Generations to come will pay our deficits
For the first time in several decades, Congress has the opportunity to restore fiscal responsibility by balancing the federal budget. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to stop borrowing from their future to finance our current expenses.
Deficits conceal the cost by deferring the payment. One doesn't need to be an economist or business person to understand that future generations will all pay dearly for the current multi-billion deficit levels through inflation and interest rates, an overvalued dollar and trade deficits, fewer investments and a weaker economy, with higher unemployment levels.
There is the additional inequity of the richest country in the world turning to foreign investors to help finance its government deficit.
In 1984, Maryland State Sen. James Clark said, "In my lifetime, only the winning of World War II deserved a higher priority than balancing the federal budget."
Milton Eisenhower was also a strong advocate of a balanced federal budget: "It is imperative for the public to act, they have the right to act, and should require Congress to act at once, the danger of financial collapse can no longer be tolerated."
John Maynard Keynes, an advocate of liberal economics policies, recognized the dangers to society from persistent deficits: "There is no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society then to debauch the currency, the process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose."
In 1975, Maryland became the fourth state to call for a balanced federal budget. In 1985, an effort on the part of some Maryland legislators to rescind that call was soundly defeated.
Maryland citizens need to let their representatives know that we believe this is a "defining" issue in the history of the Congress, and urge them to support efforts to balance the budget and to save the Medicare Trust Fund from bankruptcy.
Robert L. Tate
The writer is chairman of Marylanders for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.
It takes a lot to pay down debt
Congress is well on the way to balancing the federal budget within seven years. We will experience smaller and smaller deficits until the end of the seven-year period when that goal is achieved.
Then what? The national debt will be in the $6-to 7 trillion range. We will continue to pay interest on the debt.
Will we, at that point, as a national mortgage company might say, "pay down our debt"? Wouldn't we have to experience surplus of around $200 billion for 30-to-35 years to really get out of the hole?
I'm just a lowly accountant, but I was wondering.
Accident wasn't mechanical failure
The great tragedy in the Midwest, in which a train struck a bus temporarily parked on the track waiting for a light to change, is being attributed to failure in a lighting arrangement. This is ridiculous. No vehicle, especially one carrying numerous individuals, should cross any track until the driver can visualize a space on the other side large enough to accommodate that conveyance.
After doing so, the operator must proceed to a point which takes the vehicle fully beyond that track. This is simple logic.
Maryland judges used whipping post penalty
I write to comment upon the Oct. 23 letter of my good friend, Edward H. Nabb, prominent Dorchester County attorney, relative to the whipping post and wife beaters.
He commented upon its use in Delaware, but we had it in Maryland until, as I recall, 1953.
In 1952, I was a member of the Commission to Revise the Criminal Law of Maryland, which was chaired by John Raine, later chief judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore County.
As I recall we recommended to the General Assembly repeal of this wife-beating penalty, which was sometimes used. I have a recollection of reading in your paper during my law school years of 1937-41 of Judge J. Owen Knotts of our Second Judicial Circuit having sentenced someone in Cecil County to a given number of lashes.
My very good friend and colleague, Judge J. Dudley Digges, was authority for the fact that Judge Charles C. Marbury, a longtime judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, with whom Judge Digges served on the trial court and I served on the Court of Appeals, from time to time sentenced wife-beaters to the post with the observation that he never had any repeat offenders.
Marvin H. Smith
Mental gymnastics not required
I must respond to Peter Jay's Oct. 19 column, "Work to overcome Farrakhan's message." He describes the march as "both preposterous and discouraging," and that "the insidious old double standard demands that Mr. Farrakhan and his message be separated, no matter what intellectual gymnastics that requires."
I admit that I viewed the march with trepidation during the past few weeks.
I am knowledgeable of Louis Farrakhan's views, and I find his separatist "solutions" to African-American problems reprehensible.
The march, however, turned out to be an unadulterated success.
The true messages delivered, by speakers other than Mr. Farrakhan, spoke of self-worth, self-responsibility, family values and an end to violence. These are messages so powerful they dwarf any speaker, good or bad, who spreads them.
Mr. Jay implies that the majority of African-American men who attended don't work and don't acknowledge their families.
On the contrary, all of the men I know who participated are degreed professionals who work hard for their families and community, and who do not necessarily espouse the separatist, racist rhetoric of Mr. Farrakhan.
It is patronizing to say that people who attended may find it hard to separate the message from the messenger and stereotypical to think that everyone who attended agreed with everything that was said.
I do not think that the "intellectual gymnastics" required to digest information and form an individual opinion are particularly difficult.
Win home in suburbs the old-fashioned way
Kudos to George Decker's letter, "Rental vouchers' wrong message," Oct. 30.
We, too, live in the city, work long hours, never call in sick and save what we can in hopes to someday move out of the city.
What has happened to common sense? Let the working stiffs of the city and surrounding counties finally rise up and say we've had enough.
If you want to move to the county, get a job, save your money and then you'll appreciate and take care of where you live.