- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 16, 2004

Dollars and sense

President Bush’s fiscal policies are not relevant to Sen. John Kerry’s fiscal irresponsibility. Carl Henn’s letter “Bush league” (Letters, Thursday) legitimized Mr. Kerry’s record by saying that Mr. Bush’s spending has been more horrific.

The article that was criticized (“Kerry’s fiscal irresponsibilities,” Editorial, May 10) did an excellent job of showing how Mr. Kerry pushed for reduced military spending, while making sure his own state got its pork.

Notice that Mr. Henn brings absolutely no evidence to support his claims, merely saying Mr. Bush is worse. Does that mean that we should disregard Mr. Kerry’s record? Granted some of Mr. Bush’s economic policies are pushing the envelope, but once again no proof is presented to that effect. In fact, Mr. Henn’s only contention is that Mr. Bush “borrowed money to provide tax cuts for the wealthy.”

I have a feeling that Mr. Henn has no idea how Mr. Bush’s tax-cut plan is doing. He merely repeats a phrase used often to attack our president’s policies. This is a summary of the tax-relief plan. It includes: replacing the current tax rates of 15, 28, 31, 36 and 39.6 percent with a simplified rate structure of 10, 15, 25 and 33 percent; doubling the child tax credit to $1,000 per child and applying the credit to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT); reducing the marriage penalty by reinstating the 10 percent deduction for two-earner couples; eliminating the “death” tax; expanding the charitable deduction to non-itemizers; and making the research and experimentation tax credit permanent.

Now, how many of those policies affect only the rich? I have gotten tired of people who have no idea of what they are criticizing and merely repeat that phrase.


Woodbridge, Va.

After reading Carl Henn’s letter, I’d just like to remind him that, according to the Constitution, Congress is responsible for our country’s expenses. Ronald Reagan’s tax initiatives doubled federal revenue in the ‘80s compared to the Carter years. The only problem is that the Democrats controlled Congress and spent it all, plus some. Congress’ spending frenzy, along with the cost of bringing the Soviet Union to its knees, did indeed increase our national debt.

Under President George H.W. Bush, the Democrat-controlled Congress passed the largest tax increase in this nation’s history, yet the national debt still rose. Some say this contributed to Mr. Bush’s defeat for re-election. Yes, we had a few years of budget surpluses in the ‘90s, thanks to the Republicans gaining control of Congress on a cut-government-spendingplatform.

Deficits and the resulting increase in the national debt are nothing new. Presidents have been dealing with them since 1791, yet our economy has grown. According to all economic indicators, it is doing so again. The recession that started at the end of Bill Clinton’s second term is coming to a rapid close.


Lusby, Md.

‘Take their arrogance elsewhere’

I find it highly hypocritical of the secretive Bush-Cheney Republican campaign to accuse Sen. John Kerry of politicizing the war in Iraq (“Kerry accused of politicizing war,” Page 1, Thursday). He has been very careful not to undermine the United States during this time.

When Bill Clinton intervened militarily in Kosovo, the Republicans took every opportunity they could to slam him saying that he did so for political reasons. I find it very hard to believe, especially given the recent Republican history of negativity, that they would be sitting by and saying nothing if the Democrats were in charge now with the same mess that President Bush has created. It’s an election year. If the Bush-Cheney campaign doesn’t like the heat, they should take their arrogance elsewhere.



Words vs. actions

Robert Goldberg’s column “Of markets and men” (Op-Ed, Tuesday) accurately captures the left’s willingness to jettison people about whom they profess to care. He concludes his column by indicting the left for complicity in the suffering of the poor and downtrodden and for using the needy as political pawns — particularly when it is within the power of liberals to help such people. Mr. Goldberg closes by writing that the left’s behavior is “… more than cynical. It is indecent as well.”

Regardless, his column reminded me of a quote from author G.K. Chesterton, appropriate here: “A liberal may be defined approximately as a man who, if he could, by waving his hand in a dark room, stop the mouths of all the deceivers of mankind forever, would not wave his hand. And a liberal organization is any collection of liberals intent on holding back the beneficent waves of others.”



The right to bear arms

I read with interest Tom Diaz’s letter (“Enormous difference between rifles,” Letters, Thursday) in support of his position that only the government, not citizens, should possess .50-caliber rifles. He misses the point. It is exactly because an oppressive government ruled Colonial America that we have a Second Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing firearms ownership to us all in the first place.

I’m sure Mr. Diaz would advance the theory that the government hasn’t been that oppressive to its citizens now for many years, to which I would say that the owners of .50-caliber rifles are probably equally non-threatening to the government, much less the public in general.

A greater general public threat may well be the remarkable development of a Burmese python population in Florida. Although attacks on humans by pythons are a matter of record, I have never heard of attacks on others by private citizens with .50-caliber rifles.



On living and dying

In reference to “Criteria relaxed for liver donors” (Nation, Thursday): The shortage of human organs for transplant operations kills more than 6,000 Americans every year. The solution is simple — if you don’t agree to donate your organs when you die, then you go to the back of the waiting list if you ever need an organ to live.

A grass-roots group of organ donors called LifeSharers is making this idea a reality one member at a time.

LifeSharers is a nonprofit network of organ donors. Members agree to donate their organs when they die, but they give fellow members “first dibs” on their organs. This creates a pool of organs available first to members. The existence of this pool gives other people an incentive to sign donor cards and join the network, and this incentive grows stronger as the network expands.

Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers at https://www.lifesharers.com. Membership is free.

LifeSharers has 2,295 members in 49 states and the District of Columbia.


Executive Director


Nashville, Tenn.

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