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President's Japan trip was a tour de...

THE BALTIMORE EVENING SUN

President's Japan trip was a tour de farce

What was the worst part of President's Bush's trade mission to Japan?

(a) When he threw up on the prime minister.

(b) When he practically begged the Japanese to buy American products.

(c) When he smiled like a conquering hero for the cameras at the opening of a "Toys R Us" store, an opening that probably did not create a job for a single American.

(d) When he paraded his corporate executive traveling buddies around the country, who make eight or 10 times as much as their Japanese counterparts and who are eight or 10 times less successful.

I like "d" for an answer.

Given his buddies' record of planning and decision-making over the past couple of decades, George Bush would have done well to leave them home. If he really wanted to impress the Japanese with what this country has to offer, he should have taken American workers to Japan.

Unfair trade laws aside, the biggest cause of America's industrial problems in recent times has been the direction chosen by business leadership.

It is the executives, not the factory floor workers, who decide to take corporate profits and buy other businesses - or overcompensate executives -rather than sink the money back into research and development and new plants and equipment.

American workers do good work. Hand-in-hand with thoughtful - if sometimes difficult -capitalists, they built this nation into the strongest and most advanced on the face of the earth.

J.D. Power and Associates, the California-based automotive research firm, says that in 1987, not one American nameplate finished in Powers' Top 10, a list of cars with the fewest problems. Last year, three American models battled their way onto the list - and two Japanese manufacturers fell off.

American workers are a ready, willing and able army, prepared to join battle in the global economy. But until they get some generals who take their eyes off their paychecks and stock options, the fray cannot be effectively joined.

Ernest R. Grecco

The writer is president of the Metropolitan Baltimore Council of AFL-CIO Unions.

A rich return

This is in regard to your editorial "Sand and Taxes" (Evening Sun, Feb. 5). In this article, you show an appalling lack of insight into the problems and benefits of the beach replenishment project at Ocean City.

You say that the state will want to bear less and less of its share of the burden ($1 million annually), and that Worcester County residents should pay more. You also say that we will have to come up with a plan that puts more of a burden on those who directly benefit.

I am asking you who more directly benefits from the $85 million in tax revenue generated annually in Ocean City than the state of Maryland? Do you know any sane investor who would not invest $1 million in return for a proven return of $85 million?

The property owners in Ocean City are not making a killing by any means. Real estate prices have been flat for years now, thanks to Reaganomics. There is no real financial gain to be made by buying and maintaining a rental property in Ocean City, but many of us are doing it on a middle-class income because we have hope for the future.

Another thing you don't seem to realize is that most of Ocean City property owners do not live in Worcester County. Why penalize these people, many of them retirees, for acts of nature? Ocean City property owners come from all over this state and many surrounding states.

Finally, where will all the people from Maryland and all the surrounding states go to spend their vacation dollar if we so shortsightedly allow Ocean City to become uninhabitable? How will we answer to future generations when they ask why we do not still have one of the finest, cleanest family-style beaches in this country?

Mary L. Kunes

Millersville

Split the difference

I have noticed that slowly but surely you are combining the morning and evening papers. The Accent section of The Evening Sun may look like the old Evening Sun, but the print reads morning.

I have always read The Evening Sun (and will continue to as long as you let me) and always despised the morning paper. Why prolong this agony to faithful Evening Sun readers? Just combine the two once and for all and call it "The Midday Sun"!

R.J. Teich

Ellicott City

Lost opportunity

Baltimore County has canceled season-ending tournaments for some Lutherville-Timonium Recreation Council teams. This monumental cost-cutting measure saves the county the cost of opening the recreation center and the cost of a part-time county employee - about $20 per tournament day.

For a fraction of the cost of the county executive's lunches during his trip abroad, our kids could have had these tournaments. This incident indicates that county government has become callous to the needs of its people by making cuts for the purpose of making cuts and not by communicating with the people.

Mike Seganish

The writer is on the Lutherville-Timonium Recreation Council 1/2 Basketball Advisory Board.

The war is over

V

Sandy Grady, in "Strike two against Clinton" (Evening Sun, Feb. 10), maintains that Bill Clinton's presidential candidacy has been severely damaged by his avoidance of the draft during the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, he's probably right. Given that military service is an unwritten qualification for obtaining political office in our culture, Mr. Clinton's alleged avoidance of it could derail his candidacy.

The draft, used by the government to obtain cannon fodder during the Vietnam War, is now being used against Mr. Clinton, possibly to divert attention from George Bush's failed economic policies.

Mr. Grady ignores the gung-ho hypocrisy of Dan Quayle and accuses Mr. Clinton of "skipping out" of ROTC and "lucking out" of the draft.

What's left out of this equation is that even though the war is euphemistically said to have been a mistake, the architects of the war, the presidents and military and government officials who sent men off to die, have not been called to account for their murderous lies and deceptions. Instead, much of the media treats these men with reverence as elder statesmen and foreign policy experts. In a perverse twist of logic, those who opposed and avoided the war have been put on the defensive.

Further, the underlying assumption in our society that it is somehow justifiable, even moral and admirable, to kill large numbers of people in another country as long as the president has declared them to be "the enemy," is simply not questioned by Mr. Grady or any other commentator in the mainstream press.

It is absurd that Mr. Clinton, or anyone else, should be put in the position of having to explain avoidance or opposition to the draft or the Vietnam War.

Given an untenable situation, people did what they had to do during this sorry period in our nation's history.

The war is over. It is time for healing, not recrimination.

R.E. Lee Lears

Annapolis

Costly meal?

That's going to be the most expensive food ever received by the food bank, when the post office gets done with it.

Ben Sauter

Hebbville

The post office should stick to mail

I was so upset with the newest wrinkle the post office came up with ' collecting food for the hungry!

All I want the post office to do is deliver my mail in a timely manner, provide walk-up service at the post offices and be attentive to my delivery needs.

I do not want the post office selling T-shirts and fancy pictures, addressing my Christmas card labels, putting my address labels in zip code order or collecting food for the hungry!

I am perfectly capable of providing food for the hungry and do not need the post office to help me. I do not want the post office personnel to be burdened with excess canned goods or parcels that will weigh down their already heavy bags.

Let's keep job responsibilities in proper perspective. Get the postal workers delivering mail and providing services for mailing, and leave the food collecting to people who are volunteering to do this ' not to people who are getting paid to do something else.

Lynette S. Reagan

Baltimore

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