More of the Same
Editor: After years and years of ever-increasing government spending on both the defense and social fronts, we can finally apply some measure of comparative success, and obviously we have gotten more bang for our buck on the defense side of the ledger.
Though impossible to prove a precise cause-and-effect relationship, we can say that the spiraling defense budget must at least be ''associated'' with the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, the demise of communism and a good performance in the Persian Gulf war. We have actually achieved many of the goals of that spending. Conversely, an examination of the results of similarly increasing social spending shows only a commensurate increase in the problems it was supposed to alleviate. Instead of reducing poverty, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, declining education, etc. it seems we have only ''bought'' more of the same.
Our governments, national and local, must re-think and reduce their roles to what they realistically can, and legitimately should, do for us. Guard our shores and protect us in our homes, but as for the rest of it, let's talk about it. The government which &L governs the least, fails the least.
To take whatever financial peace dividend there might be and invest it in more social spending would be like taking stock dividends from Xerox and investing them in carbon paper.
Editor: With the end of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill controversy in regard to sexual harassment, many individuals in business and industry will begin paying more attention to the matter.
There is another aspect about women at work which needs just as much attention. This relates to paying women as much as men for doing the same, or similar job.
In 25 years as a career counselor, I very often came across women who were paid less than men for performing identical work. They were also not promoted as readily as men to middle- or upper-level positions. The short-changing of women cut across varied types of work.
Studies appear from time to time in the public media and scholarly journals, which indicate beyond any doubt that this unfair situation still exists in most of the country.
Numerous married women are working who do so only because they have no choice but to supplement their husbands' earnings. Single women, divorced and unmarried, have to be out earning a living as well. Many mothers, if they could afford to, would rather be at home raising their children, enjoying the babies whom they must leave behind every morning. Like men, they must compete in the working place.
When will that competition be equalized so that men and women are paid equally, are promoted because of their skills, training and abilities they bring to their jobs?
eon L. Lerner.
Light Rail Progress
Editor: A friend of mine in Baltimore has kept me advised of the progress of the construction of your city's light rail line. It was quite exciting to hear that he had bicycled over to observe the first car which has somehow been set in place for testing purposes. A rather long articulated car, as he described it. This is very exhilarating news.
When I spent a few hours in Baltimore last spring to visit and photograph the restored iron-front Marsh & McLennan building on West Pratt Street, I glimpsed some of the Howard Street work on the emerging light rail line. It was a thrill to contemplate its steady progress. Since then, I have read a detailed report on it lent by a friend in New York.
Now, to learn that a real live car is visible provides evidence that the goal is in sight. It will spur those of us in other parts of the country to press for non-polluting, quiet and comfortable light rail before too long in our own cities.
The writer is president of Friends of Cast Iron Architecture.
Editor: President Bush recently took a step in the right direction, making deep cuts in the U.S. nuclear -- albeit obsolete -- weapons systems. He can do more.
The Soviet empire has crumbled. Despite the disappearance of this military threat, funding for the specious SDI system and B-2 bomber continues apace.
Gorbachev has advocated the cessation of nuclear testing. Bush plans to continue testing and developing nuclear weapons. Tyrants are sold sophisticated weapons systems and receive millions of dollars in U.S. aid. About 150,000 troops will remain in Europe, defending against the nonexistent ''Evil Empire.''
It's outrageous that emergency unemployment benefits have been terminated. Services that benefit the middle class, as well as programs that make it possible for the powerless and dispossessed to simply survive also have been cut to the bone
Decent health care, which Congress and the president enjoy as a given, is unavailable to millions of Americans. To say that city and state governments are bankrupt and nothing can be done is disingenuous. Money is available.