Editor: General Motors, once the world's automotive giant, suffers record-breaking losses. R. H. Macy, the nation's greatest department store, goes bankrupt. IBM, once looked upon as the model of a successful and well-managed business enterprise, loses money for the first time in its history.
Every day, hundreds of businesses file for bankruptcy or downsize, throwing more people out of work.
The national debt is so huge we may not be able to afford the funding necessary for programs to provide a safety net for the poor or to help the middle class survive.
These are the tragic results of almost 12 years of Reagan-Bush laissez-faire economics and greed gone berserk.
But what are the Bush responses to these disastrous times? So far, we have seen a poorly conceived presidential trade mission to Japan resulting in Japanese scorn and ridicule. And more Madison Avenue photo-ops and sound bites.
And in his State of the Union address, we are presented with an economic recovery plan which relies on the same tired Republican panaceas for curing economic ills: less government regulation of business and a reduction in the capital gains tax to encourage investment.
We all know the results of less government regulation in the Eighties: the savings and loan debacle, record fraud on Wall Street and drugs sold in the marketplace that can often kill.
As for tax policies which were supposed to encourage investment in new industrial capacity, instead we got leveraged buyouts, junk bonds, massive business debt and the selling of company physical assets.
& Alfred S. Sharlip. Columbia.
Showing Off the U.S. at Seville
Editor: Garry Wills certainly is entitled to his opinion about the legacy of the former administration ("In Seville, the U.S. Builds a Monument to Decline" Jan. 16), but he should not let that opinion get in the way of facts about the U.S. Pavilion at Expo '92 in Seville, Spain.
To begin with, it is the United States Information Agency, not the Commerce Department, which is charged with coordinating U.S. exhibits at such expositions. And it is because such expositions, and particularly the one being mounted at Seville, are far more than trade shows that USIA has so been charged.
Expo '92, as Mr. Wills correctly notes, is an international exposition, the first one held since Osaka in 1970 and the first in Europe since Brussels in 1958.
While its central theme is the idea of discovery embodied in Columbus' voyages to the New World (the admiral planned them in Seville), the exposition will really be a festival of over 110 countries coming together to remind us once again that we are all travelers on the same planet.
Mr. Wills is correct to say the U.S. pavilion will be centered on two themes, but I take strong exception to his dismissal of them as "a copy of the Bill of Rights and GM automobiles."
If nothing else, the cataclysmic events that have changed the world since 1989 are testament to and resounding vindication of the ideas contained in the Bill of Rights.
A year after Americans celebrated their bicentennial, I can think of nothing more appropriate for the United States to trumpet at an international exposition than the first 10 amendments to the Constitution and what they have meant to us as a nation.
The other main display at the U.S. pavilion will contain far more than GM automobiles. Its showpiece will be the Discovery Theater experience being prepared by General Motors, the same American company that created the highly touted Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair.
Many American companies, big and small, were invited to participate in the U.S. exhibit and chose not to. I think GM should be applauded for its decision.
Mr. Wills also dismisses as time-worn and outdated the two new geodesic domes that will house the main displays, comparing them unfavorably with the $50 million wooden structure that he says "will showcase Japan's new products." The Japanese exhibit will actually be devoted to the country's history and culture. And what Mr. Wills does not say about our pavilion is that Congress gave us only $13 million in June 1990, by which time construction costs had skyrocketed, and for the first time in history told a U.S. pavilion at an international exposition to get the rest of its money from the private sector.
Artist Peter Max is donating two exciting panels of original art, each 152 by 30 feet. A performing arts stage featuring a continuing mix of classical, popular and avant-garde entertainment and a complex sports program from all regions of the United States will also help draw in what we expect to be more that 50,000 visitors per day.
& Frederick M. Bush. Washington, D.C.
The writer is U.S. commissioner general to Expo '92.
Give the Facts
Editor: I may be naive but I always thought that the media's purpose was to keep the public informed. My definition of informed, when it comes to news, is: I am given the facts of the situation and any uncommon terms are defined. I am informed in this manner so that I can take the information, study it and form an opinion.
As I read the articles in The Sun on the president's State of the Union address, I realized the media is here to give opinions and maybe throw a few facts and figures in as a bonus. Not one article was without the opinion of someone who, for all I know, could be a real idiot. I had previously assumed the editorial section was supposed to be used for this type of journalism.
What happened to the days when a journalist took pride in the fact that he or she had informed the readers and he or she had faith that the readers were intelligent enough to form their own opinions?
* Jennifer S. Czawlytko. Baltimore.
Editor: On Jan. 28, 1992, Officer Darryl Chesney was beaten and nearly murdered in a rural area of northern Baltimore County. As is normal, the nearest back-up unit was many miles and precious minutes away. Coincidentally this area has lost a paramedic unit due to budget cuts within the fire department.
With a hiring freeze in place, the Baltimore County police department will soon have 150 fewer police officers on duty than one year ago. The remaining police officers will be furloughed without pay for five days before the end of June. The fire department and other county employees are facing the same hardships.
Baltimore County government leaders must realize that the cuts in essential services are not only financial issues but safety concerns as well.
# Gregory Redmer. Baltimore.
Editor: Shame on Eirik A. T. Blom for suggesting such a nasty end for Assateague and the ponies (letters, Feb. 5). The island is being preserved and protected by the federal government because of the ponies.
He claims the ponies are damaging the environment because they eat the grasses that protect the dunes from erosion. That grass has grown back fast enough to protect the dunes and sustain the ponies for centuries. There's no reason it should slow down now.
If the ponies were no longer there, the government would soon allow the island to be sold to developers and it would turn into wall-to-wall condos and hotels.
One need only look at what's happened to Ocean City to know what an environmental disaster this would be. There really would be no grasses to protect the dunes then.
I think it's time we stop trying to change everything and leave well enough alone. Assateague and its ponies are a rich and wonderful part of our heritage that I hope will be here for centuries to come so our children and grandchildren can enjoy them as much we have.
Brenda S. Chaid. Timonium.