- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 1, 2003

Real economic reforms

Wednesday’s editorial, “Bush and the economy,” made some good points, especially concerning the weakening of the dollar. However, it also was a bit misleading.

I visited the Congressional Budget Office’s Web site and looked at federal government revenues since 1948. The revenues only went down after the Reagan tax cut in 1982 and the Bush tax cut in 2001. I also went to the Department of Labor’s Web site and looked at the employment trends. Since 1948, the number of employed persons has risen steadily overall without regard to fiscal policy or economic health. Of course, this means every president can claim his policies have increased jobs.

Under this current administration, we will have the largest debt vis-a-vis gross domestic product in history. Although the editorial calls it manageable, in the long term it could be disastrous.

Measures we could take to offset the debt include doing away with the marriage penalty, refraining from “borrowing” from the Social Security surplus, removing the ceiling for Social Security payroll deductions, reducing the amount of FICA from each income earner and possibly reducing or eliminating the employer FICA matching contribution.

Such measures would help us pay down the debt, fix Social Security and Medicare and help the owners of small businesses.

BILL DAVIS

Santa Maria, Calif.

The ominous implications of cloning

Apparently bored with seeking cures for diseases, a band of academic researchers in Idaho found the time and money to create and deliver the world’s first cloned mule (“Researchers clone racing mule’s brother,” Nation, Friday).

Thanks to an Idaho businessman who ponied up $400,000 to help University of Idaho researchers cook a clone, they expect to pull off a trifecta — two other mule clones await birth — from breeding a mule fetus and transplanting its DNA into a horse’s egg. More than 300 attempts at a live birth resulted in hundreds of dead and deformed embryos and just three full-term pregnancies. The exultant owners of the cloned mule named him Idaho Gem and they hope it will replicate the DNA donor’s racing success.

Most of us couldn’t care less about a cloned mule, but we should care about the implications that animal cloning raises for human cloning. The same process used to clone Idaho Gem applies to cloning human beings, whether the goal is research or reproduction. (The same or even a higher rate of deaths and deformities applies, as well.) Significantly, the same menacing elements of control, ownership and predeterminism also apply to human cloning.

Animal cloning should prompt us to make these comparisons and ask important questions. Do we want to create an ethical climate that allows entrepreneurs and researchers to treat human beings as mere property for dissection, replication or eugenics? Is creating and killing living human embryos for research a measure of scientific progress or regress? Can we countenance a future in which social engineers pressure parents to create faster, stronger, smarter progeny?

Most of us can’t even successfully pre-set our VCRs, much less wisely predetermine our descendants’ destinies. Yet, unbridled scientists are already eyeing human germ-line genetic engineering, horsing around with human-animal chimeras and racing to clone human embryos. Unless we ban such lethal and devaluing human experimentation now, it won’t be long before some rogue scientists make asses of us all.

JONATHAN IMBODY

Senior policy analyst

Christian Medical Association

Washington Bureau

Springfield

Class warfare and tax cuts

As the tax-reduction legislation conceived by President Bush has been signed into law (“Bush signs his 2nd big tax cut,” Page 1, Thursday), many of our “liberal friends” are doing a wonderful job of fomenting class warfare as they paint the plan as a giveaway to the wealthy and the death knell for low-income workers who will not be beneficiaries of the plan — or so they say.

Let us consider the facts. First, low-income families pay little or no federal income tax. Additionally, many are eligible for thousands of dollars from the government through the Earned Income Tax Credit, a government payment that supplements their earnings and essentially rewards them for having children.

This surely will come as a shock to liberal tax-and-spenders, but the bulk of tax reduction typically and rightfully goes to those who pay the taxes. Today, and throughout American history, the vast majority of the tax burden has fallen on those with higher incomes, whom the liberal element consistently seeks to punish for their success and ingenuity.

If those bemoaning the plight of low-income families believe this is the time for a vast expansion in federal welfare programs, they should say so, rather than complain that such families, currently benefiting mightily from government largess, are coming away empty-handed from the tax-reduction law.

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

Driver’s licenses and the veil

So, a Muslim woman, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (surprise), is suing Florida for the “right” to have her driver’s license photo taken while covering her face with religious garb, as discussed in Diana West’s column (“Unveiling the license to drive.” Op-Ed, Friday). Her claim, apparently, is that to deny her this request would amount to religious discrimination.Actually, the opposite is true.

If she is granted her request, she would not be the victim of religion-based discrimination. Rather, she would be the recipient of religion-based privilege. She must be treated the same, not according to different standards. If a man painted his face or wore a Nixon mask for a Department of Motor Vehicles photo, regardless of his reasons, he would be forced to either remove it or pass up getting a license.

She has every right, as we all do, to obtain a driver’s license. That does not mean, however, that she automatically qualifies for one. She must be of age, not be blind or deaf, not have epilepsy, etc. She also must present a photo ID to police when asked. If she fails to meet the requirements, she cannot obtain the license.

She can pursue becoming a doctor, too, but she cannot demand a medical license unless and until she completes the course of study, tests, medical boards, internships, residencies and all other things a doctor must do. If she has religious objections to being around blood or naked people, she cannot be a doctor.

Any voluntary pursuit, by definition, is not compelled behavior. Florida is not forcing her to violate her religion; she does not have to obtain a driver’s license any more than she must obtain a medical degree. But if she wishes to do either, there are requirements she must meet. If the requirements involve something she cannot abide — for whatever reason — she should not volunteer for it.

JACK WEBB

Springfield

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