- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Twisted facts

The misnamed Center for Consumer Freedom has twisted the facts (“A medical masquerade,” Letters, Friday). The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s president writes a superb column on health issues for our members’ newsletter. But more than 800,000 people in all walks of life support our work to expose and end animal abuse in the food, experimentation, clothing and entertainment industries.

PETA’s recently released video of workers at a West Virginia chicken slaughterhouse shows better than I can explain on this page why PETA exists. Our undercover investigator saw slaughterhouse employees throw live chickens against a wall, stomp on them, rip their heads off and write on the wall with their blood, all apparently just for fun.

After your readers visit kentuckyfriedcruelty.com to see this horrifying video, I invite them to see consumerdeception.com to find out the truth about the Center for Consumer Freedom, which is a paid mouthpiece for KFC and other meat, logging and tobacco conglomerates.

KATHY GUILLERMO

Correspondent

People for the Ethical Treatment

of Animals

Norfolk.

A taxing argument

Bruce Bartlett calls Rep. John Linder, Georgia Republican, deceptive in his column “The Speaker… and the tax dragon,” (Commentary, Monday). Then he proceeds to deceptively describe the tenets of the Fair Tax Act.

First, he states that the 23 percent proposed federal sales tax rate is low and that at least a 30 percent rate would be required. He neglects to inform you that the 23 percent rate is an inclusive rate, just as the rates of income taxation collected by the Internal Revenue Service are. He also fails to make clear that the 30 percent rate is an exclusive rate that is equivalent to a 23 percent inclusive rate.

Nor does Mr. Bartlett adequately address the concept of hidden taxes we currently experience. Although he tries to make the case that costs would increase by about 30 percent should the act pass, the cost to the consumer would actually be about the same. We pay a premium of 20 to 35 percent (inclusive) for each new product or service we purchase today because of income-tax costs that companies pass along. Ridding ourselves of the income-tax code would lower these costs by that amount. Then you would add on the national retail sales tax. The cost of the new product or service is not much different than it was before.

Mr. Bartlett does not adequately address your situation after the fair tax is passed. You would receive a paycheck without deductions for withheld federal income tax. Plus, you’d get a monthly stipend from the government to offset the sales tax you pay on necessary items. You’d pay no federal sales tax on used items.

Mr. Bartlett’s demagoguery on health care and the purchase of real estate is ludicrous considering that we’d rid ourselves of the hidden taxes. In addition, he is misleading about what is included in the act. For instance, there is no provision for “imputed rent homeowners pay themselves for living in their own homes.” Nor is there any logic to his reasoning that parents would pay taxes on education their children receive from local public schools.

Given the misinformation being put out by the likes of Mr. Bartlett, it would behoove us all to find out the truth for ourselves. Go to www.fairtax.org or call 800/FAIRTAX to find out the truth. Be prepared to spend some time learning. There are many studies Mr. Bartlett fails to mention.

ALDEN H. OSE

Arlington

In his column, Bruce Bartlett analyzes the problems with the national retail sales tax as proposed by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican. Unfortunately, Mr. Bartlett did not address the one issue that has not been discussed in any of the analyses of the umpteen previous sales-tax proposals.

Beyond an unsupported assertion that the sales tax will put a stake through the heart of the Internal Revenue Service, nobody ever talks about administration and enforcement of the proposed tax. During my misspent youth, I served a term as a state sales-tax auditor. In another period, I ran a small retail business. Based on these experiences, I am confident that a national sales tax would guarantee a bigger, more powerful IRS in perpetuity.

ROGER K. LAYMAN

Bowie

‘I also went into Cambodia’

I served as Officer-in-Charge of a Swift Boat (PCF-71) in Vietnam and my tour overlapped with that of John Kerry.

With regard to your editorial (“Kerry’s ‘Christmas in Cambodia’,” Tuesday), I can tell you that my crew and I also went into Cambodia (without orders). As units assigned to Coastal Division 11, we patrolled the Ha Tien River and an adjacent canal that ran along the Vietnam-Cambodian border and, on occasion, crossed into Cambodia.

Mr. Kerry was assigned to Coastal Division 11 in December 1968, and, while I don’t recall who was where on Christmas 35 years ago, it is certainly plausible to me that Mr. Kerry and his crew could have been across the border that night.

STEPHEN D. HAYES

U.S. Navy (1966-1969)

Alexandria

The politics of immigration

Regarding your article, “Immigration plan envisions ‘incentives’ to illegal aliens” (Page 1, Tuesday): If President Bush thinks he is winning votes with his immigration proposals, he is fatally wrong. Maybe talk radio isn’t the place to gauge true public opinion on this issue, but then, neither are the major print or TV media.

Talk radio has an audience in the tens of millions and is steaming with angry callers, upset that Mr. Bush has yielded the borders of the United States to illegal immigrants and those who traffic in them. And the calls are all the same: “I voted for President Bush but will stay home this election day because of his immigration policy.”

Personally, I don’t like Sen. John Kerry’s policies, and I don’t trust him, but I am one of those who will stay home Election Day.

PAUL JOSEPH WALKOWSKI

Dorchester, Mass.

Regarding “Bush: Raise limit for Mexico,” (Page 1, Saturday): President Bush claims that immigration reform is unlikely in an election year. That’s not quite true.

Agriculture-specific immigration reform, a subject of debate for nine years, now has a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and strong bipartisan support in the House. In July, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee held up the Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits and Security Act (AgJOBS) on orders from the White House, the Wall Street Journal reported. So it’s not election-year deadlock in the Senate that’s the problem. The issue is the political will of Mr. Bush and his advisers in the White House.

Improving conditions for the nation’s farmworkers, the poorest of the working poor, should be a priority, but there are always roadblocks. Usually, agribusiness lobbyists stymie farmworkers’ efforts to win federal legislation that would improve their wages and working conditions. Employers adamantly oppose reducing the exemptions for agriculture in child labor, minimum wage, overtime and other employment laws.

Now, agricultural employers and farmworker groups have negotiated a hard-fought compromise on the AgJOBS bill. With a majority of both Republican and Democratic senators onboard as co-sponsors of AgJOBS, it should pass. But with farmworkers, nothing is easy.

The White House’s reluctance comes from a Republican faction with an obsession about certain immigration issues that distorts their analysis of the AgJOBS compromise. AgJOBS may not be perfect, but this minority has no realistic answers to solving the real problems in the agricultural labor market and in farmworker communities. It is frustrating to watch the White House and Mr. Frist obstruct a reasonable compromise that would help farmworkers make progress.

BRUCE GOLDSTEIN

Co-executive director

Farmworker Justice Fund Inc.

Washington

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