'Ideological Intoxication Ends'
There will be a "Democratic" president in 2008, no matter who wins the election. That is, if either John McCain or Rudy Giuliani, really "Democrats under the red veil," is the Republican candidate ["Ideological Intoxication is Ending," John P. Avlon, Opinion, February 10, 2006].
Right now, it looks like these are the only candidates who really have a chance to beat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. So the Grand Old Party has to decide if it will go with ideology or go to win. If it goes to win, we will see a "Democrat" in the White House, no matter which party is triumphant in 2008.
MICHAEL J. GORMAN
'Who We Are and Why'
Judith Rich Harris may, indeed, be a "kindly grandmother" but she is much, much more than that. Contrary to Peter Pettus's patronizing review of Harris's book, "No Two Alike," she has sterling credentials in the field of psychology, is a member of numerous associations and has published literally dozens of articles in the field ["Who We Are and Why," Arts & Letters, February 14, 2006].
Yes, she's a grandmother (so are a lot of women), but her strengths as an independent scholar lie in her great intelligence, astute judgment, and, last but certainly not least in the field of academic writing, an ability to present her arguments cogently and intelligibly.
'Tale of Two Protests'
If a measly $500 tax credit is sufficient to encourage parents to pull their children from government schools - which cost taxpayers some $13,000 per head, isn't that the epitome of a no-brainer? ["Tale of Two Protests," Editorial, February 15, 2006]
So why stop there? Under Governor Pataki's plan, only low-to-middle-income parents of government and private schoolchildren in struggling school districts would be eligible. Why discriminate? Shouldn't we permit rich parents to save taxpayers $12,500 per pupil?
However, tax credits discriminate against low-income parents, most of whom pay no taxes; the plan is worthless for the very people it purports to help the most.
To level the playing field, parents should be given a choice between vouchers and tax credits, which yield exactly the same result on a dollar for dollar basis. Furthermore, why not up the ante several thousand dollars to encourage more parents to abandon the failed system? That would have the salutary effect of fostering far better education, while reaping a reduction of billions in tax dollars.
The teachers union claims that vouchers and tax credits would siphon money away from the government school system. Well? Isn't that half the point? By subcontracting education - siphoning children off to the private sector - there would be fewer children in government schools, hence less spending. Surely though, the crack economists at the United Federation of Teachers will quickly figure out that the rapid development of private schools will create an unprecedented opportunity for ... teachers.
In the words of Abraham Lincoln: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. I look forward with anticipation to the UFT's March 8 protest in front of ABC's headquarters where, giving new meaning to the term "no-brainer," it will confirm John Stossel's principle: "Stupid in America."
EDWIN R. THOMPSON
'Americans Cheat on Taxes'
The fact that tax cheaters in this country steal over $300 billion annually from their fellow Americans is a staggering statistic ["Americans Cheat on Taxes At a Cost of $345 Billion a Year," Ryan J. Donmoyer, Business, February 15, 2006].
There is no way that all of these individuals and businesses are going to suddenly obey the law, nor can the Internal Revenue Service possibly hunt down so many offenders.
The only real solution is for Congress to finally create a flat tax for individuals and businesses. A simplified system will greatly decrease the ability of tax cheaters to steal from us, and make it easier for the IRS to catch offenders. The payoff would be gigantic, as the savings approximates the annual budget.
SALVATORE J. BOMMARITO
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