Big Ten move will benefit wrestlers at Maryland

Re: "Maryland grabs big bucks in joining Big Ten," Nov. 20

The University of Maryland sport that will benefit most from the new membership in theBig Tenis wrestling. The Big Ten has five of the top six wrestling programs in the country:

No. 1 Penn State;

No. 2 Iowa;

No. 3 Minnesota;

No. 5 Ohio State; and

No. 6 Illinois, whose wrestling programs often draws 10,000-plus for a match.

The Terrapins will be the first Maryland teams to face Big Ten competition, wrestling Purdue and Illinois Saturday in Troy, N.Y., at Penn State on Dec. 2, and against Ohio State andNebraska in Madison Square Garden on Dec. 16.

Washington is about to become a wrestling town.

Robin Ficker

Boyds, Md.

Republican Party needs new centrist leadership

Re: "Demographics haven't killed the GOP -- yet," Editorial, Nov. 8

After 236 years of living together in a nation of our own making,the real differences among Americans amount to no more than splitting hairs. This past election showed a Republican Party out of touch with this fact. If it is to continue as a major political party, newleadership is going to have to come from moderate and centrist Republicans (now disparaged asRINOs) who can progressively steer along the center-right andcompromise with liberal Democrats on the center-left.

The values the religious and plutocratic Right present assacrosanct are nothing more thanthreatening insults to women, gays, the younger generation and newerarrivals. They mock the nation's founding proposition: "Thatto secure these rights [of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness], Governments areinstituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of thegoverned."

Conservatives content themselves with finding fault with and blocking anything liberals propose even though they themselves don't have a clue what to do besides further turning power over to a greedy few and let whatever's left trickle down after they've enhanced their bottom line.

AsPresident Franklin D. Roosevelt said during another time of challenge: "A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who hasnever learned to walk forward."

Sam Osborne

West Branch, Iowa

Income tax should be replaced with Fair Tax

Having been an appliance repairman for 40 years, my natural inclination is to fix things. But as I look at the state of national affairs today, nothing seems to be working right. One hardly knows where to begin.

The income tax discourages investment and productivity and penalizes exporters, who must add the cost of taxes into the price of everything they export. People with high incomes are leaving the U.S. in droves to avoid income taxes. Working people have up to 25 percent of their income confiscated before they even get their paychecks.

The IRS intrudes into our private affairs while we waste billions of dollars and millions of hours every year in compliance costs. Hundreds of billions in revenue from the underground economy, fraud and tax cheating is left on the table.

When I am called to repair an appliance, the cost sometimes exceeds the value. That's what's happening with the income tax today. The Fair Tax changes everything. Because it is a tax on consumption, it sidesteps the evils associated with the income tax and replaces it with a more fundamental and comprehensive change that will allow a permanent fix.

David Boone

Houston, Minn.