With great amusement, I read your Sept. 17 article on the Republican pollster's memo advising GOP lawmakers on ways to sell the dismantling of Medicare as we know it. Apparently, when Newt's Know-Nothings in the House aren't having their thinking done for them by the speaker, pollsters step in to tutor them.
The Democrats must be in better shape than I thought. But just in case they aren't in better shape, I offer the following rebuttal memo for their use.
First, in all probability, none of the Social Security/Medicare trust funds would be going broke if they were treated as true trust funds, in the manner that Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York has suggested. Our willingness to feed on our seed corn has much to do with the present crisis.
Second, every Republican budget in the past 15 years has been based on spending this seed corn, so that they may (to borrow a phrase) comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted.
Third, current Republican-proposed cuts go well beyond what is needed to save Medicare and are solely offered to provide the aforementioned comfort via tax breaks and subsidies.
Fourth, the view of Democrats as corrupt defenders of a $H bureaucratic, out-of-touch status quo is a ridiculous falsehood. Many of the better ideas in the GOP proposal are lifted (in typical only-Nixon-can-go-to-China style) from proposals by President Clinton and other Democrats.
Fifth, remember how GOP lawmakers screamed that health care was too big an issue to be resolved in a single session of Congress? Now, they want to radically "reform" a major component in less than 30 days.
Sixth, Republicans should stop trying to sell the public on gimmicks. Just as their proposals for private school vouchers wouldn't even begin to cover the real costs of tuition, the medical savings accounts they're advocating wouldn't start to cover the real costs of most medical procedures.
Seventh, there would be no Medicare or reform without a Democratic Party prepared to fight for all Americans. Democrats have no need to fear a party that advocates socialism for those who least need it.
Stephen R. Rourke
Expand sin attractions and fill state's coffers
I've been following with interest the debates over casino gambling in Maryland. I'm wondering if anyone else has had the same brilliant inspiration as I did.
If we're going to make gambling a state business, why not prostitution and drugs? We could have entire villages devoted to pleasure -- 1890s-style bordellos, opium dens with faux Oriental decor, razzle-dazzle theme parks where a round of gambling earns you ride tickets . . . in no time, we'd be rolling in money.
And since we're eliminating welfare and most public support for education, we ought to have plenty of money to build public golf courses and sports stadiums, leaving the ordinary citizen free to spend his own hard-earned dollars building walls around his house, hiring private guard service -- and paying for his kid's education, if he so chooses.
And this could be our new state motto, emblazoned in flashing lights on arches over the freeways: "Welcome to Merry-Land, where your pleasure is our treasure!"
Elizabeth A. Fixsen
Bring expatriate home from China
I was appalled after reading the Sept. 24 article, "Stateless American languishes in China." I was of the opinion that even if you were born in a foreign country, as long as one of your parents was an American citizen you, too, were an American citizen.
I believe it would be a gesture of compassion, if nothing else, to assist this woman in entering the U.S. and allow her to breathe freedom before she expires.
What she is experiencing now, at the hands of not only the Chinese government but also of some bureaucratic idiot in Washington, is the denial of freedom that we hold so dear. We turn our heads at the illegal aliens who come into this country and sap our jobs and energies, yet we deny this harmless woman the right to at least die in dignity.
Let us, as a nation, rise to the call of humanity, and bring Marjorie Fuller "home," where she rightfully belongs.
John F. Thomas
Greedy merger leads to layoffs, welfare
With the proposed merger between BGE and PEPCO will come another major layoff.
Both sides agreed that 10 percent of the work force will be let go after the merger. That will be the loss of 4,000-plus jobs in a state's economy already hit hard by major layoffs and too few good jobs to replace the ones already lost.
In the wake of this most profitable merger for both companies will be the disrupted lives of thousands of families.
In exchange they offer the customers of both companies rate reductions. In reality the few dollars saved each month on our gas and electric bills will be more than offset by the millions of dollars that will be needed by the state to help the families of the displaced workers with welfare aid.
When economic history looks back on the 1990s, it will be remembered as the decade when Wall Street mauled Main Street.