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Democrats' Plan: More Taxing And SpendingGood morning...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Democrats' Plan: More Taxing And Spending

Good morning and congratulations, America! The May 28 headline in The Sun announces: "House Passes Clinton Plan by 219 to 213 . . . Deficit Reduction Package Now Goes to the Senate." Deficit Reduction Plan, indeed!

We have now replaced the incredibly successful "supply-side" economic programs of the Ronald Reagan era, which spurred the longest sustained economic expansion in American history, with the failed liberal Democratic "tax and spend" policies of yesteryear.

Previous incarnations of "tax and spend" brought us misery in the form of 17-plus percent inflation and interest rates as high as 20 percent during the presidency of Jimmy Carter. Now, President Clinton, the unelected "demi-president" Hillary Rodham Clinton and their unrepentant liberal cronies in the Democratic Party in Congress have slid their hands deeper into our wallets to bring you the glories of:

* Billions in increased income taxes. The largest, most economically devastating tax increase in American history. During the campaign, Mr. Clinton promised to raise taxes on only the "rich who got richer under Reaganomics," those earning more than $200,000 per year. Instead, the increased taxes now hit everyone earning more than $20,000 per year. Anyone trying to make it in Baltimore on $20,000 per year will gladly tell you that he or she is not rich!

* Increased taxes on gasoline, Social Security benefits, medical insurance, retirement funds and possibly even a further 22 percent value-added tax on everything. These "revenue enhancements" will be used to increase spending on special interest groups. . . . * Increased Democratic "pork barrel" spending on such desperately needed infrastructure projects that will promote "long-term job growth" as: a bicycle path in Lancaster, Cal., $17.3 million; a gambling casino in West Haven, Conn., $1 million; a movie theater in Columbus, Ohio, $2.7 million; a pool in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, $1.2 million and much, much more. . . .

Also, a reduction in funds appropriated for drug and tax law enforcement, which will be used to increase salaries in the White House by $7.4 million; an increased deficit of $916 billion over the next four years -- that's an average increase of $62 billion per year over the "dreaded" Reagan-Bush deficits; "spending cuts" (mostly composed of accounting tricks, smoke and mirrors) which won't even take effect until after the next election; $17 in new taxes for every $1 cut from spending, and the money is not even targeted at reducing the deficit, and a new "industrial policy" to help American industry recover from the devastation of the new taxes and reduced consumption caused by Clintonomics, which will wipe out American competitiveness, force businesses to lay off workers, and result in protectionism and trade wars which will obliterate the world economy, turning the U.S. into a socialistic wasteland.

Remarkably, even The Sun, which has never been known to be a conservative newspaper and has endorsed the liberal Democratic party line since before I can remember, called the "Deficit Reduction Plan" ("Democrats Out On A Limb," May 27) worthless without "real curbs on government spending," which the big-spending liberal Democrats in Congress refuse to even consider in good faith. . . . We have to do better, America. If we don't want to end up an unproductive, polluted, bureaucratically controlled wasteland like the former Communist countries, we have to get busy. We need to reduce the size of the government now. We need to reduce federal spending now. We need to return to a time when the federal government only took 9 percent of the Gross National Product (GNP) for all its dealings, leaving us with 91 percent of the GNP to do with as we saw fit, instead of taking 20 percent (and growing), leaving us with only 80 percent for our own needs (1990 figures). . . .

David C. Stark

Bel Air

The Bel Air School Board Caucus Was Not Religiously 'Packed'

This letter is in response to the May 23 article, "Caucus to Review Procedure," regarding the results of the caucus vote for Bel Air representative to the Harford County school board.

The accompanying figures analyze the composition of the caucus by groups. For all the emphasis by candidates that partnerships should be forged with local businesses to help in the education process, no delegates representing businesses were present.

Of those 12 groups present, the civic group was largest, constituting about 41 percent of the caucus body. Next was the religious group at 32 percent, followed by the education group at 26 percent.

Many schools of Harford County did not send delegates. Does this imply a lack of interest in the selection of school board nominees? No one can tell, of course, why groups were not represented. (There are under 50 . . . schools in the county. Not all were represented. There are 150 to 200 local churches and religious groups in the county. Not all were represented.)

But one can tell that civic groups were intensely interested in the future of education in Harford County. For every 10 civic delegates, there were eight religious delegates and six education delegates.

Is it a bad thing to be a delegate with a civic orientation? Is it a bad thing to be a delegate representing a religious organization? Are educators the only ones who know what an education is about? The origination of major schools in our country was done by religious groups; the entire foundation of education in the United States of America came about because religious groups knew the value of a thorough education with moral underpinnings. The products of the education process (graduating students) in Harford County should be educated to become capable, active, responsible citizens in the businesses, civic groups and religious bodies of the community. Some students will choose to become part of the education process itself. So a mix of delegates to select nominees for the school board is appropriate.

