It's not so easy to move when you are poor
Marc Fisher, in a Feb. 2 letter ("Tenants should have moved out of squalor") concerning reports that Jack Reed, a superintendent of city housing inspectors, is the owner of substandard housing units, questioned why the tenants did not move.
He seems to be suffering from the same lack of insight as Marie Antoinette, who, when advised during the French Revolution that the people had no bread, said: "Let them eat cake." Where
would Mr. Fischer have them go? On the street?
I would like to respond to P. Marc Fischer's seemingly simple suggestion that Jack Reed's tenants should merely move out of the run-down, dangerous homes they are renting.
Moving is not that easy. Items such as security deposits, breaking lease agreements and rental vans cost money.
Lack of money is what forces slum tenants to survive in such deplorable environments. Not everyone shares the luxury to pack up and leave when things get tough.
Business needs less taxes and regs
I'm not surprised, but am frustrated by the positions taken by Barry Rascovar's Jan. 28 column.
To summarize his two main points, tax cuts are bad and regulatory reform is good. He is half wrong and half right; unfortunately he is grossly wrong and insufficiently right.
A tax cut, rightly proposed by business leaders and (too few) legislators, is absolutely necessary. Capital fuels economic activity and leads to growth.
"Christmas sales were horrid, and the blizzard cost the local economy a billion or more..." Obviously, more money available in the economy is desperately required.
When people keep more of their own hard-earned money, one of two things happens. The money is either spent (economic activity), or saved/invested (lowering the cost to borrow).
Either way leads to economic growth. Some examples: President Kennedy cut tax rates and increased federal receipts; President Reagan cut tax rates and in eight years tax revenues doubled.
More recently, New Jersey and Michigan cut taxes to spur economic growth and balance their budgets and succeeded.
So why won't this strategy work for Maryland? The need to balance the state budget? Then spend less. (We don't have to fill a stadium with accountants to find items to cut.)
Maryland's income tax structure is too high. It and the piggyback tax are inseparable and make for an effective rate of 7.5 percent.
Corporate decision makers do consider the standard of living for themselves and their employees. Companies pay what labor is worth to them. If government takes too much, the workers' standard of living suffers. That's not good for the corporation or the employees.
I heartily agree that regulatory reform is crucial, not only to attract businesses, but more importantly to allow new local businesses to take root and flourish.
But Mr. Rascovar, the governor and too many legislators focus too much on big businesses. The real growth potential is in small business.
Instead of a strategy of using tax money to grow a copse of sequoias, let's grow a whole forest of oaks.
Let's just recognize the value of regulatory relief and lower taxes toward economic growth and make them available to all.
Taxpayers want NFL football team, stadium
Just once I'd like to spend my hard-earned tax dollars on me.
Year after year, I'm forced to support many poor folks who seem to refuse to better themselves or for schools that have a dropout rate of up to 70 percent.
But let me ask to fund an NFL team that will bring much more than additional jobs to the area and I'm greedy and uncompassionate.
The bottom line is: We, the taxpayers, deserve this stadium and all the joys that come with it.
Venus and the moon will put on quite a show
For those who have been wondering, the extremely bright point of light currently in the southwestern sky after sunset is the planet Venus. After the sun and moon, Venus is the third brightest sky object, bright enough to cast a shadow in dark locales and, if the sky is very clear, to be seen in broad daylight.
Ninety percent of the UFO reports that are checked turn out to be sightings of Venus. Through a telescope, Venus exhibits phases like the moon -- crescent, half, gibbous and full. The discovery of that phenomenon by Galileo in 1610 gave major support to the theory of Copernicus that the planets revolve around the sun.
Right now, through a telescope Venus looks like a small, gibbous moon. By mid-May, however, it will be a crescent, sizable enough to detect in steadily held binoculars.
If not "Jack and Jill," the first nursery rhyme we learned was "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Notice that Venus rarely twinkles, thus confirming the oldest law of astrophysics, which states, "Stars twinkle, but planets shine with a steady light."
The above is some of the story of Venus, but what readers should also know is that on the evening of Feb. 21, the moon will pass unusually close to Venus. For inhabitants of Hawaii and the South Pacific, the moon will actually occult (cover) Venus briefly.
Along with total eclipses of the sun and bright comets (one of which we may be treated to in the spring of 1997), close conjunctions of the moon and Venus, the second and third brightest sky objects, are spectacular, memorable events and not to be missed if at all possible.
Weather permitting (a big "if" this time of year) this event will easily be viewable from here. Everyone should circle Feb. 21 on the calendar and at sunset (5:48 p.m. that day) face toward the southwest to witness one of nature's finest celestial shows.
Herman M. Heyn
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