- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 7, 2001

Misguided advice for the new president

President-elect Bush must treat the advice given by Hugh B. Price in his Jan. 3, 2000 commentary, "Commandments for Bush," as well-meaning, but misguided suggestions if he wants to succeed as a president of all the people.

Mr. Price might be interested to know that there is already a system in place that addresses the social issues that concern him. It is called capitalism. It is fair, it is moral, and it is the most efficient way to create wealth which benefits all of society. But maybe he already knows this. After all how could the federal budget surplus that he covets be explained otherwise?

After reading Mr. Price's article, I visited the National Urban League (NUL) Web site. It states that the mission of the NUL is to enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity and power and civil rights. How does federal spending (and overtaxation, I might add) enable African Americans to become self-reliant? I think I may have some better "opportunities" for Mr. Bush to keep America moving forward.

1) Cut taxes, so that people will have more money to put toward whatever needs they have.

2) Get rid of the current third-party payment system that keep raising the cost of health care.

3) Ensure that every child has access to a quality education through the use of vouchers and that teachers are held accountable.

4) Rebuild our military to fight and win wars.

5) Establish a functional missile defense system.

6) Support policies that promote meaningful employment and economic growth in all communities.

7) Encourage the use and affordability of technology by not overegulating (and overtaxing) the industry.

8) Privatize Social Security so that all Americans can accumulate wealth, instead of paying into an outdated pyramid scheme that is now inverted.

9) Encourage OPEC to produce more oil, while taking steps to ensure American self-sufficiency in energy.

10) Make the presidency respectable again.

This is an agenda we can all use to measure the conduct and quality of government while we work toward the next round of elections.

NATHANIEL COATES

Washington

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Regarding "Commandments for Bush," letters Jan. 3, surely it is just a little bit strange for African Americans, who voted against President-elect Bush by better than a 9-to-1 margin, whose major civil rights organization, the NAACP, as much as accused Mr. Bush (without a peep of protest from a single black leader) of being a racist murderer, whose major leaders have called Mr. Bush a thief who stole the election in a (Jesse Jackson's term) coup d'etat; to now be demanding that Mr. Bush govern the nation as they command. Yet that is precisely what Hugh Price of the National Urban League has done on the pages of this newspaper. Mr. Price's "Ten Opportunity Commandments," as he calls them, no doubt would have found a more receptive audience had Al Gore won the election than they should receive from a Bush administration. This is because Mr. Price's "Commandments" uniformly prescribe agendas by which the massive federal leviathan can and, according to Mr. Price should, grow even more gargantuan using the budget surplus, of course. It seems not to have occurred to Mr. Price that the budget surplus does not belong to him or to federal bureaucrats to spend as they see fit; that the surplus was created by, and belongs to, the hard-working American citizens who paid the taxes that created it. Just perhaps, that money should be given back to the people who paid it, so that those people can create their own opportunity and their own success in whatever way that they rather than federal bureaucrats or Mr. Price see fit.

There is one proposal from Mr. Price with which all can agree: More voters in the next election who are educated about the issues and about the conduct of candidates for office. But that's a two-edged sword such educated voters are far less likely to be swayed by the sort of hate-filled racial demagoguery spewed out by the left in the past election.

KIM WEISSMAN

Longmeadow, Mass.

On board with mass transit

It seems we have been talking about mass transportation as the solution to reducing traffic congestion in the Washington area for eons. There have been some success stories, for example, the Metro subway system seems quite heavily used. However, the bus system seems woefully under utilized.

Why? I believe the reasons include unattractive fares, inconvenience, and inadequate public relations and information on how to use the bus system.

It is time to take serious steps to address these shortcomings. As for fares, I recommend diverting some of the millions of dollars spent on new roads to further subsidize the existing bus system. For example, charge 25 cents, or less, for a bus ride. The increased rider-ship generated, might just offset the fare decrease. As for convenience, I recommend greatly increasing the number of bus routes and frequency of bus trips per route, so that passengers can expect to wait no longer than 10 minutes for a bus (on most routes) and can expect to get reasonably close to most destinations.

Concerning PR and information on system use, I recommend an ongoing PR campaign promoting the benefits of public transportation from the perspectives of economic, environmental and quality of life benefits. Information on use of the system (fares, routes, schedules, etc.) should be everywhere, e.g. flyers mailed to households, posters for businesses and public spaces, bill boards, clear instructions at every bus stop, on the Web, etc. By these and similar actions, I believe we can see mass transit develop the level of ridership needed to make a significant reduction in private automobile traffic, and a significant and lasting change in peoples commuting habits.

PATRICK BURKE

Gaithersburg

Myths of the Middle East

The authors of three recent letters overlook some salient facts about the continuing Arab-Israeli impasse ("Comparing Palestinians to Nazis inappropriate" and "Palestinian refugees shouldn't be forgotten in hurried peace," Dec. 29).

n Israel occupies less than 20 percent of the territory allotted to it under the League of Nations British Palestinian Mandate designed for a Jewish homeland.

n During the era of the British Palestinian Mandate, Palestinian Arabs frequently massacred their Jewish neighbors, notably in Hebron.

n The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, frequent guest of Adolf Hitler, collaborated with the Third Reich in the Holocaust hoping to extend this catastrophe for the Jewish people to the Middle East and Palestine.

n Arab armies in conjunction with Palestinian Arabs invaded Israel after the U.N. declaration of that nation in 1948 attempting to destroy the country and exterminate its Jewish population.

n Arab countries after the 1948 war expelled nearly 1 million Arab Jews without any possessions, refugees willingly accepted by the impoverished Jewish state, exceeding the number of Palestinian Arabs who left Israel expecting to return to a Judenfrei Arab nation.

n Arab neighbors, despite being responsible partially for the plight of their Arab brethren, refused to welcome them into their society.

n Israeli and Palestinian Arabs prior to the Intifada had a per capita income of $2,300, more than twice that of neighboring Arab nations with the exception of oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

It is time that the Arab countries accept their complicity in repeated efforts to exterminate Israel and deal with the Arab refugee problem that they caused, balancing it against their expulsion of 1 million Arab Jews from their own lands.

NELSON MARANS

Silver Spring


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