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Looking at Another Side to 'Cosmic Prize'

March 06, 1994

Re "Eyes on the Cosmic Prize" by Irene Lacher (Feb. 20):

In asserting that "big government cheats people out of the spiritual rewards of giving to the needy," Arianna Huffington resurrects that morally repellent anachronism noblesse oblige.

The wealthy assuage their consciences not by striving for political reforms to redistribute wealth more equitably, but by doling out sporadic handouts to a perpetual underclass. Nothing ultimately changes. The poor are still poor. The only reward granted here is to Mrs. Huffington's ego.

MICHELLE PERSELL Santa Barbara *

Talk about arrogance. Arianna Huffington's plaintive argument that "big government cheats people out of the spiritual rewards of giving to the needy" makes my heart bleed. The assumption is that there must be needy in order that the rich can deal with their guilt feelings.

Then we have the candidate, Michael Huffington, who attributes his financial success to "hard work and luck." It was luck all right to be born to a father who had a big Texas oil company Michael could sell.

BRYAN W. STEVENS Rolling Hills Estates *

What a shame the largess of the government has robbed Arianna Huffington of the privilege of charity.

But--and this may come as a shock to her--despite billions upon billions of tax dollars being tossed upon the poor and the downtrodden, there are plenty of arenas in which she could still flaunt her generosity.

Just in my neighborhood we have winos, crack-heads, epileptics, the homeless, schizophrenics and plain old middle-class types hanging on by the skin of their teeth while Huffington pontificates from her $4-million Italian villa up Montecito way.

Marie Antoinette would be proud, not only of her ignorance but of the sheer scope and audacity of that ignorance.

ROB SULLIVAN Los Angeles *

Arianna Stassinopolous Huffington opines that in the absence of government action, the rich will voluntarily take care of those in need.

Unfortunately, her idea has already been tried. It was called the Depression.

JEFFREY SCOTT BOOK Beverly Hills *

I have been working as a volunteer for a government agency for about two years. I visit shut-ins, chauffeur the elderly around, read to the blind, console the depressed. The social worker in charge of the department is a giant of a woman deluged under a heavy load of more than 200 clients.

She tells me other volunteers have not lasted more than a week or two and I sometimes wonder why I am still around. To take care of the poor is plain hard work. You are alone with no interaction with peers.

I have not encountered many of Arianna Huffington's spiritual souls to replace the faithful city and county workers we have in place. It is the government money and infrastructure that provide the help that enables elderly and physically handicapped welfare recipients to survive and keep some of their independence and dignity.

BRIGITTE SELIGMAN Santa Barbara *

Where were conservatives like the Huffingtons and their anti-big-government philosophy 25 years ago when big government was forcing my generation to serve in an unjust war? It's the same stale old wine in a fancy new bottle.

PAUL STEVENSON Playa Del Rey *

On the Nature of Inner Political Awareness, for Arianna Huffington:

It's incumbent on each of us, man, woman, child,

To belong to the Critical Mass.

To the left there is action, pragmatic and wild,

To the right lie the morally crass. . .

Political soundness, as Reagan has shown,

And Perot has learned to his cost ,

Embraces the thought that we march not alone,

But, if touched by precision, are lost.

So soar from the House, Santa Barbara lass,

To the Senate, bless them with your touch.

And feed as you go the Uncritical Mass

With the Concept--don't give them too much. . . .

\f7 MICHAEL JAGO Pacific Palisades *

As I was reading "Eyes on a Cosmic Prize," a political advertisement aired for Michael Huffington. He declared that as a child his family was not rich, but middle class. The Huntington family coffers have been estimated at $350 million.

We are college-educated, working parents who are now seeing to it that our two children receive their college educations. We thought we were middle class. I guess not.

MARY L. DICKINSON Alta Loma *

Michael Huffington, Arianna Huffington's husband, spent $3 million to buy a congressman's seat. How much for Dianne Feinstein's seat, which he seeks, $7 to $10 million? And then the presidency. That could be quite costly. Probably in the $20 million to $30 million range.

But then Arianna can help with her fuzzy spiritualism. That should get some votes.

And though living in a $4-million home, she shows deep concern for the poor. That should get additional votes.

But it should be pointed out that though she shows concern for the poor, she doesn't work to change the conditions that create the poverty. No. That would be considered socialism. And that we cannot have.

DON RADEMACHER Los Angeles

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