Tax cut on the eve of war: Can US afford it?

Regarding your March 7 article "Bush's untested path: tax cuts on the eve of war": The Congressional Budget Office recently reported that the Bush spending and tax-cut plan might increase budget deficits by $2.7 trillion dollars over the next decade, excluding the costs of a war on Iraq.

Currently the federal debt is about $6.47 trillion dollars. If one were to divide that among the 137.4 million employed people (62.4 percent of all citizens), then the national debt per worker would be about $47,000 dollars. If the debt interest could be calculated at 6 percent per year per worker, it would be about $2,800 for each worker every year.

These spend-and-borrow techniques are risky. And a proposals for a balanced-budget amendment seem to be ignored.
David Hall

We ask for a secure, untouched Social Security Trust Fund, we get war and color-coded fear. We ask for a minimum wage we can live on; we get duct tape. We ask for lower prescription-drug prices; we get war speeches. We ask for a lowering of the national debt and a surplus; and we get a huge national debt and the largest surplus in our history thrown away.
Marshall Raftery
Brutus, Mich.

Bush more realistic than Clinton

In response to the Feb. 28 opinion column "Climbing down from 'moral clarity'": Daniel Schorr has it backward in asserting that Bill Clinton was a "realist" in dealing with North Korea, while President Bush is the "idealist."

The Clinton administration foolishly believed it could trust the leftist dictatorship in North Korea to comply with an agreement it signed. The North Koreans took the aid from the US, but didn't adhere to the agreement. Mr. Clinton was too idealistic.

In contrast, President Bush understands that the belligerent and bellicose North Korean regime is both irrational and inhumane. With pressure it will collapse.

The Bush administration is doing the right thing by pushing the neighbors of North Korea to clamp down on the bully in their neighborhood. As this succeeds, the people of North Korea will become free and can start leading a better life.
Jolene Leber
Merrillville, Ind.

Journalists think independently

In response to the March 4 Learning column "It's your chance to be a 'hero' journalist - then again, maybe not": Wouldn't the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism have liability issues if it sent its students to a terror site?

I am a former student, class of 2000, and I was an adjunct instructor at Columbia's J-school on 9/11. The school did not endorse students going to ground zero, but a few student journalists went of their own accord. Who would want to miss one of the biggest stories of the 21st century?

Columbia has a responsibility to its students and faculty and the memo it sent was meant to establish the school's concern for its community members.

I don't believe the students suffered a "bait and switch" as Stacey Smith indicated. After all, when have journalists ever done what they are told?
Heidi Dehncke-Fisher
New York

Stacey Smith should not be concerned; she has what it takes to be a good journalist. Rushing into a dangerous area is sensationalism, not journalism. Journalism is about finding and reporting the truth, and pointing out hypocrisy wherever it may be. A "hero" journalist will report the truth for its own sake and for the sake of readers, without regard for the impact on her own career.
Scott Wolf
Marlboro, N.J.

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