- The Washington Times - Friday, December 19, 2003

Global economic realities

I have read several of Alan Reynolds’ commentaries on the subject of manufacturing capabilities in the United States. They seem to rely on the gross domestic product (GDP) calculation (“Deflating inflation,” Commentary, Dec. 7). Mr. Reynolds refers to these calculations as fact.

It is interesting to note that current GDP values are good, and yet there remains a very poor unemployment figure and an extremely high export-payments deficit. It seems to me that either the GDP calculation does not include factors to account for offshore labor usage (such as offshore outsourcing) and the use of offshore goods and materials, or GDP is the wrong measurement to use.

In addition to reformulating the GDP calculation, it may be helpful to examine and revise other calculations, used unchanged for decades, to ensure that they reflect the new global reality.

LAWRENCE F. DURFEE

Washington, N.J.

Malvo deserves the death penalty

With the murder conviction of sniper Lee Boyd Malvo and the rejection of his idiotic insanity defense, the first step in the justice system has successfully run its course (“Jury convicts Malvo of capital murder,” Page 1, Friday).

The key question now is what society is to do with a brutal, ruthless, cold-blooded killer who has boasted about his atrocities.

I contend that there is only one appropriate penalty: the swift imposition of capital punishment.

Malvo and his co-conspirator, although human in form, are not human in all of the ways that matter to civilized citizens of our world. They are beasts who are incapable of redemption and undeserving of an opportunity to achieve it.

Society and the families of those ruthlessly gunned down demand and deserve nothing less than the removal from our presence of an individual whose existence diminishes us.

If the Malvo murders do not merit death, what crime spree would?

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper St. Clair, Pa.

Out of a hole

Rep. Jim McDermott went to a radio station to say probably one of the most stupid things we’ll hear this week: that Saddam Hussein could have been captured “a long time ago if they wanted” (“Saddam capture staged, McDermott charges,” Page 1, Wednesday). Mr. McDermott also said President Bush should be expected to provide names, dates, maps and anything else he has to support his claim that “they’ve been in contact with people all along who knew basically where [Hussein] was.”

I think the most Mr. Bush knew about Saddam’s location was that it probably was a hole in the ground somewhere in Iraq. I remember him saying as much several weeks ago. Though the hole more resembled a septic tank, the president was right.

Hussein looked it, too. The video of him being checked for cooties reminded me of P.G. Wodehouse’s description of one of his characters looking like a parrot that had been pulled backward through a hedge.

He would have been a sympathetic figure to anyone had we not known who he was and some of the things he has done.

However, that’s not stopping some people who, by insisting that he be treated humanely, seem to be suggesting that he wouldn’t be without their show of concern. They agree that he should be tried for some of the most horrible crimes imaginable, but not by someone who might give him a death sentence.

I want him to receive proper treatment, too, but he should receive no more or less than any other prisoner of war. None of the dapper ensembles he favors, no Cuban cigars and no gazelle for lunch. He already has begun to complain that he is not receiving the proper regard for so important a world leader.

He should be reminded that though his daughters claimed that he would fight to the end “like a tiger,” he gave up like a punk.

He crawled out of his hole announcing that he was the “president of Iraq,” because he actually feels that even while on trial (on the world stage) he can prove himself to be still the most important Muslim in the world.

WILLIAM RICHARDSON

Virginia Beach

Staying true to the mission

In Tuesday’s editorial “Winning on abortion,” The Washington Times argues that the support of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) for the Medicare bill went outside our mission.

However, since its inception, NRLC has been as committed to protecting human life from euthanasia as from abortion. We have long emphasized that involuntary denial of lifesaving treatment through government-imposed rationing is a form of euthanasia. For that reason, in 1993-94, we vigorously opposed the premium price controls of the Clinton National Health Security Plan. For that reason, since at least 1995, NRLC has worked hard to revise Medicare so older Americans have the right to add their funds to the government’s contribution in order to obtain health insurance that is not subject to premium price controls, in order to avoid rationing.

In 1997, NRLC successfully lobbied for the inclusion of a private fee-for-service (PFFS) option in Medicare, which allowed the legal option of obtaining a traditional private indemnity plan free of premium price controls, with the premium differential being made up by the recipient.

The new Medicare act greatly expanded this option by clarifying that this PFFS option can include plans that use networks and reimburse at differing rates in and out of network. Those who choose a PFFS plan also will have the option of choosing a prescription drug plan without premium price controls, again making up the premium difference with their own funds in order to avoid rationing.

In addition, the Medicare act greatly expanded the Health Savings Account option for both the Medicare and non-Medicare populations, another step away from rationing.

Your editorial stated that NRLC’s “effort on behalf of the prescription-drug bill was clearly motivated by the NRLC’s transactional relationship with the Bush administration.” That statement was false. NRLC is very appreciative of President Bush’s pro-life commitment and actions. However, the administration never asked NRLC to support the Medicare reform act, and our decision to do so was made independent of any outside influence.

It was because of NRLC’s opposition to health care rationing, a position at the core of the pro-life movement’s commitment to the right to life of older people and people with disabilities, that NRLC supported the Medicare act.

DAVID N. O’STEEN

Executive director

National Right to Life Committee Inc.

Washington

America and national security

In regard to Thursday’s editorial, “Who’s the fool?”: There are a lot of us conservatives who have been listening to the hand-wringers bashing President Bush and coming up with conspiracy theories that just make them look stupid. And we keep hearing, over and over, “Internationalize.”

Liberals think the impotent United Nations should decide our security when they can’t even save themselves. Many U.N. member nations are ruled by dictators. These diplomats have these cushy jobs at the United Nations because they know someone in the government. They can’t make any decisions, yet the liberals think they should make all the decisions on war. As the editorial says, many of these countries admire us because of our morality and decisiveness.

WILLA MILLER

Huntington Beach, Calif.


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