Mr Myrie, I decided to accept your invitation to comment on the article you authored in the last issue of the Thistle ("Visions of Queens in Cadillacs"). While I agreed with much of what you said, I was disappointed to see that you accept the same framework for discussion that Democrats and Republicans subscribe to when they discuss "welfare reform." In particular, I'm disturbed by your uncritical acceptance of the Orwellian usage of the terms "entitlement" and "welfare" which refers only to the pennies given to poor people while excluding massive entitlements and welfare to the rich. You state that "welfare is an amalgamation of programs used to secure the members of a society from the ravages of poverty." Maybe, but its primary function is to ensure that rich white people living in Newt Gingrich suburbs can continue feeding happily at the public trough, while lecturing the rest of us about family values and the work ethic. For example, households that make under $10,000 a year receive 60% of the "welfare" provided to those with incomes over $100,000, when we consider direct benefits and tax breaks together (as we should-an extra hundred bucks in your pay check isn't any different than a hundred off your rent). In fact, according to the New York Times, total payments to the poor "add up to less than the three largest tax breaks that benefit the middle class and the wealthy: deductions for retirement plans, home mortgage interest and the exemption of health-insurance premiums that companies pay for their employees." And this excludes public subsidies to US corporations in the name of "defense," "jobs," or any other familiar Orwellism for fattening the rich. Even excluding the $280 billion Pentagon budget, the numbers are (or should be) outrageous; for example, the cattle, fossil fuel, timber and real estate industries alone will get $110 billion in tax subsidies over the next 5 years. Exxon will get $35 billion to explore offshore natural gas fields. So who's really the welfare queen? Next time they come around to cut that ninety dollar monthly AFDC child support payment, tell them that you appreciate the concern that taxpayers are getting ripped off by welfare recipients, and point them to Exxon, Lockheed, Sunkist, MIT, and Cobb County, Georgia. As long as we let these hypocrites define the debate, we'll be laboring on their plantation for a long time to come. Kaissa Adé Editor's note: Part 2 of Sheldon Myrie's series on "welfare reform" will appear in the next regular issue of the Thistle.