- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 27, 2005

HMO tax burden

CareFirst announced that it will be passing along the 2 percent HMO tax levied upon the company by the Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly (“Maryland HMOs hand new tax to consumers,” Page 1, Monday). This tax is a direct result of the veto-override by the liberals in the assembly.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. called a special session last year to seek real solutions to the medical malpractice issue. The result of the session was unacceptable for the people of Maryland, and the governor was correct to veto the bills. But the rewards to trial lawyers was too much for the liberals to pass up, and now the largest health insurance company in the state has done what was predicted all along: pass the tax onto the policyholders.

The mentality that Marylanders will continue to pay for anything the Legislature desires is wrong. It hurts us in the pocketbooks. It is time the taxpayers of the state wake up and stop allowing those that are supposed to represent us from rewarding their friends while hurting the average person. Health care costs continue to rise as a result of these trial lawyers. We don’t need their friends in the Legislature to continue using our money as their reward.

AL EISNER

Wheaton

Not just ‘dumb luck’

It is interesting that the federal judge (“Judge quashes ‘intelligent design’,” Nation, Dec. 21) has ruled intelligent design too dangerous a subject to be taught in school, despite the fact that natural selection, the euphemism for “dumb luck,” would require fantastic odds to form simple enzymes, let alone have them evolve to the much more complex creatures.

The fact that it has taken supercomputers to decode the DNA structure should tell us something. Sir Fred Hoyle, British mathematician and astronomer and definitely not a biblical creationist, compared the odds of the random emergence of the simplest cell to the likelihood that “a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the material therein.” (“Evolution from Space: A Theory of Cosmic Creationism”.)

As an aerospace engineer, the evolutionist’s dogma that the simple naturally evolved to the more complex (I did take anthropology in college) goes against the second law of thermodynamics which shows that natural processes go from order to disorder.

Any car owner or home computer user knows that without the intervention of human intelligence and knowledge, the equipment will eventually quit working. I recently read of the emperor penguin who hatches her egg, must catch it between her feet, pass it to the male to carry between his feet for incubation, and all without it ever touching the frozen ground. And we must teach our children this all happened by “chance,” i.e. dumb luck?

MORRIS BETRY

Dayton, Ohio

Highway robbery

I see where Virginia state Sen. Frank Wagner, Virginia Beach Republican, wants to impose a toll on Interstate 95 and Interstate 85 (“States consider joint toll roads,” Metropolitan, Monday).

This is just another tax increase. In addition there will be more traffic delays that toll booths always cause. Why can’t we elect officials who want to cut taxes? The rest of the states south of Virginia seem to be able to keep tolls off the interstates.

There is a cost to keep highways up to speed but since we all benefit from highways, tax all the roads or none of them.

DAVID PELLINEN

Arlington

No pity for child abusers

For the parents in Ohio who forced their 11 adopted children with health and behavioral disorders to sleep in wooden cages without mattresses or pillows, there should be no hesitation or doubt in determining the appropriate judicial outcome of their fate (“Judge says couple committed abuse by caging children,” Nation, Friday). The parents, Michael and Sharen Gravelle, are fighting to regain custody of their children combined with court-ordered supervision.

The children were rightfully removed from the home and placed in foster care. Juvenile Judge Timothy Cardwell determined the parents made a series of poor parental decisions in their “overwhelmed state.”

There is no need for extended contemplation or lingering debate as to the consequences that should ensue as a result of these egregious actions that undoubtedly impacted these child victims. It is a fact the Gravelles’ actions absolutely constituted abuse. Their apparent lack of common sense, total ignorance of proper parenting, and their failure to request outside assistance to help them cope with their “overwhelming” problems is sufficient to ensure that the Gravelles should not — under any circumstances — be granted custody of these children again.

It is crucial to recognize that these special-needs children have been doubly victimized — initially by their health problems, including fetal alcohol syndrome and a condition that involves the consumption of dirt, and subsequently by the abuse of them by their parents.

Consequently, their parents should be convicted of child abuse and the consequences for their actions should be swift, determinate, and should effectively involve a substantial period of incarceration for them to ultimately gain a crucial understanding of the gravity of their actions. Any extension of pity should be directed at the children for the pathetic situation in which they became victimized by parents who failed them in a profound way.

KAREN L. BUNE

Adjunct professor

Department of Criminal Justice

George Mason University

Fairfax

An effective trade law facing its end

The Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) doesn’t like Alan Tonelson’s dead-on commentary, (“Protecting lawful trade,” Thursday). You see, CITAC stands to benefit from repeal of the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act, known as the Byrd amendment. Sadly, this very effective trade law will be repealed in October 2007.

Companies who belong to CITAC are upset because they import materials or components from foreign suppliers who, in effect, subsidize them with cheap, illegally traded goods. The fact that the Byrd amendment provides a financial remedy directly to the domestic industries injured by the illegal trade also has CITAC furious. Apparently, CITAC is anti-American, otherwise why would it object to the strengthening of domestic companies injured by illegal trade.

Their lawyer, Lewis Leibowitz, plays the “class card” which argues that since only a small number of companies and industries (the class) benefit from the Byrd amendment then it must be repealed. CITAC members claim to be capitalists when they complain about having to pay more for the products they import and socialists when they see one group getting more than another. Do you think Mr. Leibowitz’s law firm distributes jury awards it wins for its clients along those lines?

Policing foreign imports is a difficult and often impossible task. The Byrd amendment offered a remedy that served as a deterrent to dumping and subsidization. CITAC wants unrestricted access to cheap, illegally dumped products so that their members can prosper. They don’t care if their actions cause entire U.S. industries to go out of business so long as they keep getting cheaper and cheaper imports. They don’t realize that they too will face increased foreign competition; don’t be surprised when their members start filing trade actions when what they make is dumped here. And don’t be surprised if Mr. Leibowitz takes the opposite argument he is using today.

RICHARD W. RESSLER

North Olmsted, Ohio

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