who will stop the growth of irrational hatred in the soul of 6-year-old Ahmad and other Arab children taught by their culture that such feelings of animosity toward Israel are, as Mrs. Raouf claims, “inbred”?

What surgeon has the talent to extract from the Middle Eastern Muslim culture the inane belief that Israel, as announced on an Iraqi TV station, is “the enemy country No. 1 for Iraq and Arabic nations”? What psychologist can remedy the irrational state of mind of Iraqi mother, Shatha Fakhri, who described the prospect of Israel’s doctors saving her daughter’s life as a “nightmare”?

Is there a medical association that has a snowball’s chance in the Iraqi desert of overcoming the malicious envy of Iraqi doctors who assembled in Amman, Jordan, to do what they could to find alternatives and keep Israeli doctors from providing the sophisticated level of surgical skill necessary to save the lives of Iraqi children?

Despite their remarkable advances in science and medicine in only a few decades, Israelis still have not discovered the secrets to eradicating the prejudice, cruelty and hatred of their barbarous neighbors. It is staggeringly apparent that hatred one of the most powerful weapons of mass destruction is at an alarmingly toxic level in the Arab and Muslim societies that surround Israel.

SAMUEL R. LEWIS

Oak Hill

*

How sad it was to read Thursday’s front-page article “Hatred of Israel cuts deep to heart” regarding the refusal of Arab parents to send their children to Israel for life-saving heart surgery. It must take an immense amount of hatred, nurtured for a prolonged period of time, to turn down the opportunity to have your child’s severe heart defect corrected by top-notch physicians at world-renowned institutions in Israel. I would venture to guess that these vulnerable patients would stand a better chance at survival if their care were undertaken in Israel rather than in the other locations mentioned in the article.

It just confirms what Golda Meir, the former prime minister of Israel, once said: “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” Sadly, this sea change has not yet occurred.

MICHAEL LANGBAUM

Baltimore

Montgomery economic woes

The state of the economy in Montgomery County is on a down slide. The loss of more than 5,000 jobs here this past year is only one clear indication of that. The reason? One is the high taxes that Montgomery County imposes on its residents and small businesses. Taxes have caused the loss of many jobs here.

The county’s liberal policies continue to encourage illegal immigrants to migrate here, and now it wants new U.S., state and private funding to support “naturalization support centers” for legal residents (“Immigrant aid funds sought,” Briefly, Metropolitan, Friday) while it also overtaxes its hardworking residents to provide services to illegal immigrants.

When the county cuts vital services, it makes the wrong choice. For example, it cuts police services, such as a recommendation to eliminate all community-outreach police services, and it eliminates a new police recruit class. The right thing to do would be to crack down on illegal immigrants, denying them benefits and reducing taxes instead of the constant unnecessary increases.

The county is heading in the wrong direction. Soon, people will start moving out. Wake up, people, and remember this when you go to the polls next time.

The only other choice is to pack up and move out of Montgomery County to a more taxpayer-friendly county or state.

AL EISNER

Wheaton

Puerto Rico status quo no ‘partnership’

Flavio Cumpiano’s May 22 Op-Ed column on the Puerto Rico primary suggests the current “commonwealth” structure for territorial government has created a kind of “best of both worlds” utopia (“Why Puerto Rico matters,” May 22). Actually, the current federal taxpayer subsidy of the commonwealth is in excess of $15 billion annually. The percentage of Americans below the poverty line is higher than in any state and unemployment is 14 percent, more than twice the national average. The bureaucratic commonwealth regime is the biggest employer, and local taxes are so high that federal tax breaks on local income are little relief.

The 4 million U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico pay federal tax on income from the States or overseas and the same Social Security and Medicare taxes as the rest of the nation. Yet Americans in the territory receive lower benefits under these and other federal programs than citizens in the States. Still, Mr. Cumpiano touts commonwealth as a “partnership” because some mainland companies profitably exploit tax gimmicks and lower labor costs in the territory.

Voting in primaries is fine, but denial of full democratic voting rights in federal elections is a “tradeoff” that cannot go on indefinitely, especially when Puerto Rico contributes more per capita to U.S. military forces than 49 states.

Instead of locally concocted status theories unrealistically combining statehood and independence, Congress needs to give Puerto Rico a real choice to end social and economic stagnation under the commonwealth so that it eventually can either enjoy equal rights and pay its own way as a state or go its own way as a sovereign nation.

JOSE FUENTES

Former attorney general

of Puerto Rico

Washington

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