I wish to commend The Post on its editorial ''A Mostly Good Idea From Mr. Dole'' {Sept. 23}.

The urgency of an agreement to reduce the budget deficit is generally recognized. However, political motives were placed ahead of the nation's needs, and delay resulted. The president held a budget agreement hostage to the passage of a capital gains tax cut.

The president has stated that everyone should be ready to sacrifice to make a budget deficit reduction possible. Does that include the very wealthy? Surely they can afford to pay a little more in taxes more readily than the poor and near-poor can afford to absorb a reduction in benefits.

The budget deficit cannot be reduced by continually reducing taxes. The past 10 years have proved that. Revenues are necessary to meet the expenses of governing the nation. IRVING KALIKOW Potomac

President Bush has asked us to believe that the economy and industry won't be stimulated unless rich people invest directly in stocks, bonds, limited partnerships, etc. Most people don't bury their money in the backyard! They put it in CDs, commercial paper, corporate bonds, IRAs, insurance premiums, savings accounts, etc., and it still ends up "invested in America." If he really wants to do something constructive, let him require that the money be invested in new ventures; that the investment be for a minimum of three years; that the business be incorporated for less than $25 million, etc. To give favored treatment for trading in stocks and bonds is ludicrous!

BOB TEAGUE Arlington

The president held to a demand for a special capital gains tax rate on the grounds that it would fuel economic growth. But a blanket capital gains tax rate applying to any and every type of asset exchange would not accomplish that end. If I buy 100 shares of XYZ Corp. on the New York Stock Exchange today for $1,000 and sell those shares in a year for $1,500, not one productive dime will be added to the economy. I won't deserve a special tax break.

If, on the other hand, I bought new stock issued by XYZ Corp. (its treasury, not its officers or insiders) for purposes of expanding a plant, purchasing equipment, reducing debt, etc., I have made a genuine capital investment that should translate, in time, to the kind of productivity and economic benefits the president seeks. And what would be true for an established and exchange-listed XYZ Corp. would be even more true for initial public stock offerings from new firms.

A special capital gains tax rate might thus be more palatable if the range of transactions to which it applied were restricted to those that produced real -- and not phony -- economic growth. If that's the president's purpose, then that's the way both to think about the tax break -- and to sell it.


President Bush has in effect been using innocent citizens -- he's taken hostages -- to protect his position in the budget standoff.

The budget deadlock, reportedly, is a result of arguments over the capital gains tax; President Bush and Republicans have sought to reduce the tax; Democrats want it kept.

In the meantime, government workers are threatened with furloughs (loss of pay) if the deadlock is not over by Oct. 1, and automatic spending cuts begin.

The result is that government (i.e., middle-class) families are likely to lose money so that the rich can get more! We and all the other taxpayers have already been stuck with paying the billions that resulted from S&L owners enriching themselves at public expense. Give us a break!

President Bush's argument is that a cut in capital gains tax will trickle down to help me too. I wonder if it will cover my 25 percent loss in salary while I am furloughed 2 1/2 days every two weeks.


It is perhaps understandable that a partisan political organization like the Democratic Party should embrace the politics of envy; inexcusable that an institution like The Post, supposedly dedicated to promotion of the public interest, should do the same.

The logic of cutting or, better, eliminating the capital gains tax is unassailable. People like myself (an extremely middle-class American) with investments that did well in the past would often like to trade them in for others that are better situated to do well in the future -- to the immense benefit of the economy, which needs investment in new ideas and products.

However, after paying the 33 percent U.S. tax that was sneaked into the 1986 "reform" measure, plus another 7 percent or so in state taxes, we would have only 60 percent as much money to put into the new investment as we would have had if we let the old one ride. With that kind of up-front loss, the new investment would have to be pretty much of a sure thing to make it worthwhile to change. But sure-thing investments are extremely rare in the real world, particularly in the high-risk areas of those very same new industries.


The United States has deployed more than 100,000 men and women in the Persian Gulf to guard our economic national security -- to prevent a rise in oil prices that would cirpple our national economy.

It is the height of political irresponsibility to send troops to defend our economic security overseas while toying with it at home. It is time for the budget summiteers to recognize that the budget deficit is a major threat to national security, and to stand as bravely as our armed forces to fight it. Our fighting men and women potentially face deadly chemicals, bombs and bullets. Our budget negotiators only face the electorate. In times of crisis, true statesmen would act to defend the country, not themselves.