- The Washington Times - Monday, January 21, 2002

Most see heroes, not skin color

For most Americans, the photograph of three New York firefighters raising the flag over ground zero evoked strong emotions of pride, grief, and a tremendous sense of national unity. More than 300 firefighters died. The color of their skin didn't matter.

To people like Commentary columnist Clarence Page, however, it matters very much. He states that when he sees the "white faces" on the Iwo Jima memorial (one of the men is actually American Indian), he is reminded of how far we've come ("Diversity flap rising from the ashes," Jan. 19). If that's what he sees, Mr. Page is a reminder of how far some people have to go.

Fortunately most Americans don't see race, religion or ethnic origin when they look at the Iwo Jima statue. They see the image of six brave young Americans (three of whom died in action) chosen to represent many thousands who fought and died. The fact that the images on the statue depict real men gives the monument a power that "representative" models could never achieve.

Mr. Page may view the world through the prism of race, but most of America don't need to check skin color to recognize heroism.


Woodbridge, Va.

In his Jan. 19 Commentary piece, Clarence Page wrote: "The white faces on that re-creation of the flag-raising at Iwo Jima have always reminded some of us of how far we Americans have come from the segregated military of those days." I believe that one of those Marine flag-raisers was a Pima Indian from Arizona named Ira A. Hayes. If Mr. Page had been interested in historical accuracy and truth, he could have quite easily verified this information for his nationally syndicated article.


Jacksonville, Fla.

End corporate income taxes

If Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle really wants to end this recession, he should stop listening to those Keynesian voices in his head and open himself up to the voices of modern economists instead. America must eliminate corporate income taxes.

The corporate income tax is double taxation, and therefore both unjust and counterproductive. So, it shouldn't just be reduced, retooled or recalculated. It should be ended.

Every company's revenue is divvied up to pay for operating costs, employee salaries, payments to vendors, dividends to owners/shareholders and investments in new equipment, inventory or ventures. All of these distributions result in economic growth both in the business sector and the consumer sector and all the final recipients pay taxes themselves.

The greater the tax bite on the company, the less capital remains for their employees, stockholders, vendors and owners, all of whom would pay more in their own taxes if only they had received the additional share of profit that instead was snatched by the U.S. government.

The corporate income tax therefore reduces our nation's salary, dividends and investment pools, cutting into our collective standard of living, our economic growth and, by extension, every level of government's bottom-line tax revenues as well. Eliminating this huge double tax bite would take many companies that are merely breaking even and turn them toward real profitability. This would surely create an immediate and sustained economic boom.

Democrats claim that if you cut business taxes, businesses won't spend this windfall the right way. But that's exactly where they are farthest off the mark: The beauty of capitalism is that in the long run, it doesn't matter exactly how the private sector uses its profits. As long as the profits are there to be distributed, virtually any allocation will benefit the economy.

Whether another third or so winds up in paychecks to employees, as bonuses to management or as orders to vendors, it's still cash that stays in the private sector for one more trip. The important thing in capitalism is to keep money circulating as often as possible in the private sector before it has to be cycled through the government. No matter how any of the recipients spend it (groceries, entertainment, luxuries, expansion, real estate, inventory, cars, whatever), it's going to create jobs and produce more tax revenue in the end, because these are all purchases that otherwise would not have occurred.

Why on earth does the left hang on to so counterproductive a tax? Why do they resist every attempt by Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill to even open a dialogue about it? Why do they refuse to even consider the surest way toward recovery?

Could it be that with the White House in Republican hands, congressional Democrats are more strategically inclined to prolong the recession than to cooperate in ending it?


Lake Zurich, Ill.

Being profiled is never just an inconvenience

Mona Charen's Jan. 16 Commentary piece "Better to be profiled" asks whether we are "strong enough to risk being called names" after September 11. As our client, the Secret Service agent barred from flying on American Airlines on Dec. 25, has demonstrated by speaking out against discrimination, yes, we are strong enough.

It's important to get a few facts straight. This agent is not disputing the pilot's decision to verify his credentials. Remember, he's an Arab-American man who carries a weapon every day. He's been receiving lots of additional scrutiny since September 11. He may not like it, but he puts up with it.

In the agent's view, this incident was different because after the initial, perhaps understandable, decision to take a closer look at him, the pilot ignored every indication that this agent was legitimate. He ignored the agent's badge and credentials, which were verified by several law enforcement officers on the scene. He ignored the agent's government-issued ticket. He refused to call the tamper-proof phone numbers available to verify the agent's identity. Instead, the pilot vetoed the law enforcement officers' verification and refused to follow his own corporate security office's suggestions for verifying the agent's identity.

Ignoring the facts because of stubborn adherence to a stereotype is bad security and the worst type of discrimination.

Nor, contrary to Ms. Charen's uninformed opinion, does this discrimination make us safer. Terrorism and security experts will tell you that a security profile that relies on race or ethnic appearance casts way too wide a net and distracts attention from far more predictive factors, like travel patterns and behavior. Simply put, racial profiling, particularly when practiced by airline employees with no law enforcement training, isn't safe.

Arab Americans and those who "appear to be Arab" whatever that means daily are being discriminated against far beyond the requirements of any rational security system. We've fielded calls from American citizens of Arab, Hispanic and Asian descent who were not allowed to travel solely because flight attendants, pilots or passengers were "uncomfortable" having them onboard; from passengers moved to seats in the back of the plane because of their Arab appearance; even from the mother of a 5-year-old boy who twice has been pulled aside for extra scrutiny because of his Muslim name.

Some say that being subjected to discrimination on the basis of one's skin color is an "inconvenience" that (other) people should be willing to put up with. This agent has come forward to say that's just not the American way. Whether it's being asked to stand at the back of the bus or being told to come back and fly another day with a pilot who's more "comfortable" with you, being treated poorly because of the color of your skin is never just an "inconvenience."



Relman & Associates


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