Overseas jobsWatching ABC's "Nightline" recently I was...

the Forum

October 19, 1992

Overseas jobs

Watching ABC's "Nightline" recently I was devastated to learn that my U.S. tax dollars have been used to create jobs in Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, etc. The rate of pay in these countries is less than $1 an hour.

Secretary of Labor Lynn Martin said that over 22,000 jobs have been created. Thus we have spent over $100 million to train people overseas for jobs taken away from our own workers. Ms. Martin is opposed to union labor and would probably be glad if we all would work for minimum wage.

Sen. Al Gore noted that it is an outrage to use taxpayers' money to recruit companies to take jobs away from our own citizens. He also mentioned that the Bush administration has actively encouraged U.S. companies to go overseas. Mr. Bush seems more interested in creating jobs elsewhere than in our own country.

An example is the Maidenform Co. in West Virginia, which closed its doors and moved to one of these countries, leaving 150 people without jobs.

The president of the company said he lost money on each garment. The wages at this company in 1980 were around $6 an hour, and in 1990 they were $10 an hour.

Who is going to take care of all the unemployed people that these overseas departures have created? Who is going to pay their mortgages, feed and clothe them and educate their children? Not George Bush.

Jeanne H. Hildebrand

Baltimore

Drug czar overlooks real issues

"Drug Czar" Bob Martinez is still singing President Bush's 1988 campaign theme song: "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

His flippant reply of Oct. 4 ("Legalization Would Worsen Drug Problem") to Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's Sept. 27 letter ("Treating Drugs as a Public Health Problem") skipped over the serious issues raised by the mayor.

Mr. Martinez ignored the conclusions of the study by the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, that the nation's drug-war policy is criminalizing an entire class of people, namely African-American men.

Mr. Martinez ignored all eight suggestions by Mayor Schmoke for dealing with the failed drug war without so much as mentioning them. Like his do-nothing boss, Mr. Martinez blames Congress and state governments for any failures in his program.

A major part of Mayor Schmoke's letter dealt with the connection between drug use and public health, especially the spread of AIDS. A needle-exchange program was one constructive idea floated by Mayor Schmoke.

Mr. Martinez ignored the AIDS issue and arrogantly rebuked the mayor, writing, "In many states, funding for drug treatment has been reduced . . . " Maybe he hasn't heard that the trickle-down economic depression has parched local and state budgets across the country.

In my mind, the studied ignorance of Mr. Martinez is a purposeful continuation of the divide-and-rule philosophy epitomized by Mr. Bush's Willie Horton campaign.

I would say Mayor Schmoke is polite to characterize the Bush administration's anti-drug strategy as "flawed." "Willfully misdirected" would be more accurate.

Keith Matis

Baltimore

Soviet travels

I would like to level with President Bush over this non-issue of Bill Clinton's trip to Moscow while he was a student.

As a high school student in the early '70s I also visited Moscow. Leningrad, too. During the administration of Richard Nixon, detente was the word, and I had the opportunity to take a trip that heretofore would have been unthinkable.

In fact, the State Department encouraged visitors to the Soviet Union to help promote understanding between our two superpowers.

I am angered over President Bush's desperate attempts to turn this into a campaign issue.

Many students took trips to the Soviet Union at the time as "ambassadors of goodwill" for the United States.

I resent anyone's trying to imply that what we did was unpatriotic or un-American. In fact, we were doing what the government wanted us to do, and I went there as a proud American, who came back enriched by the experience. As well as all the more thankful that I lived in a great country like the United States.

David K. Henderson

Baltimore

Anything goes

The Bush-Quayle-Baker team concluded that Bill Clinton and Al Gore were on their way to winning the presidential election by a blow-out.

This is why Bush is now personally involved in the political equivalent of the "Hail Mary" pass in football -- a final, desperate attempt to destroy his opponent and divert the electorate from its desire for change.

Don't be surprised if in the next few weeks you hear Bush or Quayle suggest that Bill Clinton is Joe Stalin's illegitimate son, an Iraqi double agent or an extraterrestrial transvestite -- or all three!

Bush's political handlers believe they have nothing to lose and, in any event, they'll never be held accountable. They are twice wrong.

The ends don't justify the means. Cynical use of deceit, dishonesty and demagogy permanently stains a public career. As a way to gain power, even to do great and noble deeds, it doesn't wash.

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