The Baltimore Sun

Heart must be part of budget priorities

State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller says of his strategy to balance Maryland's budget, "You manage it like a businessman manages a business" ("Tough choices," Jan. 11).

Given the high failure rate for businesses, we want to propose a better way: Manage the budget with heart.

When the heart dictates our priorities, essential needs are met first.

But Maryland has lost its heart. It is the wealthiest state in the nation yet it ranks near the bottom in spending on essential services for citizens with severe disabilities.

About 18,000 people with developmental disabilities wait for vital services such as housing and support, and the list is growing as a result of a shortage in funding.

The state must not forget that its constituents are not just numbers on a spreadsheet.

Thousands of them are disabled children and adults who urgently need support.

Let's not forget to consult our hearts when setting budget priorities.

Jennifer Bishop, Baltimore

Tonya Jackson, Prince Frederick

The writers are, respectively, the mother of a disabled child and an advocate for disabled individuals in Calvert County.

Miller's denial no cure for our economic ills

As a former resident of Maryland, I am offended by the arrogance of yet another politician speaking out about something he knows very little about.

Speaking of the economy, state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller states that he knows what our country has been through in the past and this that economic downturn is "nothing" ("Tough choices," Jan. 11).

This statement sounds like it comes from the same playbook as those from the politicians who said that we are in a mental recession and that our economy is fundamentally sound.

Mr. Miller also says that we are not headed for a depression. However, since it took many politicians a long time to admit that we were in a recession, I don't think he can guarantee that we won't sink even further.

I couldn't disagree more with Mr. Miller's statement that what we are facing is "nothing." I think the problem is very real, and many older people like me probably won't see the recovery. That is something.

I agree with Mr. Miller that we can and will survive. But not through denial.

Burl Wolfe, New Freedom, Pa.

History will offer Bush more respect

The Baltimore Sun reached a new low in its petty, disrespectful editorial about President George W. Bush's final press conference ("Happy warrior Bush," Jan. 13).

I'd like to remind the editors that Abraham Lincoln (while campaigning and while serving as president) was once regarded as a joke by the press and some voters, but is now seen as one of our greatest presidents.

I believe that Mr. Bush's accomplishments during his eight years (especially the fact he kept us safe from any more terrorists attacks for seven years following 9/11) will be lauded by historians in the years to come and that The Baltimore Sun's opinion will mean little then, just as it does now.

Gail Householder, Marriottsville

President's defenders rely on poor arguments

The few remaining supporters of President George W. Bush and his administration persistently rely on the same misconceptions when struggling to name the accomplishments of the last eight years (e.g., "Anti-Bush vitriol shows no respect," letters, Jan. 4).

First is the fallacy that Mr. Bush has kept us safe since 9/11.

While it is true that there have been no direct attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11, I am reasonably sure that the American military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan have not felt particularly safe.

One must also consider that al-Qaida works with deliberation and patience; for example, its first attack on the World Trade Center was in 1993, and it did not attack again until 2001.

Second is the myth that Mr. Bush "led the country after 9/11." Pardon me for saying so, but it would have been more effective for him to lead the country before 9/11.

Instead, he spent much of the month prior to the attacks on vacation at his Texas ranch while, in the words of former CIA Director George J. Tenet, "the system was blinking red."

Mr. Bush's determined supporters are going to have to look a little deeper. Doug Ebbert, Bel Air

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