Lick the Problem
Did you ever notice how much worse postage stamps taste every year? (Could it be that we're paying more and more for an institution that has let us down?)
Well, so that the rising cost doesn't hit a sour note too badly, how about flavored stamps? Oh, how sweet it is to be an American.
I am writing in response to your editorial on term limits (Nov. 30). You claim that term limits placed upon senators and representatives would be "foolish and harmful." I wholeheartedly disagree with your statement.
I understand that the proposed term limits will only have an effect on the incoming legislators, but at least that is a start.
Term limits will get rid of the fat cats sitting on Capitol Hill. For example, there will no longer be the Ted Kennedys of the world who have a name and have been living off the system for 32 years.
To address your point about an experienced legislator makes a better legislator, I would like to ask the question how much
experience is necessary?
Once a senator or a representative has been elected to Capitol Hill he or she will be approached by a senator or representative to teach them the ropes of the business.
The reasoning behind the whole idea of term limits is to get new blood into these powerful positions.
My personal opinion is that the reason a person wants to become a legislator on Capitol Hill is to make a difference. The new legislators would be more eager to get started and to show the people who elected them that they can get the job done.
Incumbents and those who have been in Congress for a number of years take a "laissez faire" approach to the government and feel that they will eventually get around to doing the job.
When do the present legislators get down to work, predominantly six months before election time? They try to boost their images as hard workers when in fact the only hard work they have done was to pull a fast one on the people who elected them to Congress.
Those opposed to term limits suggest that they will affect the seniority of the senator or representative.
Seniority does not say a thing about how effective legislators have been during their tenure in office. The top jobs in Congress should go to those who are the most effective and work the hardest, not to those who have been there the longest.
Another issue about term limits is that the American people should vote on this issue rather than the congressmen whom it will affect.
This would be like asking the Congress to vote on another salary increase for themselves. Why is it that term limits are placed upon governors and even the president, but when it comes to members of Congress people become petrified? . . .
Your Dec. 4 paper published an article about Dr. John K. Taylor III and the St. Francis Center at 936 Whitelock Street in Baltimore. Unfortunately, the article failed to mention that Dr. Taylor was honored in October by the American Dental Association with its highest award for Geriatric Dental Health.
In its presentation, the ADA cited Dr. Taylor for developing the Mobile Dental Services, which brings dental treatment to over 2,000 homebound elderly and handicapped people, including 25 nursing homes, three major hospitals and three schools for children with cerebral palsy. The service operates four days a week within a 50 mile radius of Baltimore.
Dr. Taylor, through the assistance of the St. Francis Neighborhood Center, has been able to reach a very large population which would not otherwise receive oral health care.
Murray D. Sykes
K? The writer is president, Maryland State Dental Association.
Trade, not War
I agree with Andrew Bard Schmookler's Dec. 14 Opinion * Commentary article that more than diplomacy is needed to continue the peace process which the end of the Cold War has begun.
Diplomacy is a country's version of international law supported by economic or military force.
Talk is better than war, but average citizens view their leader's international agreements as having little meaning to their lives -- witness the quickly dying GATT controversy. Has anyone spoken out against the North American Free Trade Agreement lately?
Most Americans feel that war and diplomacy are outdated methods for change. The Communist bloc and the West were too powerful to fight each other, and everyone knows that diplomatic agreements play second fiddle to the movement of cash in search of profits.
The question remains, what is the best method to continue the global peace process? I believe effective action has already begun through the trade agreements.
Lowering tariff barriers will enable capitalist forces to maximize the world's labor and raw materials. With jobs come work experience, better life styles and the spread of knowledge.
In developed nations, knowledge of how to compete in a modern work force penetrates to all but a small percentage of citizens. In underdeveloped countries, this knowledge is restricted to a small elite ruling class.
When more people around the world experience the successful application of work methods, that information will penetrate a part of the psyche which only the best professors can reach.
The free-trade process will unleash a natural productive spirit that is adverse to war and destruction. Traders do not want war.
As people amass belongings, they endeavor to protect them, and there is an inclination to be alert to the actions of others which may endanger those possessions.
Facts from FCC
In your Dec. 15 editorial, you give Congress and the Federal Communications Commission "plenty of credit for efficiently introducing" spectrum auctions. We appreciate the compliment.
Your editorial, however, failed to mention certain significant facts concerning our inclusion of small businessmen and -women and small business minorities. They include:
1. For every license in our auctions, men can and will compete against women; non-minorities can and will compete against minorities. (We don't believe in set-asides by race or gender.)
2. In the auctions already completed, small business entrepreneurs -- including men, women, non-minorities and minorities -- have already obtained more licenses to participate in wireless communications than were previously granted in the history of the communications revolution. (We don't think opportunity should be available only to big business. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc., didn't start big.)
3. In the biggest auctions we have already held (narrowband or zTC advanced messaging licenses), minority and women winners paid on a net basis the same as white male winners. That is because all investors valued the competitive multiple licenses as worth essentially the same on a net basis. (So our techniques for broader dissemination of licenses didn't cost the taxpayers a penny.)
4. If anyone defaults -- minority or non-minority, male or female -- we re-auction the license. The public is not out any money. (In a competitive market, you have to expect not everyone will succeed. In this country, no one should be guaranteed business success by the government.)
You agree that it would be better for the country if more women and minorities were represented in ownership ranks in the communications businesses of the future.
You further state that it would be better if all the new small businessmen and -women, minorities and non-minorities who are competing in our auctions entered the auctions on the same basis as the big companies.
But this ignores the hard facts. As every one of them would tell you, without an opportunity to attract capital, these entrepreneurs would not have a chance if we forced them to bid against the global communications giants that populate today's communications markets.
They will tell you that their inability to crack the capital markets is the biggest impediment to their participation in this industry.
Our rules, which provide the ability to make installment payments or otherwise to accommodate for the lower cost of capital available to the huge established players, are narrowly tailored to give the new players fair access to capital.
Good intentions or wishful thinking alone won't get results. But our rules have and will -- in a way that is fair to the players and fair to the taxpayers.
Reed E. Hundt
The writer is the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.