Note that "national religious groups" constituted two of the 112 groups. That is 1.7 percent of the registered groups sending delegates to the caucus. This is hardly stacking the deck by national religious groups to get their candidate nominated.

If local chapters of national religious groups are to be disallowed and prohibited to participate in selecting a nominee, how can local chapters of Republicans and Democrats be permitted to remain as delegates to "sway the vote"? Who should "scrub" the list to find only "correct" voting groups?

Most of the candidates for the school board are parents, but not all. Many of the delegates attending the caucus have children in the public school system, but not all. Many of the delegates are property owners who pay taxes to support the public school budget, but not all.

Should stringent registration requirements be administered to ensure that only "politically correct" or "educationally correct" delegates be admitted? Should the distribution of delegates mirror the school population with regard to income, profession, subculture, etc.? How far can this type of discrimination be taken in a free democratic society?

Some fine-tuning of the caucus process may help . . . but let us not be hasty to scrap the process simply because some fine-tuning is in order. If that "scrap the process due to failure" were to be applied, since Maryland students can neither read nor write as well as they could 20 to 40 years ago, the education system should be scrapped and another method substituted. (Perhaps the one that used to work?) But no one is suggesting that the entire education system be scrapped, just fixed. The same should hold true for the caucus process.

Maurice D. Milton

Bel Air

Sherrie Ruhl and Karen Remesch's May 23 article on the procesfor electing members of Harford County's Board of Education intrigued me.

The article focused on the concerns and complaints attributed to people who did not attend the Permanent Nominating Caucus meeting but who believe that the selection process was compromised, denying Anne Sterling a second term on the Board of Education which the complainers believe she deserves. It seems that the credentials and ability of the candidates should be the focus of the selection, yet the article did not mention the qualifications of either candidate.

Anne Sterling's credentials and accomplishments during her first term as board member are a matter of public record. Her accomplishments include:

* Sending her child to a private boarding school outside Maryland.

* Addressing the education concerns of the Route 40 Corridor parents by renaming them the "Bay Area Schools."

* Allowing the policy-making Board of Education to become deeply involved in the day-to-day operation of the school system while spending more than $100,000 per year to employ a superintendent to manage the system.

* Suggesting that the debate over planning time for elementary teachers would be resolved by hiring additional art teachers who would entertain the students in the gym with cartoons while other teachers plan.

What are Everett Smith's qualifications and credentials? Perhaps the Permanent Nominating Caucus did select the best candidate.

Tom Fargo

Bel Air

I firmly believe that religion, if it is taught at all, should be taught in churches and synagogues. There is no place for it in public schools. My worst nightmare is a community controlled by pernicious legions of right-wing Bible thumpers.

The disservice done to Harford County by the Rev. Jeffrey Wilson's County Council presidency alone is enough to satisfy me that my fears are well-founded. I do, however, acknowledge that, in a democracy, everyone has the right to voice their opinions and to seek public office, whatever their indoctrination, even if they are not forthcoming about their designs.

As much as I object to finding myself on the same side of the fence as the "religious right" on any issue, that is exactly where I appear to be regarding the recent school board caucus. . . .

Like it or not, the majority ruled, and those who are objecting, especially in the case of the Harford County Education Association, are digging deep for reasons and coming up with nothing but unsubstantiated attacks. The delegates from the HCEA, by their own admission, went into the caucus looking for irregularities in the voting procedure. When they saw what they interpreted as efforts by religious groups to subvert the voting process, they did not contact any of the members of the Permanent Nominating Caucus. Rather than take the time to verify attempts at tampering, the HCEA immediately began slinging mud.

One can't help but wonder if their complaints about the process would have arisen if the outcome had been what they had hoped for. I am surprised to see these educated professionals wasting valuable time whining when they have legitimate recourse that they should be pursuing. The Harford County Permanent Nominating Caucus vote determines who will be recommended for appointment, not who will be appointed. . . .

Jean Thomas, president of the Harford County Education Association, said: "This appears to have been a very well-organized group of people who were determined that their candidate win." Sounds like democracy to me.

If conservative religious groups actually did rally to ensure the nomination of their candidate, maybe the HCEA and like-minded thinkers should start hustling now for similar support next year. .. .

Frank Soltis

Fallston

Groups Registered

Type of Group.. .. .. .. ..Number.. .. ..Percent

Business.. .. .. .. .. .. ...0 .. .. .. .. .0

Civic .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..47 .. .. .. ..42

Educational .. .. .. .. .. ..29 .. .. .. ..26

Religious .. .. .. .. .. .. .36 .. .. .. ..32

Totals .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 112 .. .. .. .100

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