Cut Aid to IsraelEditor: "Why Israel Shouldn't Be Anyone's...


July 22, 1991

Cut Aid to Israel

Editor: "Why Israel Shouldn't Be Anyone's Charity Case" by the economics journalist Joel Bainerman is an excellent article (Opinion * Commentary, July 10).

The government should not sanction exclusive licenses and monoply of ownership of industry or services and thus increase their control and the government's.

Why should Israelis pay more than other Western nationals for goods and services?

Free enterprise and competition generally result in improved quality and lower prices.

Israeli initiative and ingenuity, without government control, would result in economic independence and better government.

Blanche Cohen Sachs.


* * *

Editor: The July 10 article by Joel Bainerman, an Israeli, headlined "Why Israel Shouldn't Be Anyone's Charity Case" is the most refreshing piece of writing to appear in your paper in a while. It should be read by every member of Congress.

Had any non-Jew written the same piece, he would have been immediately branded as anti-Semitic even though speaking the truth. This writer has felt that for much too long we have been overly and unnecessarily generous in our aid to Israel.

It is high time that Congress, and the president as well, awaken to the facts. All the money we give serves only to maintain an intransigent government which, in turn, contributes to the stalemate of the peace process in the Middle East.

If the billions in aid were cut one-half, the remaining half could be used to provide housing and other amenities for needy Americans instead of promoting housing developments on the West Bank and the Golan Heights. That development is just a form of "Lebensraum" [desire for more territory] which is going to get out of hand just as it did in Europe in the 1930s.

To the extent that our subsidies and grants to Israel are reduced, that nation will, of necessity, be required to divert military spending to domestic needs. If my understanding is correct, the U.S. has a treaty committing this country to aid Israel in the event of attack. We did it for Kuwait. Therefore, the excessive military spending is based on exaggerated needs and avoids the

realities of domestic problems in that nation.

Richard L. Lelonek.


State Productivity

Editor: The 40-hour work week has been ordered for state employees under the guise of increasing productivity. In economic theory, productivity is defined as output per hour worked, i.e. total output divided by hours worked.

The 40-hour work week will increase the denominator in this equation. If the numerator (total output) is held constant, increasing the number of hours worked will reduce productivity.

Now consider that with a state working force demoralized by absence of any sort of pay increase, merit or otherwise, output per hour will likely fall. Increasing hours without compensation will multiply this reduction in productivity. No wonder state employees do not see the benefit of the additional hours.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer says the alternative to the 40-hour week is to layoff 4,000 state employees. Layoffs are a bitter pill, but will better accomplish the savings needed.

The state is facing a fiscal situation that requires, in the current jargon, ''down-sizing or right-sizing.'' Certainly the number of lower paid classified positions has increased and may need trimming.

A far greater trend in Maryland state hiring has been to make positions unclassified and to hire more middle managers, usually at higher pay levels. As private business discovered in the early 1980s, the state government has grown fat in the middle.

The number of layers need to be reduced and each layer trimmed. I know of one situation where there are eight supervisors for nine employees.

Additionally, open positions need to be broadly advertised with sufficient time for as many qualified applicants as possible to respond and to be considered. Too often, these unclassified, high paying positions are advertised one time, on a Monday, with a very short response time, because the position is effectively already filled.

Maryland is far more careful in how equipment is purchased than in how positions are filled, yet personnel costs are the greater portion of the state budget.

Yes, a state job is a great job with very good benefits, but that is not really the issue.

Sheri Beyma.

Pocomoke City.

Time = Money

Editor: The misrepresentation of the 40-hour week issue in your July 10 editorial, ''Keeping 'Schaefer Time,' '' is intolerable.

Who among any group or 40-hour week workers in government or industry would gladly work an extra 4 1/2 hours per week free? How about taking an outright 12 percent cut in your hourly wage?

The state classified employees who are currently working a 35 1/2 -hour work week are not lazy complainers, whining about the prospect of an eight-hour day. They are essential contributors to the state, regular people with names and faces who are now told that they will work additional hours for free. The extra hours are not the issue; uncompensated hours are.

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