- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 12, 2000

Tax code incentives keep U.S. competitive in global market

Your editorial about Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) provisions of the U.S. Tax Code ("Corporate welfare queens," Sept. 5) not only reflects a lack of knowledge of tax law, but more dangerously, misrepresents the role FSC plays in the intense competition for business and jobs in the global marketplace.

First, about the FSC. Since America is a free country, our companies can manufacture anywhere in the world, and we cannot prevent this. However, like our economic competitors, we do offer incentives for companies to stay on our soil. FSC was created to persuade American companies to stay in the United States and manufacture their export goods here rather than overseas. This has the dual benefit of creating jobs for American workers while generating tax revenues from employees and employers. FSC does not hurt non-exporting industries as you claimed. By contrast, FSC keeps jobs in America and provides wages, which citizens spend on domestically produced goods and services.

Second, about the tax law. The notion that FSC is corporate welfare assumes that the federal government is entitled to 100 percent of corporate profits and 100 percent of individual income. That same logic could be used to criticize the home mortgage deduction or to support the marriage tax penalty, two positions which The Times has rightfully not espoused. In fact, I am surprised that you would oppose any tax relief item that permits U.S. corporations to retain more of the profits they earn while creating more jobs here at home. It was my perception that The Times favored making America a more business-friendly environment, not one in which U.S. companies must flee overseas to escape our destructive tax code.

Finally, I wish to clarify the facts about the European Union's case with the World Trade Organization. The United States has a tremendous record in the WTO, winning 23 of the 25 trade cases brought a 92 percent success rate. In this case, however, we lost, even though we disagreed with the WTO ruling and appealed its decision.

Unlike the European Union, however, the United States believes strongly in honoring its commitments under various trade agreements. Accordingly, the legislation repealing the FSC is an effort to comply with the WTO ruling while simultaneously keeping jobs within our shores, therefore preventing the European Union from retaliating against American businesses and workers. Unfortunately, the EU has not made similar efforts to abide by WTO rulings in which it has been found to be noncompliant.

In summary, FSC has absolutely nothing to do with corporate welfare and everything to do with U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace. Starting this week, U.S. Olympic athletes will compete against the world's best in Sydney, Australia, and all competitors will play by the rules. In the far fiercer global economic competition of the 21st century, we must work hard to give U.S. companies the same opportunity.



Committee on Ways and Means

United States House of Representatives


Creationist smears evolution with racism claim

I was disappointed that The Washington Times thought it appropriate to reprint creationist Ken Ham's scurrilous accusation that evolution promotes racism ("Justifying racism," Culture, et cetera, Sept. 7).

Almost any major idea can be perverted to support racism. Some disreputable creationists such as Mr. Ham promote the idea that evolution is responsible for all our modern ills, including some that predate the theory. I hardly need mention that the enslavement of blacks and the genocide of American Indians began long before Charles Darwin ever came along and were carried out by supposedly Christian nations.

I could point out that many Bible Belt Christians fought against the civil rights movement for years, or that creationist Bob Jones University still prohibits interracial dating. Or need I remind Mr. Ham that for centuries some Christians called blacks "the sons of Ham" and believed them to be cursed by God to be enslaved?

I suppose that I could match Mr. Ham smear for smear, but that wouldn't tell us what most people want to know, which is whether creation or evolution is true. Many on both sides of the issue have struggled for many years to bring some civility into this important debate. I hope that in the future, your paper will refrain from printing specious charges of racism that have nothing to do with the issue.



Gore's plan for America is empty sales pitch

Vice President Al Gore's advisers and friends in the press have used many words to describe his 191-page manifesto for America. They have called it lofty and ambitious, said it ventures into uncharted territory and calls for aggressive government intervention and described it as more challenging than that of President Clinton. What's next going where no man has gone before?

My parents taught me that to be a good consumer, I needed to think and evaluate claims made about a product. If it sounds too good to be true, they told me, it probably is. If that ever were true, it is regarding Mr. Gore's plan.

Mr. Gore is buying votes on an empty bank account, one that after the election we will all be asked to fill. (I believe the operative words have been "invest in" as opposed to "raise taxes.") The cost of fulfilling Mr. Gore's promises is too high for them to be viable. He has made promises such as to increase real family income by a third over the next decade, boost home ownership to 70 percent, double the number of people with accumulated savings of more than $50,000, increase college attendance and graduation rates, halve the pay gap between men and women, while at the same time cutting the tax burden on average families to the lowest level in 50 years. Whom is he trying to fool?

Delivering on those promises isn't in the plan. One newspaper commented glowingly that for Mr. Gore, "meeting the goals could prove politically less important than setting them." How convenient dangle the carrot, get the votes, fail to deliver and dangle the carrot again next election. We have seen that twice already with Clinton-Gore, and we should not be fooled again. This is an empty sales pitch that we shouldn't buy.

It's time for a change.


West Friendship, Md.

Article overlooks Serb atrocities

Nikolaos Stavrou is correct to challenge the success of the Clinton administration's Balkan policy, which has been a consistent disaster ("Mounting anxiety in Montenegro," Commentary, Aug. 29). Ethnic cleansing was allowed to continue unabated first in Bosnia and then in Kosovo.

However, President Clinton is also guilty of blurring the lines between victims and aggressors, a fault that Mr. Stavrou seems to share. He says, "The Serbs have been ethnically cleansed by yesterday's 'victims,' " making it seem as if the majority of victims are Serbs. It was the Albanians who suffered apartheidlike conditions under the jackboot of the Serb police state for 10 years, followed by brutal ethnic cleansing and destruction of some 400 villages while the West looked the other way.

Mr. Stavrou goes on to insult the human rights community (referring to it as the "human rights industry") to justify his regard for the crimes against humanity committed by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's thugs since 1991 as "a myth currently perpetrated by the 'mainstream' Western media." Yet, he is quick to support the popular myth concerning the corruption of the Kosovar Liberation Army (KLA), stating, "The Albanians take the prize as poster boys for post-Cold war Balkan capitalism." This is pure Serbian propaganda. That some members of the KLA have resorted to illegal means to fund their movement for Kosovar independence is sad, but to malign the entire organization is a gross exaggeration. The corruption of the Albanians or any other people in the Balkans pales when compared with the kleptocracy that emanates from the fascist state in Belgrade.

While the Albanians' destruction of religious sites is to be condemned, it is one thing for individuals to vandalize such sites, and quite another for a state to go after historical sites in an organized way, which the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has done in both Bosnia (more than 1,100 ancient mosques razed) and in Kosovo.

As for "Western tutoring" of the KLA, the goal of the Clinton administration and other Western governments has been to neutralize the KLA. Robert Gelbard, special envoy to Kosovo, referred to the KLA as terrorists. NATO bombed an important KLA position during the 1999 campaign and has raided KLA arms warehouses in Kosovo. Mr. Stavrou makes it sound as if the United States and other Western nations support Kosovar independence. They do not, nor have they supported independence for Montenegro.



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