- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 10, 2004

Criminal immigration

This is to compliment The Washington Times for its editorial “The consequences of illegal immigration” (Saturday).

In nearly all of the commentaries and discussions about illegal aliens that I have seen, the emphasis has been on the aliens’ effect on population growth, which will lead to degradation of our resources and quality of life.

At the same time, we all hear the argument that the United States needs the labor that illegal aliens can provide.

None of the commentaries, pro or con, mentions the problem of criminal behavior. It has just been ignored. Thanks for spreading the word that we had better stop ignoring that feature of uncontrolled illegal immigration.

CARLETON W. BROWN

Elkton, Md.

U.N. at gunpoint?

In a letter in response to Michelle Malkin’s column (“Ambulances for terrorists?” Commentary, June 3), Paul McCann falsely accuses Mrs. Malkin of fabricating charges based on “one incident” (“Threatened at gunpoint,” Letters, Wednesday). However, as Mrs. Malkin clearly documents, Palestinian terrorist use of internationally funded ambulances is a long-standing, much-ignored practice.

Wafa Idris, pretending to be pregnant, smuggled weapons into Jerusalem in a Red Crescent ambulance in January 2002 and wounded about 150 people. There are numerous other proven instances of such terrorist activities being ignored by the United Nations — which would rather blast Israel for trying to defend itself against these same terrorists, who cynically manipulate public opinion and medical relief to murder and maim innocents.

U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is also the same agency that has paid for Palestinians to remain in “refugee camps” for the past 60 years, the world’s only internationally funded “refugees.” In addition, UNRWA clearly has no problem funding schools and camps known to inculcate its children with violent anti-Semitism. Clearly, Mr. McCann has no response to these charges but to weakly claim to be “upholding the high principles of the United Nations.” Does allowing or encouraging terrorist activity count as one of the United Nations’ “high principles”?

SARA MILLER

Rego Park, N.Y.

I would caution readers of The Washington Times regarding the Wednesday letter by Paul McCann, chief of the Public Information Office at UNRWA in Gaza. He takes offense at the commentary of Michelle Malkin and defends the “12,000 UNRWA staff in Gaza and the West Bank … [for] unholding the high principles of the United Nations.”

The United Nations has been nothing more than an apologist for Muslims and for terrorism since the founding of the state of Israel, a habit that has grown worse, not better, as the United Nations itself has become worse, not better. Where the choice is between Michelle Malkin’s reportage and the “chief public information” officer for the United Nations, place your trust in Mrs. Malkin.

R.J. LOEWENBERG

President

Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies

Washington

Crude claims

Bruce Bartlett asks, “Oil unlimited?” in his Wednesday column (Commentary). The answer is no, even if he is right that oil derives from abiotic sources. If oil is bubbling up from the Earth’s core in vast quantities, then we would have more natural oil seeps. Pennsylvania, which once supplied all of the nation’s oil, should be expected to be refilling by now. Instead, Pennsylvania burns more than 100 times more oil than it produces each year.

If oil is created by abiotic means, it has been bubbling up for millions of years longer than if oil comes from “dead dinosaurs,” as the biological theory would have it. Either way, we are burning it far faster than it is forming. Indeed, we have been burning it faster than we discover new oil deposits since the early 1980s. We now burn three or four barrels for every new barrel we find.

Mr. Bartlett points out that higher prices reduce demand while making marginal oil fields economically viable, such that “it is impossible to ever literally run out of oil.” He should note that higher prices don’t create oil — only nature and geologic time do that. Further, this is a distinction without a difference. When oil becomes too expensive to use, how is that different from running out? Mr. Bartlett’s semantic games won’t help when global oil production begins its inevitable decline.

CARL HENN

Rockville

Compromised sovereignty

I would like to point out to reader Serge Wing (” ‘Unprovoked’? Hardly,” Letters, yesterday) and many others that under Anglo-American common law any agreement entered into while one of the parties was under duress and thus not free to act is null and void.

Was Iraq under duress and not free to act when it signed the 1991 armistice?

Further, the U.N. Charter speaks of the “sovereign equality” of all nations. Why, then, are some permitted to possess weapons of mass destruction while others are not? Where in the U.N. Charter is the “sovereign equality” of all nations compromised to permit that difference?

ROGER D. LEONARD

Bowie

Pension problems

The impending $600 billion financing problem of state and local pension plans poses a daunting challenge to those touting the inevitability of smooth economic recovery (“State and local pension burdens,” Editorial, Tuesday). The question follows: Should taxes be raised? The answer is no. Raising taxes merely would aggravate the underlying problem: State and local pension funds were originally poorly institutionalized. No amount of additional funding will compensate for incompetence.

This does not, however, necessitate the forfeiture of promised benefits. The only feasible solution to the unfunded-pension-liabilities problem is a gradual transformation from “defined benefits” pension plans to defined-contribution plans that rely on individual investment choices and upfront funding.

Meanwhile, for those stuck in the current quagmire of broken-pension promises, the privatization of pension insurance provides the most viable solution to the increasingly high rate of pensions in default. In a policy paper prepared last year at the National Taxpayers Union Foundation titled “The Next Big Bailout? How Underfunded Pensions Put Taxpayers at Risk,” analysts identify the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) as facing increasing pressure from the mounting number of unfunded pension programs. Clearly, the introduction of new competition could incite some efficient restructuring to pension insurance. Why, after all, should the PBGC (and the taxpayers backing it) shoulder the burden of pension problems alone?

Irrefutably, pension plans — far too restrictive for the demands of the 21st-century economy — need to be replaced by defined-contribution plans. Moreover, as pensions are phased out, private institutions, which can likely run at a fraction of the cost of the PBGC, should be allowed some leverage to bail out those funds in need of recovery. If these recommendations are taken seriously, we can preserve the long-term well-being of our nation, our economy, and, most importantly, our workers — without introducing the crushing weight of new taxes.

PETER LATTIN

Policy associate

National Taxpayers Union

Alexandria

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