The numbers game
Your June 20 editorial “The truth about the deficit,” faulting the Democratic House Budget Committee staff estimates of likely future deficits misses the point.
From 2001 to 2002, this administration and Congress have enacted, with associated debt-service cost, $2.2 trillion of tax cuts. The cost for eliminating the artificial expirations of the provisions of the enacted tax cuts and repairing the impact of the enacted tax cuts on the individual alternative minimum tax cut (AMT) is another $1.5 trillion once debt-service costs are added. This totals $3.7 trillion. Our estimate of the likely budget deficits over that same period, including the effect of those tax cuts, is $3.6 trillion. To sum up, that’s $3.7 trillion of tax cuts, $3.6 trillion of deficits.
However, beyond the arithmetic interpretation is the issue of stewardship and prudence. We warned two years ago that the anticipated budget surpluses were just projections. I said on the floor of the House in debating the budget, “I hope that these blue-sky projections [of] some $5.6 trillion in surpluses over the next 10 years will materialize. It will be a great bounty for all of us. But if they do not and if we pass this resolution, we can find ourselves right back in the red again in the blink of an economist’s eye.” Indeed, the Clinton administration dictated that before we deployed the projected surpluses for more immediately gratifying policies, we “save Social Security first.” Instead, we leave our children and our grandchildren with budget deficits, public debt and “debt tax” — the interest payments on that debt — that will, if our estimates prove right, grow faster than our economy.
The administration and the congressional Republicans fail to recognize the consequences of their actions. Instead of being chastened by deficits, Republicans are pushing ahead with new and larger tax cuts.
REP. JOHN M. SPRATT JR.
U.S. House of Representatives
D.C. residents’ voting rights
Your Tuesday “Home misrule” editorial, which argues against affording D.C. residents the democratic rights enjoyed by other U.S. citizens, misrepresents the argument behind changing the borders of the constitutionally mandated federal enclave. Contrary to what the editorial states, the purpose of altering the borders would not be to carve out an ill-defined territory with a single representative in Congress. If an act of Congress (passed by simple majority) shrank the federal enclave to encompass the White House, Capitol, Mall and other federal properties, it would free up the rest of the District to decide its own political status. D.C. residents could, by democratic vote, choose statehood (with a full complement of voting seats in the House and Senate), retrocession to another state, or some other option. There’s even precedent for changing the borders: Congress carved out Alexandria and handed it to Virginia in 1846.
This is the argument that George S. LaRoche, attorney for the “20 Citizens” lawsuit (Adams v. Clinton, later Adams v. Bush), laid out before a District court and then the Supreme Court, in defense of full citizenship for D.C. residents. Mr. LaRoche’s arguments apparently were so irrefutable that both courts declined to comment on them and restricted their remarks to the Alexander v. Daley suit, which sought voting representation rather than democratic self-determination. Because of the courts’ silence on 20 Citizens, an enterprising attorney may someday reargue the case made by Mr. LaRoche, who died at the age of 47 on May 31 and should be honored as a D.C. hero.
D.C. Statehood Green Party
Maligning conservatives while blessing homosexuality
Your article “Episcopal bishop presses for same-sex ‘marriage,’” (Nation, Monday) reported that Bishop John Chane of the Diocese of Washington predicted that Episcopalians would elect their first openly homosexual bishop at the national convention next month. Bishop Chane is quoted as saying: “For those who say our theology is thin, I would respond to that and say, ‘Your faith is thin and your fear is thick.’” At an evening prayer service June 22 at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Glenn Dale, Mr. Chane then took aim at conservatives, declaring that if conservatives protest, so be it.
For those who claim conservatives’ theology is thin, we would respond: Your faith is thin, and your fear is thick. Bishop Chane is right about the fear. We are afraid for our church. As far as being “thin of faith,” we are confused. Does he mean that if you do not believe as he believes your faith is weak? Or does he mean that God declares that this change in theology, undoing the Old and New Testament teachings, is the “new world order” for religion, and so, unless we believe that God has revoked his own teachings and word, our faith is “thin”?
Does God declare this change, or do Bishop Chane and his affiliates declare this change in theology for the entire flock of Christ? Bishop Chane and integrity apparently engaged in a dialogue and decided for the entire diocese that homosexual marriage should be blessed by the church.
The evening service at St. George’s Episcopal Church was well-advertised as an evening of prayer for Claiming the Blessing Coalition and approval of new rites for blessing homosexual unions within the Episcopal Church. As reported, 60 people — just 60 — showed up. For that small number of people, this whole diocese of 40,000 is to change its way of viewing the word of God?
Perhaps just 60 showed up because they are so confident that the vote will go the way they want it to go. After all, TV and movies as well as the educational forces in this nation have been brainwashing our children and young people to accept homosexuality as a form of sexual behavior equally acceptable as heterosexuality. This has generated the push for blessings, and then the push will be for formal marriage.
Our form for ordination of a bishop in our Book of Common Prayer states on Page 513 that the nominee for bishop solemnly declares, “I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.” Bishop Chane took vows to that effect.
Perhaps it is the vows that he took, Page 518, swearing “to boldly proclaim and interpret the Gospel of Christ, enlightening the minds and stirring up the conscience of your people” that he feels give him the right to change the Word of God to suit the desires of the homosexual lobby and to ignore 2,000 years of Christian teaching.
Bishop Chane is selecting and revising the meaning of the word to suit his perceived spiritual and political agenda. He also may be selecting and revising the words of his ordination to suit that agenda. Bishop Chane chose not to consider the entire flock of Christ. He has chosen not to work for unity or to follow the disciplines of the church. He is not guarding the faith but trying to change it.
AND NANCY VIRTS