Regarding your March 1 article "World confronts an aging population": The UN's report that the US population will continue to grow, unlike every other industrialized country, is nothing short of disastrous.

At 281 million people (an 85 percent increase since 1950), the US is already feeling the effects of overpopulation - traffic congestion, overcrowded schools, urban sprawl, vanishing open spaces, water and energy shortages, and air pollution. Local communities are literally paying the price, forced to build new infrastructure, schools, libraries, fire stations, police stations, and water services to meet ever-larger numbers.

While every other industrialized country is stabilizing or returning to past, smaller sizes, the US growth explosion continues because, unlike Europe, we have virtually no practical control of our borders. The best efforts of our own citizens to limit growth and sprawl are thwarted as vast numbers of immigrants settle here. Rather than absorbing the excess population of developing countries, we should instead set sensible lower limits on immigration and work to improve living conditions in the third world, helping them become places people aren't driven to leave.

Out-of-control population growth does not need to be our destiny. A national population policy set in relation to our ability to feed, school, and house new people would allow us to stabilize our population at a size we can sustain without destroying our environment and quality of life.

Sharon McCloe Stein Washington Executive Director Negative Population Growth Inc.

Your March 1 article "World confronts an aging population" presents the world's aging population - especially in the more developed countries - as an unmitigated disaster. It is actually a wonderful success story, for today our lives are longer and healthier.

The necessary result is an older society, smaller families, and stabilizing populations. This is great for the environment. It will help us contain resource and energy use, lessen the waste stream, and leave some room in which other of God's creatures can survive and even prosper.

Every change brings its problems, but let's give thanks for this challenge of an aging society, rather than decrying it.

John H. Tanton Petoskey, Mich.

Tax cut a Dickens plot against workers

Regarding your March 1 editorial "That's Real Change": President Bush's tax cut may be "just right" for those taxpayers that make more than $297,351 a year. Their marginal tax rate is cut 16.6 percent.

However, it sure isn't "just right" if you're a working couple making between $12,001 and $45,200 or a single person making between $6,000 and $27,051. Mr. Bush's tax proposal does not reduce their marginal tax rate at all, it remains 15 percent. This seems like a Dickens plot - take from the working class and give to the wealthy.

Bush said repeatedly during the campaign that he was opposed to "targeted tax cuts" and "class warfare," yet his tax proposal uses methods of the former and performs the latter. Come on Republicans, have a heart, don't leave these hard-working people behind. Do the right thing and muster up a little shame, you can always hide some of your greed behind it.

D. Ostrander Plano, Texas

I support the president's tax cut. It will mean an additional $200 per month that we will have to spend. Now that is good for the economy.

David Drewery Sacramento, Calif.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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