Fare increases defeat goals of mass transit
The recent increases in mass transit fares seem to be self-defeating.
The entire purpose of mass transit is to encourage people to travel sans automobiles. Raising the cost of mass transit only serves to punish commuters who are the solution to the problem.
The touted $3-a-day, all-purpose pass is really an illusory bargain because much of our high-tech mass transit has the disturbing tendency not to intersect with each other.
The only way fare increases can be justified is to give commuters more bang for their buck.
It should not escape notice that every time the light rail or the subway is extended, it attracts considerably more riders than the projected prognostications.
For instance, the $3 daily pass for all forms of public transit could be utilized to build a subway line from Camden Yards to Penn Station, stopping at Charles Center in between. This would connect both MARC lines, Amtrak, the subway, the light rail, the airport and the new stadium.
Paul R. Schlitz Jr.
David Zinman's dazzling record
For the past 10 years, David Zinman has pursued a dazzling artistic vision for our orchestra. His focus has been on precise ensemble, transparent textures, dramatic balances and the mastery of a wide range of musical styles and repertoire. His understanding and love for all types of music is surpassed only by the energy and meticulous preparation he brings to each rehearsal. On a daily basis, his gift for entertainment makes us laugh and stretches our musical imaginations with metaphors and images designed to evoke musical nuance and character.
It is no surprise that his expertise and commitment to quality have won the loyalty of many of the world's greatest musicians. This has made it possible for us to enjoy special collaborations with renowned soloists and composers. Many of these projects have attracted international acclaim and enhanced the musical atmosphere at the Meyerhoff. By performing large-scale repertoire and contemporary music, he has expanded our technical facility and musical capabilities. His commitment to activities such as recording, touring and broadcasting has propelled our orchestra to a peak level of artistic achievement.
David's American roots are apparent in his non-traditional approach to many types of music, innovative presentations and unprecedented communication with our audience. Indeed, he will do almost anything if it will help send the musical message to the listener. He challenges us to transcend our technical limitations and individual interpretations and become one voice expressing the emotional content of the music.
David Zinman came with a desire to develop the talents he found here. After 10 years, when many would have grown stale, our partnership with him has reached a new level of appreciation and understanding, invigorated and posed for its prime. Our vision for the future includes David Zinman for many years to come.
The writer is the chairman of the players' committee of the musicians of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Party labels obscure historical origins
In her Jan. 15 letter, "Budget debate is 200 years old," Alexandra Lee Levin writes that the Republican Party was founded by Thomas Jefferson.
While I'm sure this fits nicely with current rhetoric, it is patently untrue. In fact, Jefferson founded a party called the Democratic-Republican Party. The name was changed to the Democratic Party at their 1832 convention held in Baltimore.
The Republican Party as we know it today came along shortly before the Civil War and was represented by a man named Abraham Lincoln.
RTC doesn't deserve such praise
Having been among the unfortunate ones who had to file a claim with the Resolution Trust Corporation, naturally I noticed your Jan. 5 editorial, "Hail and farewell, RTC," which said the RTC had completed a job well done. I also read the Jan. 20 letter from Edwin S. Crawford, "Resolution Trust Corp. did the job well."
Perhaps, before the praises get out of hand, you should hear from some of the people who filed claims. While an institution is under the supervision of the Office of Thrift Supervision and RTC, it is not responsible for any information, inaccurate suggestions and/or advice that a depositor receives from the bank or its employees, no matter how much loss that advice may cause.
It is my opinion that the RTC was a salvage operation and to continue to let depositors lose large sums of money while under its watch certainly does not deserve a lot of praise.
The losses suffered by some of the depositors on the advice of bank personnel are a disgrace to our system.
Balanced budget just the beginning
With some amusement, I read the Jan. 27 letter from Gerald Ben Shargel, "Getting rid of the deficit could hurt more." I did not take the trouble to check his research for accuracy, but was amused from the perspective of his overlooking the fact that the federal government does not have a dime of money of its own. It must tax us (and businesses) to guarantee the value of its printed currency or borrow the money from other sources (e.g., sell bonds and treasury notes that constitute debt).
We, as a nation, now owe about $5 trillion in debt. If the deficit is allowed to exist at about $200 billion or more per year, every five years our national debt will have increased by $1 trillion. At a modest 4 percent rate, our payments this year will be about $200 billion in interest alone.
The facts are that the $200 billion deficit would not be maintained under President Clinton. Instead it would constantly grow larger because of his liberal social agenda.
Each trillion-dollar increase in debt will cause an additional $40 billion in interest per year at 4 percent. For each percentage point the interest rate increases, our interest payment would increase by $50 billion at today's national debt level. Where is this money going to come from?
The Republicans that Mr. Shargel vilifies have not addressed paying down the national debt, only coming to a point in the year 2002 when we would no longer increase the national debt through continually having unbalanced budgets. Even if the Republicans had their way completely and were successful in balancing the budget by 2002, the national debt would still be about $6 trillion at that time.
The out-of-balance budgets we have run for the past 40-50 years must come to a stop, regardless of consequence, since we cannot continue borrowing at the rate we have in the past. In order to accomplish this we have no choice but to cut back on the social agenda we have come to substitute for family values of the past and take responsibility for ourselves.
The federal government does not have all the solutions to our ills, as a nation or as individuals, regardless of what the politicians say or may want you to believe.
With freedom comes a demand for individual responsibility. Let's join together and correct the mistakes of the past with solutions for the future that will salvage this great nation of ours. A balanced budget is the only good way to start.
Sewell R. Marsh