Let's get serious about the deficitI don't...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Let's get serious about the deficit

I don't remember the exact figures that Congress or President Clinton are using in their claims to balance the budget. I do know both are only spouting politics.

It will be good if they save us $250 billion over seven or 10 years. However, the national debt is growing by about $1 billion a day. And that's just to pay the interest on the debt.

By this time next year, we'll be about $365 billion deeper in debt than we are today. In seven years, we'll be $2,555 billion deeper in debt. In 10 years we'll be $3,650 billion deeper. And the principal won't necessarily be smaller.

Congress and the president know this. They talk as if cutting the deficit by $250 billion is going to save the day. It's subversive of them and of the news media to ignore the debt. The deficit and the national debt may be on different ledgers but American taxpayers owe both, thanks to Congress.

This country is in terrible trouble. It seems no one wants to talk about it. Instead of haggling over whether they're going to cut a billion here or there, our "leaders" need to start cutting everything that's not essential.

And Congress ought to rethink the North American Free Trade Agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. An average of one company each day relocated abroad during the first year of NAFTA. Sending abroad our jobs and the tax base that goes with them won't help us out of this disaster.

America is too wonderful to lose through stupidity or politics.

Russell T. Forte

Colesville

Family doctors are here to stay

In Diana K. Sugg's news story, "Farewell to the family physician," Oct. 23, only part of the story was told.

The physician-patient relationship has been shaken but will remain intact. Yes, it's true that with managed care, many have had to choose different physicians due to the quest for cost-effective health care purchasing of most employers.

However, by virtue of the Patient Access Act, passed by the 1995 Maryland General Assembly, health maintenance organizations will be mandated to offer point-of-service alternatives to patients, with part of the cost passed on to the patient.

Of course, this additional cost may become an issue but, at least, patients will be able to keep their "out-of-network" physicians if they wish, or choose to start anew.

By the way, no need to say farewell to family physicians. Medical students are choosing the specialty of family practice in record numbers (still far too few to meet the need).

In this age of reform where so many Marylanders remain under-insured or uninsured, the family physician (in conjunction with other primary care physicians and allied health professionals) remains the most accessible, cost-effective choice for continual health care.

sther Rae Barr

Catonsville

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Academy of Family Physicians.

Sending the poor from city to county

I am genuinely saddened to see Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger and Representatives Benjamin Cardin and Robert Ehrlich circling the wagons to keep subsidized housing out of Baltimore County.

I would think they would be at pains to understand, assuage and eliminate unreasoning white fears rather than to legitimate them and become the champions of a new generation of segregationist resistance.

Perhaps they will see the wisdom of studying David Rusk's new report, "Baltimore Unbound," and of lending themselves to the effort to adapt Mr. Rusk's proposals to local possibilities.

Hal Riedl

Baltimore

Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger is to be commended for challenging the latest federal interference in local affairs, namely the exporting of low-cost housing from Baltimore City.

Mayor Kurt Schmoke and his band of ne'er-do-wells have enlisted the federal government and the liberal ACLU to export that housing along with their related social and economic costs to the surrounding counties.

This is not the racial issue that some would make it. It is economic. The added costs are not ones that the counties are wiling or able to shoulder. Mayor Schmoke should use the next four years of his administration to better the quality of life in Baltimore City.

Exporting the less fortunate is not the answer.

Lawrence Schaffer

Phoenix

Governor panders to gun lobby

Gov. Parris Glendening recently had an opportunity to actually govern in the aftermath of the tragic shooting of Maryland State Trooper Edward A. Plank Jr. The governor could have praised the valiant efforts of Andrew Robinson, the citizen who apprehended the second suspect in the murder. Also, he could have acknowledged the bravery and competence of the state police in the investigation of this heinous crime.

Instead, Mr. Glendening chose to remind Marylanders of the prevalence of "gun violence" in Maryland. Obviously, pandering the gun-control lobby is more important to the governor than acting like the state's highest elected official.

Michael Horst

Baltimore

Circuit Court needs more like Judge Bothe

I read with great dismay that the Honorable Elsbeth Bothe was not recommended for another judicial term on the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.

The selection process has surely failed in this instance.

For many years as a lawyer, Elsbeth Bothe was a champion of the underdog and an advocate for the poor.

In her 17 years as a judge she has been hard-working, honest and tough. She has refused to allow her concept of justice to be diluted or subject to political pressure.

I do not think that the judicial system in Baltimore will benefit from her exclusion, rather her conscience and courage are needed there. She should be reappointed.

Anton J. S. Keating

Baltimore

Ho's high-mindedness enriched Maryland TV

I was impressed with the fairness your Oct. 23 editorial, "Crossroads for MPT," showed to both sides. There were many considerations you left out, however, which supported Raymond position and which were well documented on WCBM radio that day.

Having known Mr. Raymond Ho for many years, having served as chairman of the Society for Excellence for MPT in 1994-'95, I can only say I respect and admire him greatly.

His is a truly brilliant, creative mind, and he demonstrated, as you so fairly cited in your editorial, his capabilities. It is always difficult for the conventional wisdom to deal with highly creative talent, and vice-versa.

It would be my wish that these two important factions could learn and use the conflict resolution process and find a means of augmenting Mr. Ho's high-minded and fine-spirited concerns, rather than discouraging them.

We desperately need TV programs that enrich rather than pollute the viewers in Maryland. MPT is the one station I can recommend to my family for assured inspiration and learning.

Libby Rouse

Baltimore

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