- The Washington Times - Friday, September 15, 2006

The 401(k) repercussions

I get sick and tired of pseudoconservatives like Jack Kemp putting a happy face on the state of our society and always looking to some economic palliative to cure our financial woes, as he does in his column about 401(k)s (“A key to our financial future,” Commentary, Thursday).

The 401(k) plans are attractive only because of the tax-deferred aspect of the savings, but this is really a deception similartootherPonzi schemes that the government practices.

As more people save through tax-deferred plans, the tax rate must increase, or future taxes via debt, on the remaining taxable balance.

The poor citizen is coerced into this scheme no matter what his personal obligations or his need for current funds or face an ever-increasing tax bill. Under the guise of forcing people to do what’s best for them, these do-gooders do not hesitate to use the tax code to coerce compliance to achieve their ends.

What real conservatives should be advocating is much lower spending and much lower taxes down to a flat 5 percent to 6 percent on every dollar earned and getting the government out of the retirement business and all those other activities not within the enumerated powers of the Constitution, as promised by Republicans not so long ago.

The only way to correct the unintended consequences of big government is to make government much smaller, not by tinkering with the tax code to manipulate citizen behavior.

LARRY LOTTER

Reston

Healthy hospital eats

“Hospital food makes a recovery” (Metropolitan, Tuesday) mentions several important changes taking place at health care facilities, including increasing food variety, eliminating the use of oil containing trans fats, rethinking fast food and making it easier for patients to order food when they are hungry.

Though you do not mention these health care facilities in your article, many hospitals across the continent and several major health systems, including Kaiser Permanente and Catholic Health Care West, are implementing purchasing policies and practices that reflect a growing recognition among health care providers that our food system is not only misaligned with U.S. dietary guidelines, but relies on food production methods and a distribution system that are harmful to people, communities and the environment.

These hospitals are taking a preventative approach by making changes such as serving organic produce, Fair Trade coffee, milk free of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) and poultry and meat produced without routine antibiotic use and buying more food from local farmers.

Additionally, more than 40 health care facilities have formalized their commitment to identifying and sourcing sustainably produced food by signing onto the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge. The complete list of hospitals and pledge text can be found at www.noharm.org.

MARIE KULICK

Senior policy analyst

Institute for Agriculture and

Trade Policy

Purchasing Work Group co-coordinator

Health Care Without Harm

Minneapolis

Judicial nominations

Bruce Bartlett (“Democrats in power?” Commentary, Wednesday) is probably right on most issues, but not on one: judicial appointments.

If Republicans retain control of the Senate, President Bush still will have a chance of obtaining confirmation of his judicial nominees. If they do not, that opportunity will be gone.

To remind those who may need it, Justice Antonin Scalia was confirmed while Republicans controlled the Senate; Judge Bork’s nomination was defeated once the Democrats regained control. Also, Mr. Bush’s father nominated “stealth” Justice David H. Souter to avoid a confirmation fight while the Senate was still controlled by the Democrats.

SEYMOUR KLEIMAN

Baltimore

PETA’s points

The meat and tobacco pushers who attended a PETA film showing downtown last week got their facts wrong again (“Ingrid makes 7,” Inside the Beltway, Tuesday). The film ran at 7:30 p.m., when PETA President Ingrid Newkirk spoke to a rousing packed house.

Contrary to their statement, Ms. Newkirk was not present for the show they attended because she had already spoken, signed more than 100 books and gone home. The film ran again at 9:30 p.m., when they and a handful of others who hadn’t gotten the message — the event we advertised had been moved to 7:30 p.m. — showed up.

And, yes, meat and tobacco are still bad for you.

BRUCE G. FRIEDRICH

Vice president

International Grassroots Campaigns

People for the Ethical Treatment of

Animals

Norfolk

Facts and assertions in the news

“Cheap shots,” Thomas Sowell’s column about the New York Times, was right on the money and further illuminates the problem with our mostly liberal news outlets and their reach to influence the political debate in American society (Commentary, Thursday).

This reach is furthered, as Mr. Sowell so eloquently states, by the lack of rhetorical analysis and debating skills in our citizenry. I like to listen, and I hear a lot of political discourse around me daily as people talk about current events. As one listens to people while they converse, one can hear the ignorance flowing about, and it is very apparent that many are incapable of the simple analysis of information presented by news sources.

This is weakening our society greatly as we get further and further from the founding principles of our nation. The very freedom we cherish is threatened when rights and privileges are confused because people do not have the ability to understand the differences between the two and how understanding them is relevant.

Many people with whom I am acquainted cannot discern a fact from an assertion and believe that news outlets are not allowed to present untruths or skew the news to promote an agenda.

We as citizens must hold our news outlets to exacting standards, as they themselves used to do in the 20th century. An ignorant populace is far easier to subjugate, and our media elites are willing accomplices in assisting the “progressives” who believe we are all too stupid to lead our own lives without their help.

NORMAN HENDRICKSON

Bowie

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