NOTE:
You've come to an old part of SW Online. We're still moving this and other older stories into our new format. In the meanwhile, click here to go to the current home page.








Letters to the editor

September 14, 2001 | Page 4

OTHER LETTERS BELOW
Making profits off of traffic tickets
A world turned upside down
There's plenty of blame to go around
The front page of SW has to connect better
Correction

Bush's fake tax cut won't help most of us

Dear Socialist Worker,

When I received a letter two months ago saying that President Bush had ordered the IRS to send me a check for $300, I had mixed emotions. I knew that this tax cut was coming at the expense of Social Security, education and a host of other programs that benefit workers and the poor. And I knew the main beneficiaries would be the rich, who would pocket millions.

But I wasn't going to turn down an offer of $300. Instead I'd donate it to Socialist Worker.

But when the envelope finally arrived, not only did I find out that I wasn't getting a check, I was told that I owed money. Because the $300 isn't really a refund. It's just an advance on your expected returns for this year.

As it turns out, I owed $320 for a tax return from 1996 that I didn't know about. The IRS would probably never have come looking for such a small amount. But my $300 credit was immediately applied to my balance. Instead of receiving a check, I was informed that I owed $20.

Millions of working families are going to suffer from Bush's social spending cuts. And most will see little, if any, relief from this tax cut. It's just another reason we have to make sure that at every turn Bush is met with humiliation and resistance.

Geoff Bailey, Somerville, Mass.

Back to the top

Making profits off of traffic tickets

Dear Socialist Worker,

Last year when I had to attend traffic school to clear up a speeding ticket, more than half the class was there for running red lights. They had been caught by automatic cameras and then received a photo and a $271 ticket in the mail. Some had entered the intersection mere hundredths of a second into the red light.

I didn't believe it when the instructor told us that Lockheed-Martin had built the cameras for San Diego at no cost--except that they wanted a cut from each ticket issued. But it's true--Lockheed installs and calibrates the systems, maintains them, develops the film, evaluates the pictures and rakes in $70 a pop.

The cameras made headlines recently when Judge Ronald Styn ruled them unlawful, because the city doesn't monitor Lockheed. "Lockheed is supposed to be a neutral evaluator of the evidence," the judge wrote. "As such, Lockheed should not have a financial interest in the outcome," said Styn, as he dismissed nearly a thousand cases.

Is Lockheed manipulating their sensors to ticket people who are actually innocent? As it turns out, they recently moved the sensors at three intersections without telling anybody--which could have affected their timing. This "is an example of what can go wrong with the system as presently operated," said Styn.

A lot can go wrong when you let a greedy corporation loose and expect them to act in the public interest--did somebody say energy deregulation?

Chuck Stemke, San Diego

Back to the top

A world turned upside down

Dear Socialist Worker,

I have been reading and selling Socialist Worker for a few years now, and I eagerly await the arrival of the new issue every two weeks. From its international analysis to its coverage of debates in the various movements to its regular columns that explain Marxism or confront the issues facing working people, the paper explains the world like no other.

As a result, I--like many other readers--am very excited that our paper will be going weekly in the fall.

One recent article struck me as something that would improve SW if it was done more. At a recent SW discussion group, we were discussing the article "Patients before profits" (July 6, 2001). The article is a very insightful exposé of the AIDS crisis and the insidious way that Bush and the drug companies have kept drug prices sky high. Along with the article is a telling graph that illustrates the absurd amount the U.S. spends on the military compared to AIDS funding.

It is this type of article that clearly reveals the upside-down world we live in. A world where war is more profitable--and therefore more important--than human health. The graph alone outraged many people at a recent paper sale and opened up discussions about whether a world is possible where the numbers on that graph are switched.

It is because of this that I feel the paper would be more appealing if there were a column or some regular focus on this "upside-down world"--with similar graphs, charts and other devices to really expose the lunacy of capitalism.

With ordinary people in charge, those absurd numbers could be reversed and the world turned right-side up.

Justin Akers, San Diego

Back to the top

There's plenty of blame to go around

Dear Socialist Worker,

It's no coincidence that President Bush's largest campaign contributors include Enron Corp., El Paso Energy, Reliant Energy and Dynegy--four of the greedy generators under investigation for manipulating the California power market.

Vice President Dick Cheney has used the manipulated energy shortage to push plans for 20 new nuclear plants--and to exempt them from unlimited liability in the case of accidents.

While it is easy to blame the Republicans, you can be assured that the Democrats have their hands in the proverbial cookie jar as well. On August 2, it came to light that Bruce Willison--UCLA's business school dean and California Gov. Gray Davis' appointee to head the California Electricity Oversight Board--holds $1 million of Enron stock.

William Keese--the chairman of the California Energy Commission, one of the state's top energy regulatory bodies--owned as much as $510,000 in energy company stock last year.

Even Gov. Davis' chief spokesperson, Steve Maviglio, recently put $12,000 into an energy corporation.

It seems that there are pirates everywhere.

Kenny Annis, San Francisco

Back to the top

The front page of SW has to connect better

Dear Socialist Worker,

I coordinate sales of Socialist Worker for my branch, so it's my job to build interest in the paper. The last issue's headline (August 17, 2001) read "Cowboy George enjoys a vacation as thousands of New Yorkers are left on the street." The article was not the easiest to sell here in California because it was concerned with New Yorkers.

It also called Bush "President Moron." While I agree that he is a moron, we have to keep in mind that the front page should be the most inclusive, have the most credibility and be the easiest to sell off of.

Chris Hardnack, San Diego

Back to the top

Correction

In an article about a New York City demonstration against Bush (July 20, 2001), Socialist Worker incorrectly stated that Claudia Trevor works for the National Organization for Women. She does not.

Home page | Current storylist | Back to the top