Letters to the Editor
Readers write about Title IX, taxes and happiness, tourism in Haiti, and veteran education benefits.
Title IX needs better enforcement, not reform
Regarding Alison Kasic's June 26 Opinion piece, "Let's not gloss over Title IX's faults": Title IX does not, in fact, impose quotas. As Ms. Kasic herself points out, the law imposes no numerical requirement because schools can demonstrate that they are providing equal participation opportunities in three separate ways. Indeed, government studies show that only about one-third of schools use the proportionality prong.
Kasic praises a "model survey," issued by the Bush administration, as a good way to measure students' interest in sports participation. But in truth, this survey allows schools to simply send a mass e-mail to female students asking them about their interest in sports – and count a failure to respond as evidence of lack of interest. With the plethora of e-mails college students receive, does anyone really believe this is fair?
Thirty-six years after Title IX, male sports participation has consistently increased – yet women and girls are still shortchanged in opportunities to play, even when they proclaim interest, and in everything from scholarship dollars to recruiting funds. What we need is greater enforcement of Title IX, rather than Kasic's suggestion that the Bush administration go further in cutting back the law. Kasic's way of supposedly reforming Title IX would gut it.
Happiness requires a just tax policy
Regarding Arthur C. Brooks's June 24 Opinion piece, "Does money make you happy?": Mr. Brooks's attempt to prove that "government spending doesn't help" used simplistic comparisons and imprecise analysis. Comparing per capita government spending gives us no indication of what the money was spent on or how that might have changed in 30 years.
Comparing raw percentages of the total responses in each year without breaking down responses according to responders' demographics or economic status provides no information to correlate answers with who was most likely to have benefited from government spending (assuming we knew what the money was spent on).
US tax policy needs changing, all right. Not so we can feel "happy," but for justice and equity and to improve the lives of most Americans. It's not the "hard-earned" money (from wages and salaries) that needs to be taxed at a higher rate; it's corporate executives' annual compensation packages that are several hundred times more than the annual salaries of the rest of the corporation's employees.
Poverty is a tourist deterrent
Regarding the June 19 article, "Eyeing tourism, Haiti battles its reputation for violence": Haiti is not the violence-ridden Hades that exists in foreigners' minds, but the disturbing reality of abject poverty deters tourism.
In the 1970s, travelers to Haiti routinely complimented the Haitian people for their gentleness and friendliness, but the poverty kept them from returning.
Even now, for many travelers, that – and not violence – is the reason cited for avoiding Haiti. It seems callous to cite poverty as a party deterrent, but most sensitive people find it difficult to relax in the midst of human suffering.
This is not to suggest that Haiti become like the Dominican Republic, with its aggressively fortressed tourist resorts, but rather to point out that physical violence, though a valid reason not to visit a country, is not the elephant in the living room.
Benefits for veterans help America at large
In response to the June 30 article, "Congress's spending goes unchecked, with more likely": It is unfortunate that the Monitor did not devote more attention to the significant increase in veterans' benefits passed recently.
In today's world, where a college education is more important than ever, the bill allowing this generation of returning veterans to have access to higher education has the potential to be transformative for these veterans, their families, and our nation. The power of education to transform a generation is made clear by the dramatic results of the 1944 GI Bill. Millions of World War II veterans went to America's colleges and universities, many of whom otherwise would not have sought higher education. This led to a more educated and productive workforce and an improved quality of life for the veterans and their families. Further, it infused a new diversity of opinion and thought to college campuses.
This bill just passed will have far-reaching effects on the lives of the veterans and their families, but also on every American.
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