- The Washington Times - Friday, December 5, 2003

Just say no to sensationalism

The Nathaniel Jones case is simple (“Man’s death puts onus on Cincinnati police,” Nation, Tuesday). The facts surrounding this issue involve an assault on police officers — no more, no less, notwithstanding the man’s color or ethnicity. Had this incident involved a white man, this story never would have gone any further than a secondary byline on Page 5 of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

I have seen cops beat miscreants on Fox’s television show “Cops” to a much greater degree compared to the images that I have seen on this police cruiser tape, but there has been no great hue and cry from anyone about the “Cops” incidents.

Now this story has risen to national significance, given the media’s propensity to fuel and fan the fires of discontent when the issue involves race in the United States. Sadly, the black community is in an uproar, and Cincinnati is dangling on the precipice of immediate social upheaval. We should not be in this situation.

The problem is that the Cincinnati cops had a 400-pound man loaded up with cocaine and PCP coming at them with the fury and might of an out-of-control behemoth. The blows from police nightsticks were not what killed this man. What killed him was the presence of drugs throughout his system.

Collateral with this physical condition, Mr. Jones’ defective heart was unable to support his large body during the stress and violence that he brought on through his combative actions against these officers. These policemen were entirely justified to defend themselves from this man, who was in such an agitated state that it took six adult men to bring him under control. What were the cops to do, allow this guy to beat them in the name and spirit of political correctness?

In the meantime, media, just let Cincinnati work out this problem for itself. Since September 11, racial relations in the United States have improved dramatically — the level of discord among the various elements on both sides has been substantially reduced. There is no reason to re-ignite these racial tensions in our society — the way many news outlets all over the nation have — especially three weeks before Christmas, merely for the sake of bombastic journalism.

EARL BEAL

Terre Haute, Ind.

Addressing U.S. trade flaws

In “Bush rescinds steel tariffs” (Page 1, yesterday), President Bush declared, “These safeguard measures have now achieved their purpose and as a result of changed economic circumstances, it is time to lift them.” The reality is that while the temporary steel tariffs have helped the steel industry temporarily, the root causes prompting them remain.

Our trading partners continue to provide huge government subsidies to their steel industries.

Our biggest Asian trading partners (China and Japan) continue to artificially manipulate their currencies, giving them an unfair advantage. Excess worldwide steel-making capacity continues.

U.S. trade deficits continue skyward, leaving living-wage American jobs in their wake.

Our trading partners refuse to remove trade barriers erected to keep out American products.

Going forward, our steel industry has a new problem with which to contend — namely, ineffective U.S. trade law. With the World Trade Organization ruling that our safeguard action violated its rules, Congress needs to enact new trade laws compatible with WTO rules and effective in preventing the kind of widespread dumping that occurred with steel.

Perhaps worst of all for the U.S. steel industry, however, is the continuing exodus of its customer base to cheap labor markets such as China. The Ford Motor Co. announced this week that it will produce $1 billion of auto parts in China next year. Steel-consuming industries in Michigan didn’t like the steel tariffs; I wonder what they think of Ford’s decision.

The article also quoted Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers of America. Referring to Mr. Bush’s decision, he was quoted as saying, “His unwillingness to defend U.S. trade laws is an affront to all American workers.” I would call Mr. Gerard’s attention to the fact that Mr. Bush actually did something to help the steel industry. Bill Clinton, endorsed and supported by the USW, did nothing, and the problems facing steel were widespread during Mr. Clinton’s two terms in the White House.

Will the USW’s choice for president in 2004, Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, do something to help the steel industry, or will he simply attack Mr. Bush for not doing enough? After all, Mr. Gephardt is a legislator, so why doesn’t he sponsor new trade legislation that will withstand WTO oversight and give the next president, perhaps himself, the tools to deal with illegally dumped steel?

Finally, the most absurd comment quoted in the article came from Tom Schatz, president of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste. Referring to the tariffs, he said: “They were imposed at a high cost to consumers and taxpayers. The only benefit to the U.S. economy… was the approximately $650 million collected in tariff ‘revenues’ from U.S. consumers.”

I would like to call Mr. Schatz’s attention to the costs of the illegal dumping that prompted the tariffs:

• Hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tax revenues caused by $5 billion in steel-company losses in the 24 months leading up to the tariffs; companies without income don’t pay income taxes.

• $7 billion of bankrupt-steel-company pension benefits transferred to the taxpayer-funded Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

• Lost payroll taxes from laid-off or terminated steelworkers.

• Unemployment benefits paid (from taxpayer funds) to laid-off steelworkers.

I guess math is not Mr. Schatz’s forte.

Though I am disappointed that Mr. Bush ended the steel tariffs early, I understand that he had little choice, given the WTO ruling and threatened retaliation. The real test will come with follow-up action by the president and Congress to address the weaknesses in U.S. trade law.

RICHARD W. RESSLER

North Olmsted, Ohio

Three’s a crowd?

In Wednesday’s Commentary column “Party lines and political designs,” Bruce Bartlett writes about the kinds of policies he favors and how best to get them implemented within the two-party system we have in the United States.

He describes his views as libertarian and says the Republican Party usually better reflects those views than the Democratic Party. He recognizes that it is virtually impossible for any third party to get the necessary majority of electoral votes to win a presidential election. He then goes on to decry how the Republicans are rampantly looting the Treasury, which they can do because they control both the executive and legislative branches. He concludes by implicitly endorsing the Democratic candidate for president (or Democratic gains in Congress) because gridlock is better than this rampant spendfest, even though the Republican Party best reflects his libertarian-type views.

I can relate to all of these feelings because I support libertarian-type policies and am myself revolted by the current level of Republican-led spending. My question for Mr. Bartlett is: If you want to end the exorbitant spending and bring back gridlock so badly that you would rather see a Democrat win the presidency, why not cast your vote for Gary Nolan, the Libertarian Party candidate? This would accomplish the additional goal of sending a message to the Republican Party that you prefer these freedom-loving types of policies.

KEVIN REARDEN

Herndon


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