Tax cut needs more thought

I'm writing to express my hope that our senators share my disappointment that the House has passed President Bush's exorbitant tax cut even before the president submits a budget.This is like buying a car or a house even before I know how much money I have in the bank.

Certainly there should be a tax cut, but one that does not imperil the fiscal health of the country. If there is a recession,making revenues fall short of projections, we can be sure that social programs like Head Start and food stamps will be the first to be cut.

Kenneth J. Rummenie Buffalo, N.Y.

If the country has excess money at present, and is also on the brink of a possible recession, why doesn't President Bush raise the minimum wage a few dollars, and give a tax credit to those who would have to pay the difference in wages?

It would even the gap a little between rich and poor. Better still, that money would quickly be back in circulation. Result: a raise in the standard of living of the poorest citizens, less economic slowdown, and the raising of all our boats. And it could be done quickly, easily, and now.

Philippa Kiraly Seattle

In favor of property rights

I read with great interest your March 13 editorial "Protecting property rights."

The power of government to dictate is truly an awesome force and when placed at the disposal of a few special interests, takings are bound to occur. It is only through strong laws that the individual can be protected from such a force. Property rights must be held sacrosanct, otherwise we are saying that might makes right.

Logan Scott Breckenridge, Colo.

Time to rethink schools

Regarding Barbara Smith's March 9 opinion piece "Rescuing the ciphers": In each outbreak of deadly school violence we madly put in metal detectors, initiate gun searches, add police to the staff, and rack our brains about why that one specific boy or girl was different from all the others.

The author recognizes the shooters aren't that different, and that guns are not the problem. "Loneliness and alienation in our schools are not new" she says, nor is it unique to the shooters.

Guns are not the problem. Schools are.

Perhaps it is time to rethink our schools and create a learning system that meets children's needs, keeps families together, and promotes community solidarity.

Bill Ellis Rangeley, Maine

Citizens should have say in free trade

Your March 12 editorial "Trading up" concerning trade was interesting, certainly in light of next month's Organization of American States-sponsored summit on the Free Trade Area for the Americas (FTAA).

I suppose living in California gives me a jaded view of big-time economics. Californians are presently getting a first-class education in what happens when big corporations (in this case, utility companies) engage in behind-the-scenes chicanery.

Citizen groups had little input in the deregulation scheme and the result has been disastrous.

I worry that we could see something similar with regard to the FTAA as citizen groups have been barred from those negotiations as well.

I fear global corporations could make sweetheart deals for themselves and leave the rest of us not only holding empty purses, but perhaps living in a third-world hemisphere.

Karen Allen Concord, Calif.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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