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

the Forum

February 24, 1992

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


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


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