Salt Lake Police Chief Ruben Ortega and Chief James Paine are both right in pointing out that the best way to prevent crime is to invest in kids. They are wrong when they suggest that all children should have access to "educational child care and quality after-school programs proven to keep kids from becoming criminals in the first place."

Children of my generation were far less likely to become criminals than most children today. We weren't placed in "educational" day care or carted off to after-school programs. we went home to our mothers, and children of single parents went to the homes of their friends who had a parent at home.Of course, most families today can't afford to have a parent stay home; most two-parent families are forced to have both parents work full time just to maintain a standard of living that the previous generation achieved with only one full-time worker in the family.

So, what has changed in the past 40 years to account for this need for additional income? Taxes. When I was born, the typical middle-class family paid about 1 percent of its income for federal income taxes. In fact, the total of all taxes, both direct and indirect, was less than 10 percent. Today, the total average tax bite is over 40 percent.

The cheaper and better solution to the problem is to realign our priorities and reduce the tax burdens on families so one parent can stay home. Government-sponsored and/or overseen day care and afternoon programs are, at best, a poor substitute for parental guidance.

Ronald D. Hathcock