Another What IfI question Kenneth S. Shipley's ''What If...


September 03, 1993

Another What If

I question Kenneth S. Shipley's ''What If . . .'' (letter, Aug. 28) with this:

I wonder what the result would have been had all the homeless and their progenitors made a sincere effort to educate themselves to attain the reward of the American dream?

Richard A. Zehl


Wrongly Listed

My medical education was made possible by government financial aid programs, and I have a particular aversion to those ,, who would jeopardize such benefits for others by defaulting on their student loans.

Therefore, as I read your Aug. 31 article on doctors in default, I felt little remorse for those Maryland health professionals whose names were listed in the Federal Register and published in The Sun.

After all, these were the "real deadbeats," according to a spokesperson for Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, individuals who had ignored repeated requests for payment and who were now pursued by collection agencies and the state courts.

I was shocked to find my own name on this list, particularly since I have been repaying my Health Education Assistance Loan for almost three years.

My payments began while I was in training and were interrupted during a deferment granted to me by the HEAL office while I completed a two year research and clinical fellowship. These facts have been confirmed by the HEAL office.

Moreover, the criterion for inclusion in the "default list" was to miss just one monthly payment from March 1992 to February 1993 (a period during which my payments were deferred).

All individuals who met this criterion were listed, together with those who have resisted every form of col lection. Unfortunately, all were described in the same unflattering terms by the government spokesperson.

I remain grateful for the opportunities afforded me by the HEAL program. Those who owe should pay, and pay promptly.

However, to hastily publish an inaccurate list and to misrepresent the selection criteria used does a disservice to many and, ironically, ultimately obscures the identities of those have truly abused the system.

I hope that Ms. Shalala and her representatives will be as quick

to correct as they were to condemn.

Carl C. Awh, M.D


Public Pays

F. D. D'Alessio's letter Aug. 21 chides The Sun for misleading readers and C&P's customers by "omitting key pieces of information."

He further contends that the distance learning initiative will not be paid for by C&P's basic customers, but only by those schools that wish to subscribe to the service. Later he states that this type of reporting is disingenuous.

The initiative may be an extremely important asset, and many other benefits may be derived from its implementation.

However, the basis he uses for his justification in the PR campaign to gain public support, namely that the basic subscriber is not paying the tab, is extraordinarily misleading.

It's fairly simple. The schools paying for this service are paid for by the public through taxes or school tuition. The basic customers of C&P are the ones paying these taxes and tuition.

Therefore, it would follow that the basic customer does end up paying for this aggressive initiative. To boldly state otherwise is truly false and misleading.

R. Thompson


NAFTA a Scheme

In your editorial of Aug. 24 you lambaste Richard Gephardt for criticizing the North American Free Trade Agreement side agreements.

Obviously Mr. Gephardt was not proposing to violate Mexico's sovereignty; he was simply pointing out that we cannot legally establish minimum wages or workers' rights in Mexico, and the NAFTA side agreements are therefore worthless.

Since there are no minimum wage laws or labor protection laws in Mexico to enforce, enforcement is not the problem; and the power of the commissions to call attention to violations of Mexican laws is a futile gesture.

The real problem is the prevailing wage rates of 60 cents to $1 an hour, and the absence of any free trade unions or government agencies to enforce even the few rights promised to labor in the Mexican Constitution.

The main support for NAFTA comes from the insatiable greed for high profits on the part of American and international capital.

The lower the wages the higher the profits; and you may be sure that U.S. businessmen are not planning to invest in Mexican industry for the purpose of raising wages in that country.

The prospect of opening up a tremendous new market in Mexico and Central America falls flat when we look at the buying power of the exploited and impoverished working class in those countries.

NAFTA is simply another scheme for further exploitation of unorganized Latin American labor, which could only result in increased unemployment in the United States as big business moved its operations south.

Philip H. Van Gelder


Distorting the Case against Powell and Koon

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