Free Trade HurtsAn established manufacturing company has...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 04, 1992

Free Trade Hurts

An established manufacturing company has remained competitive for many years by means of modern thinking, methods and equipment.

The contributions of this company and its 800 employees to the good of the nation, through depressions and prosperous times, through war and peace, are part of the proud heritage of all who are touched by the company history.

The principal manufactured product of this proud organization is produced at a rate of about one-half the labor-hours per unit of any competing organization. The top mechanics receive about $15 per hour plus fringes.

Last week the company ceased to exist. The employees have been terminated, disillusioned, disappointed and disgraced in their own country by their own administration and Congress.

Their product will continue to be made, but in a foreign country, by about four times the number of workers taking more than twice as long and receiving the equivalent of $1 an hour.

The product will be welcomed for sale in our country. Eight hundred more people to swell the ranks of the unemployed in the United States. The figure is now close to 10 million.

:. This is free trade. This is for the birds.

James Forsyth

Ellicott City

Absurd Seats

The articles in The Sun (Aug. 28) detailing the sightline problems that plague many of Camden Yards' seats did disabled fans a disservice when it equated the inconveniences suffered by other fans with the absolutely fundamental problem that exists with more than 90 percent of the stadium's handicapped seating.

While a number of fans may be justifiably disappointed with their less-than-perfect seats, those problems simply do not compare to the difficulties facing a wheelchair user attempting to view a ballgame from one of the much-ballyhooed "equal access" seats that ring the lower boxes.

Incredibly, those seats are situated at a height such that when people in front of them stand up on just about any exciting play -- from a home run to a play at the plate -- the seats become completely blocked.

This is a problem that is different in kind from the problems suffered by other fans because other fans may choose to sit elsewhere the next time they come to the park, an option that, by and large, does not exist for most disabled fans.

While some may joke with black humor that the seats for the disabled are not a problem because they are fine most of the time and become obstructed "only on the exciting plays," the fact remains that marketing such seats as "wheelchair accessible" is the ultimate absurdity.

Andrew D. Levy

Ellicott City

AH Unisex Fantasies

The National Organization for Women's Helen Neuborne is living on fantasy island when she writes that gender-based insurance rates are discriminatory ("Equal Treatment," Aug. 17).

She compares night and day when she tries to compare statistics underlying gender-based life insurance with any longevity difference related to race and religion.

She's also wrong in terming results of unisex rating in Montana as positive. All Montana women purchasing individual life insurance and automobile insurance were immediately disadvantaged and continue to be so to this day.

Most women clearly understand the reason their life insurance is less expensive than men's is because, on average, women live longer.

And they know their automobile insurance costs less because, on the average, they have better driving records.

It's time for Ms. Neuborne and NOW to forget their fantasy about unisex insurance rates and come back to the real world.

William B. Snyder

Washington

L The writer is chairman and chief executive officer of GEICO.

War on Society

I am prompted to write after reading the story of Claudell Little, another innocent bystander to fall victim to our current version of prohibition, the ''War on Drugs.''

As our children die one after another, our politicians wax philosophical about how we just need to ''get tougher.'' Well, 12 years of getting tougher have made things much worse.

Since George Bush took office, emergency room visits for cocaine overdoses have risen 24 percent and visits for heroin overdoses 46 percent. Meanwhile, more and more police officers are sliding into corruption: people like Rochester police chief Gordon Urlacher (four years for embezzling $300,000 in drug sting money) or Savannah Metro Drug Squad agent Johnny Ray Moore (indicted for racketeering and reselling seized cocaine).

Prohibition did not work the first time and it will not work now. I just wonder how many more children will die in the streets before one brave politician steps forward and says, ''Enough is enough.''

L Let's stop this War on Society while we still have one left.

William M. Smith

Baltimore

Getting Paid

It's a shame that your paper continues to run partisan rhetoric by Jack Germond and Jules Witcover. To play their views on the front page and to call them "news analysis" is an insult to the

intelligence of your readers.

=1 Do these guys really get paid for this junk?

Ronald M. Szczybor

Abingdon

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