Easy To DeceiveEditor: I enjoyed Kal's cartoon...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Easy To Deceive

Editor: I enjoyed Kal's cartoon of Jan. 30. It captures the misdirected interest of Congress and the executive branch and both parties. However, it left out the other end zone. It's called the "national debt." I wonder why everyone, including Kal, likes to exclude it in this game.

It's like an overdue bill, and you are getting nasty phone calls. It's like a raise you think you deserve, but know you can't get. It's like "what did I do wrong" and "things don't seem to get better."

The American people are so easy to deceive. Our national politicians from Johnson to Goldwater, Nixon to Sarbanes, Reagan to Kennedy haven't got the ability or guts to look beyond their own re-election to truly deal with our country's internal financial responsibilities.

Now, it's happening again.

Who owns our debt? Many foreign countries, pension funds, banks, secure S&Ls;, corporations hold this debt. Why? Your tax dollar is paying the interest on this debt created over the last 30 years by the donkeys and elephants. And, as everyone knows, we have one of the best tax collection systems in the world. Our national debt is a secure investment!

How do our national politicians react to problems with the economy? They just create more debt for us to pay taxes on.

There is a very sad, terrible secret that no one really wants let out, especially those in national office. The quality of life in the U.S. is not going up. It is going down. The standard of living, as we have known it or expected it to be in the future, is going to be disappointing.

That national debt that Kal left out in the other end zone is going to roll down the field and wrap up both teams if they don't change direction and play half the game going both ways.

aul H. Leamer.

Kingsville.

Sacrifice

Editor: It is totally reprehensible and self-serving for anyone in public education to be picketing for higher taxes. They are teaching our children and don't understand the principals of basic economics.

Everyone must sacrifice.

Levi George.

Dorchester County.

Judicial Choice

Editor: I read your Feb. 11 editorial, "For the Sitting Judges." I am one of the four challenges and strongly disagree with the position espoused.

The premise of your editorial is that judicial selections should not be contested vigorously. This is hardly a ringing endorsement of the democratic process.

I agree with your editorial to the extent that, ideally, judicial appointments should be non-political and non-partisan. However, I am a candidate for precisely that reason -- the present system has failed the residents of Baltimore County and must be reformed in the election process.

The system has led to a disproportionate lack of representation for women on the Circuit Court and the absence of any representation for other minorities. However, most reprehensible is the prevalence of favoritism, or nepotism, or "Old Boys' Network" in the selection of judges. There have been eight new Circuit Court appointments by two administrations since 1986. Three of the eight appointments have been filled by sons of former judges and one by the son of a former county executive.

Appointments based on merit, election or when a confirmation process is involved do not result in children succeeding parents in important positions in high percentages. For example, only 1 percent of current National Football league players are sons of former N.F.L. players, only 3 percent of present U.S. senators are sons of former senators and no Supreme Court justice has ever been succeeded by his child.

I would not be running if I did not believe I was the best qualified of the candidates. As a former assistant state's attorney for almost 10 years and a lecturer at the School of Law of the University of Baltimore for more than 15 years, I am not in any sense an "ambitious attorney" with "nothing to lose." I have never before sought political office and do so, at this time, only to assure that voters elect the best qualified candidates and not merely rubber stamp political appointments.

To this date, there has been no acknowledgment of my candidacy by your paper. Therefore, my qualifications could not have been compared before your endorsement of the sitting judges. I expect, in fairness, you will give my candidacy and qualifications equal mention in future editions. How else are the voters of Baltimore County to know they do have a choice?

Joseph S. Lyons.

Baltimore.

Canadian Health Care

Editor: President Bush misspoke in his attempt to sell his "food stamp" health care insurance. He might have checked his facts first with the British Columbia Ministry of Health.

As an American living in Canada since 1977, I can vouch for the superiority of the health care system here. My B.C. Medical Services Plan premium is $35 ($30 U.S.) per month. My 1990 income tax was $4,405.62 on a taxable income of $25,871.90.

One November night in 1987 I shattered my kneecap in a rural bike accident. I got immediate attention in the emergency room at the modern Grand Forks (pop. 8,000) hospital. In the morning I was transferred by ambulance 60 miles to Trail Regional Hospital. I was in surgery by 1 p.m.

I spent a total of eight nights in hospital with plenty of attention from my surgeon and the nursing staff. Back home in Grand Forks, I went for physiotherapy five days a week for several months.

I was billed $60 for the ambulance ride and $100 for the stay in the hospital. The hospital lent me a pair of crutches. The physiotherapy was free (now $5 a visit). By May, I was training tree planters in rough terrain. Today, I can run on that knee.

Here in Vancouver I had a similar experience with an attack of food poisoning -- immediate attention at an emergency room, my choice of hospital, which happened to be the nearest one.

Everyone has a Care Card, similar to a credit card. You can choose your doctor. Doctors bill the plan using a rate schedule negotiated with the ministry.

For a Christmas visit to Oklahoma, I paid $11 to have my coverage extended for the seven days in my barbaric homeland.

George Bush's devotion to serving business special interests is just as obsolete as devotion to Lenin's ideology in Russia. People shouldn't have to suffer from either one.

Gary Ogletree.

Vancouver, Canada.

Anti-Union Bias

Editor: In response to the Jan. 19 prevailing wage article in The Sun, it is obvious that David Conn, the writer of your recent article on prevailing wage, is biased toward unions.

Union contractors set a high standard of work ethics through training, education and pride. Our five-year steamfitters' apprenticeship classes are funded through our own union without taxpayers' money.

In recent years the non-union sector of construction has been pushing and lobbying for a bill that would allow for taxpayers money to be used to educate and train non-union workers. The non-union contractor is pushing for repeal of the prevailing wage law because he is already paying a substandard wage to uneducated workers with very limited skills. The turnover rate of non-union workers is substantially high.

To abolish this law would lead to rampant abuse of workers by the non-union contractor. If you have friends who are in non-union shops, ask them whether they would rather work for $9 or $20 an hour?

The taxes paid on a prevailing wage job by workers are twice as high as compared to a job without the prevailing wage.

The losers in this matter would be both the state coffers and the construction industry which has built this great state.

Mark S. Jackman.

Baltimore.

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