Congress should seize upon VATThis is a...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Congress should seize upon VAT

This is a suggestion to Congress that they place a Value Added Tax on all goods and services consumed by the citizenry. But, unlike Mr. Clinton's proposed Value Added Tax, this VAT would replace all local, state and federal income taxes, instead of being added onto them.

This would be a fairer tax, since it would represent a levy on consumption rather than on earning power. Thus, the families that enjoyed the higher standards of living -- expensive homes, automobiles, private schools, country clubs, food, clothing, dining out, vacations, ad infinitum -- would pay far more in taxes than the average citizen.

Another plus for the VAT system would be the elimination of the Internal Revenue Service. This, in itself, would make life more pleasant for all citizens, since they would not have to worry about meeting deadlines.

And, while the citizens would be happier, think of the billions of dollars that would be saved by the elimination of all of the paper and paperwork, office space rental, personnel, computers, and telephone and wireless communication cost.

It would probably represent the biggest bonanza since the income tax was invented, and it would bring to a halt . . . the addition of several stupefying amendments each and every year.

Ellis M. Woodward

Baltimore

Waco 'holocaust'

April 1993, and the doors open on a memorial and an eternal message about barbarianism and courage. April 1993, and the doors close on the lives of 24 children, and another holocaust punctuates mankind's history.

Dare I link the solemn, stark and evocative greatness of the Holocaust Memorial with the terror of Waco? I think that it honors the memorial to do so. I think Waco clearly underscores that we have yet to learn or respect the message delivered by the memorial.

We must begin to learn of the sanctity of human life, and we must make that realization the foundation of our future existence.

Then we build the laws, then we take the necessary actions, then we determine what is wise and what is only indifferent muscle-flexing, and then we suffer the children to remain among as our affirmation of the future.

Accusatory fingers will be pointing for weeks. Polls and politics will decry the Waco story from every conceivable angle but, I fear, one: the horror, the inhumanity, of the immolation of our progeny.

Waddell Robey

Baltimore

Quayle critic

Wiley Hall really conned someone into printing a column of absolutely no importance ("So Quayle is pro-family -- big deal!" April 18). It sounds like he is merely jealous, since there is no other purpose for the piece.

With killing and starvation throughout the world, as well as our own wasting of Earth's resources, Mr. Hall has nothing to talk about except a former vice president.

You don't have to be a social scientist. Anyone with common sense -- even drunks and Al Sharpton -- knows that the family is the core of society and that money never solves any problem.

Just because Mr. Quayle attacked Murphy Brown, he is chastised. The elite in Hollywood have tremendous power and access. They show little ability to present meaningful material without relying on sex, violence and their own agenda.

R. D. Bush

Columbia

Traffic scofflaws

Why are stop signs, speed limits, traffic signals, school zones and the Maryland Drivers Handbook consistently disregarded by motorists? Could it be that the majority is aware that nothing is being done to enforce these safety admonitions?

Let's spend less time and money deciding how to add new laws or amend old ones and more time and money enforcing existing laws and administering the necessary punishment to deter future disregard for laws.

M. Charles Golden

Baltimore

Paternity court

Regarding Laura Lippman's glowing article on Prince George's County's paternity establishment system (April 25), I feel compelled to point out that many other jurisdictions have similarly strong commitments.

Recently the Baltimore City Child Support Leadership Committee -- which consists of a judge, state's attorney, clerk of the court, city and state child support administrators and Sheriff's Department -- met on their day off to address these very problems.

I hope people do not get the impression from Ms. Lippman's article that their counties are not actively working on this issue and trying to improve child support and paternity establishment systems.

Meg Sollenberger

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the state Child Support Enforcement Administration.

Blaming the victim

The recent statements in Baltimore County Circuit Court made by Judge Thomas Bollinger serve to illustrate how easily violence is accepted in our society.

Recently Judge Bollinger chose to make his own personal interpretation of the law as he sentenced a man convicted of second-degree rape.

According to Judge Bollinger, it is possible for an unconscious woman to have consensual sexual relations.

Although the accused man had been convicted, the judge gave him the minimum possible sentence, since, as the judge stated, the law was not intended to cover situations in which the victim is unconscious as a result of intoxication.

As The Sun reported, however, this is precisely the intent of the law, and the judge blatantly chose to ignore the statute in his ruling.

"Blaming the victim," as Judge Bollinger has done, has served to justify and perpetuate violence by men against women for generations. Although the legislature has clearly rejected this concept, Judge Bollinger has sidestepped the law. Sadly, as long as society accepts such beliefs, the violence will continue.

There is one positive note. In the more than 20 years I have been eligible to vote, I have never missed an opportunity to go to the polls and express my preference.

However, I have always been troubled by our system of electing judges, because it is the one area in which I feel unable to make an informed choice. Now for the first time, I will know who not to vote for.

Barbara Payne Shelton

Towson

Exploiting Waco

Perhaps in assessing blame beyond the mind of David Koresh the media should contemplate its own role in exploiting and escalating a truly psychotic situation.

Mary O. Styrt

Baltimore

Lack of opportunity can cause crime

Because of a couple of well-publicized crimes committed in the Liberty Road corridor recently, panic had become the buzzword, and businesses are being urged to arm themselves to the maximum.

Allow me the opportunity to set the record straight. Liberty Road has gotten a bad rap. Countywide crime statistics are no more alarming in this corridor than they are in most areas of our county, especially crimes against businesses.

Additionally, money spent by commercial establishments to arm themselves with security guards and off-duty policemen is not only money unwisely spent, but also counter-productive.

The commission of most crime is one of the many ills we face that is part of a larger problem in our community.

The lack of jobs, the lack of opportunity and the lack of good work ethics are the primers behind the motivation for many in our community to resort to crime.

Our efforts and our money should be spent to address the problem rather than preparing ourselves for a known result with problems left unresolved.

With the summer fast approaching, I would like to put out a challenge to the Liberty Road Development Corporation. Instead encouraging businesses along Liberty Road to spend money to support a commercial security district, I propose to have them join with the Coalition of Concerned African American Organizations in its summer job program, Project One Thousand.

This program will identify and solicit 1,000 summer jobs for youths in the Greater Liberty Road/Woodlawn/Catonsville area from country businesses.

The program will also solicit funds to sponsor recreational activities in county recreation centers, church summer school programs and other neighborhood activity centers.

If our joint effort can touch the lives of 1,000 youths in our greater community, we will go a long way toward cementing a community/business relationship that is badly needed, and one that will bear fruit for a long time.

It is high time that business owners learn that the key to their safety and to their prosperity is not in fortifying their positions, but rather in reaching out to a community that supports and patronizes them.

Harold G. Gordon

Baltimore

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