- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2001

Cut the capital gains tax

We're hearing whispers around Washington about the potential benefits of cutting the capital-gains tax. It's time these whispers turned into a roar.
When I spoke to Empower America back in May, I said that we must cut the capital-gains tax sooner rather than later. Nothing else we could do nothing else will give our economy a bigger boost or a faster jump-start. Cutting the capital-gains tax would boost our revenues not lower them because investors would sell more assets rather than hold onto them to avoid paying higher tax rates on their gains. It's a win-win proposition for investors, for our treasury and for our economy.
But we shouldn't stop there. The holding period for capital gains should be done away with altogether. It is unfair to force Americans to sell assets or to prevent them from selling because of some arbitrary deadline. Eliminating the holding period would let the market work like it is supposed to. It would also help simplify our ridiculously complicated tax laws.
These are the reasons I have introduced a bill to cut the long-term capital-gains tax rate to 15 percent for individuals, and to reduce the capital-gains holding period from one year to one month for individuals and corporations. This is not as much as we need to do, but it is a start.
Keep in mind that today's investors are not just the wealthy. They include the millions of Americans who own stock, and the millions more who own homes and other assets. They are our parents, our children, our neighbors and our co-workers. Cutting the capital-gains tax helps average American families buy houses, send children to college and save for their retirement. These investors deserve much more than a whisper.

SEN. ZELL MILLER
Washington

Self-interested reparations won't help the nation

Although I am an avid supporter of reparations to descendants of slaves within the United States and abroad, I feel that the Rev. Jesse Jackson is only using this issue as an opportunity to gain political power after his recently revealed scandals ("Jackson to make reparations for blacks in U.S. a priority," Nation, Sept. 7).
Where was the Mr. Jackson when Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan and Randall Robinson were addressing these issues? Mr. Jackson is full of hot air, and I take exception to his using this issue as a means for personal gain and self-gratification. His involvement will only hurt the overall cause. I'm sure if, as a black man, I can recognize this, then many other blacks and whites alike see it as well. If Mr. Jackson truly were to live up to his past and present proclamations of being a civil rights leader within and outside of the black community, then he would have come to the realization years ago that the effects of slavery on black communities make reparations payments necessary, as was the case with Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, Randall Robinson and many other true black civil-rights leaders.
In my opinion, Mr. Jackson is a disgrace to his own people. He is a vulture and an opportunist. This "man" needs to sit down, shut his mouth and work on cleaning up his own act before he attempts to clean up America.

JONATHAN R. BURRS
Baltimore

Immigrant amnesty would cost taxpayers a bundle

Your Sept. 6 front-page article "Policy on illegal aliens could cost taxpayers $30 billion" points out that blanket amnesty isn't just unfair to legal immigrants, but is also unfair to the American taxpayers who are facing an already stressed economy.
Mexican President Vicente Fox faces a real challenge in ridding his country of the rampant corruption and poverty that he inherited, but amnesty will not make his country's problems disappear. Expecting the American taxpayers to foot a $30 billion bill is too much to ask, especially during a time of economic uncertainty in this country.
The article points out that research has found "illegal Mexican immigrants are 67 percent more likely to use major welfare programs compared to U.S.-born families." In effect, Mr. Fox's request to grant blanket amnesty is handing the United States a $30 billion tab.
As an immigrant, I can testify that the spirit of America's immigration policy is not intended as a way to cure another country's economic ills, but to afford individuals from all over the world the chance to seek a better life by coming here legally.

MAURO E. MUJICA
Chairman, CEO
U.S. English
WashingtonThe Washington Times reveals a gigantic taxpayer subsidy for the cheap labor lobby in your report "Policy on illegal aliens could cost taxpayers $30 billion."
A continuing flood of cheap, exploitable foreign labor cuts costs for some employers, but increases costs for the taxpayers who provide more in services than the immigrants pay in taxes. Even illegal immigrants can get free medical care at emergency rooms, free schooling for their children and many other handouts from the taxpayers. If illegal immigrants become legal residents, they will be eligible for the full menu of welfare handouts from all levels of government.
A study by Donald Huddle of Rice University revealed that immigration costs us around $70 billion a year, net after deducting any taxes the immigrants pay. That amount increases every year as the number of uneducated, unskilled and needy immigrants increases.
The depression of American wages is a major impact of immigration. When employers complain that they can't hire Americans to fill their jobs, what they won't say is that they can't hire Americans at wages as low as they want to pay.

THOMAS P. MCKENNA
Montpelier, Vt.

Call to engage Cuba not betrayal of traditional conservatism

With all due respect to my old friend William Rusher, I am one traditionalist conservative who strongly disagrees with his implication that the Cato Institute's criticisms of the Helms-Burton Act are simply the views of "wildly undependable" libertarians engaged in "betrayals of human liberty" ("Blurred foreign policy vision?" Commentary, Sept. 6).
There are numerous Republicans in Congress, most of whom are traditional conservatives, who have concluded that the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and the Helms-Burton Act are totally ineffective or, worse, extremely counterproductive in bringing freedom and democracy to the Cuban people. Traditional conservatives such as former senator and current Attorney General John Ashcroft are among the more than 140 Republican members of Congress who in recent years have voted to weaken the embargo, lift the travel ban on Americans visiting Cuba or call for a new policy toward Cuba that makes sense in the post-Cold War era.
Mr. Rusher should remember that the United States did not have a trade or travel embargo with Cuba's former patron, the Soviet Union. We even granted most-favored-nation trade status to the Ceaucescu dictatorship in Romania. Did this engagement prevent the "evil empire" from dissolving or Romania's ruthless dictator from being executed? No, of course not. Yet we continue the outdated 40-year-old embargo with Cuba, and guess what Castro is still very much in control. After 40 years of failure, perhaps we should give engagement with Cuba a chance.

GARY L. JARMIN
Chairman
U.S.-Cuba Foundation
Alexandria


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