In his State of the Union address [front page, Jan. 29], President Bush repeated figures used earlier to describe the tax break "a family of four with an income of $40,000" would receive under his administration's plan: The family's taxes would "fall from $1,178 to $45 per year."

But the 2002 tax table, an austere family budget and the proposed cuts don't add up. The tax table shows that a tax liability of $1,178 corresponds to a taxable income of $11,750 to $11,800. With the 2002 standard deduction of $7,850, a $12,000 exemption and a child tax credit of $1,200, I could not come up with $1,178.

Let's see the news media insist on a completed 1040 form to justify the president's numbers.

GERALD A. LECHLITER

Lewes, Del.

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President Bush proposed spending $1.2 billion for research on hydrogen-powered cars. But hydrogen must be produced by separating it from compounds, a process that consumes more energy (largely from petroleum) than is produced when the hydrogen is burned to power a car.

In addition, hydrogen is an explosive, difficult-to-handle gas, especially when compressed.

Hydrogen-powered cars would result in more, not less, dependence on petroleum.

BRUCE KIRK

La Plata

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In his "review" of the State of the Union address [Style, Jan. 29], Tom Shales referred to a proposed ban on partial-birth abortion as "a sop to the far right."

Polls consistently show that 60 percent to 80 percent of Americans favor a ban on partial-birth abortion. If they are all "far right," there's not much room left for the left.

MICHAEL FRANSELLA

Arlington