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Nix the tax-free vacations, please

ONCE we heard a physician gloating about his good luck. He had been skiing at a luxurious, expensive, Rocky Mountain resort, when he noticed a medical seminar being held at the lodge.

"I registered for the seminar, and I got to write the ski trip off my taxes as a business expense," he beamed.

He was delighted - and we've been boiling ever since. This gimmick allowed him to avoid paying a significant amount of tax, which means that other taxpayers had to make up the lack.

Like many abuses, this one is rooted in a worthy idea. "Continuing education" is required for several professions - doctors, lawyers, accountants, stockbrokers, etc. - to keep practitioners trained in new developments.

But instead of attending low-cost classes near home, many professionals choose expensive seminars in faraway resorts, to enjoy taxpayer-subsidized holidays.

Often, the "professional instruction" at these seminars is shallow, merely an excuse to justify the tax write-off. Attendees play all day, then listen to a brief lecture while sipping cocktails, and charge it to taxpayers.

We hope members of Congress look into this affront, and help tighten the tax laws that are being exploited.

- The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette

No touchdown for this interception

SEN. Strom Thurmond (R) of South Carolina convened a hearing ... before a Senate subcommittee to discuss whether laws are needed to keep National Football League franchises from changing cities.

The answer to that, which certainly should be clear to conservative Republicans like Thurmond, is a resounding "No!"

These teams are privately owned businesses, and Congress ought to keep its nose out of their internal affairs.

Like other football fans, we also deplore some of the things that are going on in the NFL.

It sometimes seems that the league has given up football for musical chairs. Free agency has players bouncing around like pinballs, and now owners are moving their franchises from city to city faster than their quarterbacks can run the 2-minute drills.

But with a long list of serious questions that cry for lawmakers' attention, it is unbelievable that members of Congress actually are involving themselves in the question of whether team owners should be allowed to move their professional football franchises - their business - to more- profitable locations.

Congress should tend to the business of government, and punt on sports controversies.

- The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

Don't set up soapbox for assassin

SEVERAL public figures have questioned the wisdom of allowing Yitzhak Rabin's murderer, Yigal Amir, to hold improvised press conferences every time he is brought to court for an extension of his remand. Now that he has been officially charged, his court appearances will be even more frequent, affording him more opportunities to talk to the press.

The media interest in what he has to say is understandable - it is not every day that an assassin of a historic figure is available for press sessions. What the media seem to forget is that by making him the center of attraction, having him appear on television, and quoting every word he says in newspapers gives him a status of a "celebrity," regardless of how repelling and revolting he may be.

True, in a democratic society the accused is deemed innocent until proved otherwise, and there is no law which would deny him access to the press. But the society's instinct for self-preservation and its sense of reality must dictate that a confessed murderer caught in the act not be given a privileged soapbox. He will have his day in court.

- The Jerusalem Post

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