Magnificent. Your editorial, "Helen Bentley and Ross Perot," Sept. 21, simplified the North American Free Trade Agreement argument from a complex issue to an attack on Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, R-Md., by using Gov. William Donald Schaefer (whom you lambaste the other 364 days) as proof that you are right. What an act.
As a Second District staunch Democrat, I can assure you that Representative Bentley has earned our trust and respect and is serving us faithfully. Her "persistent protectionism" has been a cry for a level playing field.
You, on the other hand, with myopic vision and arrogance for disagreement, have ignored government subsidies and dumping practices that have seriously injured industry, blue-collar jobs, this state, and this country.
Now you want us to dive blind-folded into this agreement -- based on your personal attack? Poppycock.
Personally, I have not decided whether I am for or against NAFTA. I'm listening, reading and questioning.
I can tell you this. That editorial did little to help. I would have been better served with an advertisement in that space. At least I might have bought what you were selling.
Harry (Mike) Dodge
The international monetary system depends on floating exchange rates and is conducive to world-wide inflation by raising the cost of international transactions and promoting instability.
Now that the world may be due for a peace-time era, a fixed exchange rate system -- which is less inflationary -- may be in order.
What about returning to the gold standard or some modified form, such as the Bretton Woods system or the recently demised European Monetary System of the Group of Seven countries?
The gold standard, the Bretton Woods system and the EMS all worked for a while until for one reason or another they began to lose credibility upon which the success of the system depends.
The U.S. lost credibility when it pursued an inflationary Vietnam guns-and-butter policy, and the EMS lost credibility when Germany (the center country of the Group of Seven) had to inflate to support its reunification policy.
Since a fixed exchange rate system has worked well in the past and conceivably could work well in the future, we need a responsible country that is able to exercise fiscal restraint and follow credible commitments, as well as countries that are willing to abide by the system.
John R. Cowley
People who were employed between the end of World War II and the '80s and are now retired must feel some chagrin in reading reports about reducing interest rates.
They lived in an era when saving for the future was considered a must, even if it meant doing without things that the younger generations consider necessities.
In those "good old days," savings institutions gave the depositor no less than 5 percent interest.
Today, when the pressure is on to reduce interest rates for borrowers, nothing is ever said in newspapers as to who is actually paying for this seeming generosity -- the depositor. The banks certainly do not mind doing this because all they do is further reduce the rates paid to depositors.
Our financial institutions should be made to realize that without deposits they have no money to lend. Many people who had saved for retirement expecting interest to augment or supplement Social Security no longer can count on that illusory interest that has become or is becoming non-existent.
Richard L. Lelonek
Get a Pet, Huggers
The Sept. 11 news article, "A Touchy Subject," failed to discuss those people who pester others with hugs. A number of people think of themselves as warm, embracing folks reaching out through touch. In fact, some of these "huggers" give people the creeps.
A relative by marriage was stunned when the father was accused of molesting a girl. He had patted and stroked her shoulder while giving a volunteer lecture to a school group.
I was not surprised he had gotten himself into trouble. He makes several of us uncomfortable, but we tolerate it.
Children today are taught about "good touching" and "bad touching" and, rightly so, are not told to keep their mouths shut for other people's sake.
To "huggers" I would like to say, look into your own heart. If you are touching to meet your own needs, get a cuddly pet.
If the person you are touching or hugging does not reach toward you or hug back quickly, retreat. If the person feels stiff, stop at once and do not initiate further contact.
If the person does not initiate a hug at one out of three meetings, stop extending hugs. Some people will find they miss your hugs and either tell you so or just reach out to hug you.
Cable TV's Obligations
Regarding the letter from Comcast Cablevision's Stephen A. Burch (Sept. 14), it appears that Mr. Burch's estimation of the thinking capabilities of his customers is on a very low plane.
Mr. Burch states, ''We know people watch the networks as well as our own cable programming, but to pay for it just doesn't make sense''