Editor: Your editorial, "Lessons from the Smith Verdict," and Ellen Goodman's column, "After Palm Beach, " reflect upon knowledge ordinary people might have gained from the William Kennedy Smith trial.
Unfortunately, both omit two important points.
First, in a rape trial the law and media treat the accused unjustly. The man is identified, photographed and, in the case of Willie Smith, projected into millions of homes. The accuser, on the other hand, is nameless and enjoys the electronic purdah of a large gray blob. As Ms. Goodman illustrates, Mr. Smith has been publicly harmed by the rape allegations while the accuser, who failed to win a guilty verdict, remained a protected non-person, free from the journalistic feeding frenzy.
Second, you stress that men should take "no" from a woman seriously, and indeed they should. However, you fail to instruct women that picking up a man at a bar, going to his home and removing undergarments in the car hardly implies a "no." Although sexual mores have changed, old-fashioned common sense has not. In order to make a date rape charge stick, women will have to act more responsibly.
Say, Teach . . .
Editor: Robert J. Grant (letter, Dec. 11), veteran Anne Arundel public school teacher, gives us a simplistic justification for his recent 30-percent salary increase.Perhaps, in his quest for simplicity, Mr. Grant has overlooked a few important facts.
First, the $24,347 salary of the first-year teacher compares very favorably with the neophyte B.A. or B.S. in the private sector. This is particularly true in 1991, when there are essentially zero jobs in the private sector, making the question of relative worth moot: no jobs, no salaries.
Second, the first-year teacher costs the taxpayers an additional 20 percent over and above his or her salary in a very generous package of benefits. Health insurance alone, if purchased by a self-employed worker, is worth thousands of dollars.
Third, the teacher works three days for each four worked by the private sector, which translates to approximately 60 extra paid holidays per year (many more, if we compare the teacher to those of us who are self-employed and who get no paid holidays and zero benefits).
Last, but certainly not least, is the fact that the first-year teacher has 100-percent job security. I know of not one private-sector worker, from CEO to laborer, who can claim this tremendous benefit. The horrors of the pink-slip phenomenon continue with tens of thousands of more to come, and not one of us in the private sector is immune to this plaque.
I suspect that before this recession ends, Mr. Grant will be asked (or told) to take much more than a 3-percent pay reduction. My guess is based on simple facts: our governments are essentially broke at all levels; the private sector of our economy is in terrible condition and getting worse every day; and, very clearly, the days of public-sector employees getting 30-percent raises, with no corresponding rise in private-sector growth, are gone.
Kirk S. Nevin.
Editor: Contrary to the assertion of one of your letter writers, lacrosse does not mean "the cross" but "the crook."
The racquet does not look like a cross; it looks like a bishop's crook.
George F. Jones.
Editor: A recent reader complained that Anne Arundel County Executive Robert Neall was asking for a 3 percent "give-back" by teachers, rationalizing the complaint by saying teachers' salaries had only risen by a factor of four over the past 22 years.
I feel sure many of us now working (and all of us not so fortunate) would be very happy to give back 3 percent if our current salaries were four times what they were in 1969.
Editor: I went to the "town meeting" held by the state Democratic legislators regarding the budget and deficit at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute on Dec. 4.
The meeting began at 6 p.m. Until I spoke at 11, I was treated to the spectacle of college professors, college students, community activists, union officers, high school and grade school teachers -- all with their palms out, asking the legislature to, "Please raise our taxes!"
They even had a few grade-school students make the same plea. These same people went into tirades about Reaganomics, the wealthy and greedy tax protesters, as well as the fact that their constituencies needed more money to alleviate whatever crisis they're beset with. I'd like to set things straight.
It is ironic that those who educate our children, who also teach at college, as well as style themselves community leaders, have very little understanding as to the effect that raising taxes (gasoline, income, luxury, sales etc.) has on everyone's pocketbook.
L If they did, they wouldn't have made such a foolish request.
Don't they know that every time they ask the legislators to raise taxes (to make the "rich" pay their fair share), the legislature will take the money from them as well?
How about the "luxury tax" on boats? Ask the boat-builders of Maryland and their former employees. Ask the working man who wanted to buy a boat for recreation. He can't buy one now.
There were calls for increasing taxes on hotel rooms (again, to get the "fat cats"). Again, I must point out the fallacy: The recession has cut corporate travel deeply. Talk to the airlines desperately struggling with falling ridership and revenues.
If increased taxes were put on hotel rooms, the family that goes to Ocean City would get hit as well. (Didn't think about that?)
I am appalled that such ignorant people dare to assume to speak for all. Also appalling is the use of children to front for a tax grab.
I have no respect for the so-called educators who perpetuate mediocrity, lack of critical thinking and call it education, all-the-while asking for more taxes and revenue. Just look at the students graduating from their schools, as ignorant and lacking in critical thought as their teachers. More money for this? I think not.
I heard plenty about the greedy rich, the greedy tax protesters. What I saw was unbridled greed, from the "caring and compassionate" groups.
Is it greedy to ask for an accounting, to see where the money went, before any more is taken from my hard-earned wages?
I think not.
Pay Off the Debt
Editor: It is no news to anyone that our country continues to flounder in the grips of an extremely serious recession.
Even worse, no end is currently in sight.
In article after article, politicians have forecast an upturn in our economy "sometime next year." Unfortunately, after almost three years now, that prediction has failed so far to prove true.
At the risk of sounding simple (I am a small business man, who is still in the same business after 35 years), I wonder why more people aren't recognizing the true cause behind our severe downturn.
Quite simply, it is our federal debt of about three trillion dollars. As of now, the weight of this debt, if allowed to go unchecked, will surely finish killing off our economy.
Think this recession is bad? Then imagine a real depression. Or ask some of our elder citizens who remember.
In a recent article in The Sun, Maryland's comptroller, Louis Goldstein, reported a frightening figure. Approximately 17 cents of every tax dollar we send to the federal government goes to pay just the interest of this debt.
Much of this present debt was incurred from the huge losses experienced during the S&L; scandals of the past few years, the huge military expenditures of the 1980s and the lowering of the federal income tax, in spite of the above.
While average citizens like ourselves should not be held responsible for those squandered dollars, we still must pay.
In addition, many of our banks and insurance companies are in such horrible financial shape that they are turning down applications for personal and commercial bank loans.
Thus, if we don't pay soon, our economy will only accelerate in its downward spiral. I can say this because I'm not running for political office.
How should we pay? There's no easy prescription for digging ourselves out of this debt, but a few suggestions come to mind.
First of all, raise taxes -- moderately for the middle-income bracket, while restoring the previously much higher rates for upper-income earners.
Next, add a $1-per-gallon tax on current gasoline prices. European countries all pay at least that much at the pumps, and this added revenue would go a long way to reducing the deficit, as well as aiding the states that need it most.
These are just starters. We all can think of more: nationalized medicine, etc. Furthermore, if our federal congressmen can't rescind their recent pay increases now, I think maybe we should vote them out.
While these measures may provide outrage from overly burdened taxpayers, I can only remind them to consider the alternative. We cannot wait any longer to reduce our federal deficit. No matter how difficult it is to pay now, we must, or else pay a much more horrible price in the very near future.
Gordon M. Silesky.