The DemocratsThe Democrats say that it's time for a change...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 24, 1992

The Democrats

The Democrats say that it's time for a change -- that George Bush has had his chance and that his economic policies have failed.

How would we know? The Democratic Congress has refused to pass any of Mr. Bush's policies. The Democratic Congress has allowed America to suffer rather than let George Bush have a chance to see if his economic policy worked.

Aren't they at least equally reprehensible -- putting their own political aims ahead of America's well-being?

One of the peculiarities of the public's perception of our government is that the president gets all the blame, while Congress actually controls the legislation.

I agree that we need to get rid of the gridlock in Washington, but somehow I can't be enthusiastic about putting the whole government -- White House and Congress -- in control of the Democrats, the party that ran the congressional bank and post office so well.

Think about the potential for disaster with that kind of leadership.

Cynthia R. McGinnes

Chestertown

Industrial Policy

It's good that industrial policy finally got some mention in your pages("The Naked Truth about Industrial Policy," July 16), even if confused mention.

For many years the governments of Japan, Germany and other developed nations have put their fingers on the scales of investment balance. While bureaucrats are no more qualified than others to pick "what investments will pay off," they are not linked to stockholder notions of quick payoff.

The latter brought us the debacle of the roaring '80s. Capital went where it could earn the quickest return and not to development. Our industrial base sagged rapidly.

Instead of using our national capital for short-term gain, we need to put it where it will build industries with potential that will generate wealth for its people.

Unfortunately, our capital markets do not insure the nation as a whole benefits from putting capital to work. They guide investment toward personal return on investment.

The government can bring together informed people from business, labor, consumer and ecological interests -- without fear of prosecution -- and influence deployment of capital. It can use credit guarantees, targeted tax breaks, grants for research development, investment in infrastructure and other means.

A policy of leaning financially in the direction of selected, promising industries is an industrial policy. It is good business -- as Japan and Germany and others know. Without this, we will become a nation dependent on raising grain and selling our natural resources to eke out a living.

Philip L. Marcus

Ellicott City

Guns and Cities

Jon Gartner took Michael Olesker to task on July 17 for his column, "Casual gun use makes us all potential victims."

According to Mr. Gartner, "The number of firearms (in private possession) is not and never will be the problem."

An article on gun use in America in the July 20 New Yorker comments as follows: "The neighboring cities of Seattle and Vancouver provide a startling contrast. According to one article in the American Medical Association's Journal 'both cities have comparable rates of law enforcement, social, economic, and ethnic makeup, and nearly identical rates of burglary, robbery, and simple and aggravated assault.' Seattle, however, has minimal restrictions on firearm purchases, while in Vancouver special permits are required and self-defense is not considered a valid reason to own a gun. Seattle's homicide rate is 65 per cent higher than Vancouver's."

It would seem that easy availability, and consequently the number of guns, does have something to do with the problem.

Alex Armstrong

Ruxton

Tradeoffs

I propose that if a man has a right to deny his wife an abortion, the wife shall have the right to require him to have a vasectomy.

Would someone please answer the question, "If a man could be pregnant, would abortion still be unconstitutional?"

rs. Harry Wolf

Baltimore

Banning Useful Things Would Save Lives

In his column titled "Casual gun use makes us all potential victims" (July 7), Michael Olesker apprised us of another death caused by the irresponsible use of firearms. A teen-ager was charged with murder after he killed Al McQuade with a "bullet that got away" while plinking bottles on July 4. A senseless tragedy.

Mr. Olesker lays the blame for this tragedy at the feet of "the people who lobby for the protection of gunplay." It's very simple. If there were no guns, then Mr. McQuade would still be with us. I'll apply this brilliant reasoning to a few examples.

Banning automobiles would eliminate the 50,000-plus deaths each year on the highways and byways of our nation. We could outlaw alcohol, and save the 23,000-plus lives lost every year from the combination of alcohol and motor vehicle operation.

If we prohibited the operation of aircraft we could spare the lives of more than 500 people in this nation alone, not counting the innocent bystanders who may have been on the ground where an errant plane crashed.

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