- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 7, 2004

Senators, not Nationals, once and always

Your front-page report on the proposed name for Washington’s new baseball team states that “‘Nationals’ was the primary name of Washington’s first American League franchise from 1905 to 1957” (“Team likely to be named Nationals,” Page 1, Friday).

This statement, however, is accurate only because it is selective in beginning with 1905, perhaps in order to bolster the name “Nationals,” rather than starting with the inception of the American League in 1901. It would then have to note that the ball club’s primary, meaning first, name was indeed the Washington Senators.

“Senators” was the official name from 1901 to 1904, as well as from 1957 to 1971; in other words, the first and the last, the alpha and omega of names.

And it should be noted that even during those Nationals years, “Senators” was the much used moniker in print, in conversations, and in the root-root-rooting of fans.

I would not be surprised if this proves to be the case now, regardless of the name Major League Baseball chooses to impose on our capital city ball club.

VANCE GARNETT

Washington

Political Springsteen no downbound

Your article on Bruce Springsteen’s recent foray into the presidential election echoed the sentiments of many fans, or ex-fans as they now call themselves (“Baby, we were born to … lose,” On the Edge, Friday). Somehow everyone seems to think Bruce is doing this for publicity or to gain new fans.This is a reflection of the interpreter, not the artist.

Bruce Springsteen has been writing political songs his whole life.Choosing to align himself with one candidate or another is part of his evolution as an artist and a human being.His activities have nothing to do with publicity or a desire to attract new fans in the United States or abroad.

Everyone is making this more complicated than it needs to be.Bruce is an engineer. Whether you ride his train or not is completely up to you.

CASSANDRA ERENRICH

Huntington, W.Va.

11 states make smart move

I commend the courage and foresight of voters in 11 states who on Tuesday gave resounding approval to constitutional amendments banning same-sex “marriage” (“Eleven states uphold traditional marriage,” Page 1, Wednesday).

In doing so, they have decided not to traverse the same slippery slope to banal decadence that the Massachusetts high court trod last year. The vote is a clear reflection of the true heart and soul of a nation in touch with its democratic roots and moral foundation.

The family is the fundamental cell of society. The family — and through it, all human society — have their source and origin in marriage. Marriage is ordered to the procreation and education of offspring. As the basic expression of man’s social nature, marriage can be understood only as the lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

I hope other states will now act with equal vigilance to protect the sanctity of traditional marriage. In doing so, one does not limit, but rather defends, personal freedom and dignity, understood realistically and authentically.

PAUL KOKOSKI.

Hamilton, Ontario

The OECD benefits the United States

On behalf of the group that officially represents U.S. business interests to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, I feel compelled to rebut Richard W. Rahn’s grossly inaccurate depiction of the OECD’s work on international taxation (“Halting French economic thrust,” Commentary, Thursday).

Far from having been “captured” by anti-growth, high-tax forces, the OECD actually provides an indispensable vehicle for the United States, including the American business community, to influence the tax policies of other nations and protect our interests. This works to the benefit of U.S. companies, U.S. competitiveness and economic growth overall.

Consider that until recently the overseas earnings of U.S. companies were routinely subjected to taxation by the United States and foreign countries. OECD efforts, which Mr. Rahn derides as a high-tax plot, have largely put an end to such double taxation. Or consider the OECD’s valuable work in extending the U.S. ban on overseas bribery, under our Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, to most of our key trading partners, thus leveling the playing field for U.S. firms.

In fact, the OECD’s tax work that Mr. Rahn so fears is nothing more, nor less, than a long-overdue attempt to breach the wall of bank secrecy in certain countries. The status quo has clearly abetted cross-border criminal activities, such as money laundering by drug cartels, and the movement of money by terrorists. The OECD’s efforts are meant to promote transparency of tax systems and the exchange of information in accordance with existing treaties and other agreements.

Were we to follow Mr. Rahn’s prescription and withhold funding for the OECD, we would be doing a big favor for terrorists, organized crime, money launderers and others who abuse the lack of transparency in some countries’ tax systems. This would be a tremendous disservice to U.S. taxpayers and the economy.

THOMAS M.T. NILES

President

United States Council

for International Business

New York

Flat tax and taxes on production

Daniel J. Mitchell makes several good points about moving to a simple flat-tax system and the benefits assigned, but he misses the bigger point (“Shift toward flat taxes,” Commentary, Oct. 29).

We started with a “flat tax” in the early 1900s, and it morphed into the monster you see today. Tinkering will not solve the bigger problem: We are taxing income and not consumption.

The taxation of income is inherently counterproductive to growth of jobs and the competitiveness of our products both inside and outside U.S. borders. It is effectively a tax on production that is built into the cost of goods throughout the supply chain and is passed on to consumers. So is the cost of complying with and defining income.

So is the cost of a large organization such as the Internal Revenue Service. Taxation of income is counter to the Founding Fathers’ intent for raising revenue to support national infrastructure and national defense.

They clearly warned against the inherent problems of taxation of income and did not include a provision such as the 16th Amendment for a reason.

We stubbornly strayed from their wisdom and are coming to grips with the reality that “they told us so.”

In the coming months, as the panels of experts debate the merits of the different tax plans such as the National Retail Sales Tax, the flat tax and many hybrids of both, it will become painfully obvious that the flat tax does little in the long run to solve the broader problems we face in a global economy.

We will be back to this point again, having the same conversation yet again, and the cost of overhauling the current system will continue to rise each time we visit the subject.

With bipartisan support and collaboration, we can complete a permanent overhaul and secure a brighter future for all people regardless of their socioeconomic position.

The challenge lies in getting past the rhetoric and misinformation and getting down to facts. Then the public will see that there is only one clear choice and it is not the flat tax.

WARREN THOMAS

Andover, Minn.

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