Television ads can't solve military's recruiting...


November 12, 1998

Television ads can't solve military's recruiting woes

Regarding Tom Bowman's article ("Military recruiters losing war at home," Nov. 3), I was amused at the military leadership's bewilderment at declining recruitment and its almost comical strategies to combat it.

There's a much simpler solution: The military needs to be a responsible employer. I've been in the Navy six years, and I don't know of any sailor who doesn't have a "recruiter story." My recruiters promised me, upon enlistment, the following: free medical care for my family, college loan repayment, and, best of all, a commission after boot camp.

I received none of these items. (The best story I heard was from a sailor whose recruiter promised him a bachelor's degree when he graduated from training school).

The military, particularly the Navy, needs to realize that word gets around. Many potential recruits are going to recruiters with a great deal of trepidation and cynicism or not going at all. More slick television ads and recruiters won't solve that problem.

Larry A. Van Meter

Fort Meade

The article "Military recruiters losing war at home" was a total insult to our youth here in Maryland and throughout the country. My dad, Joe Gately Sr., dropped out of school during World War II to serve our country and other people who needed it.

How quickly people forget the sacrifices of others. The recruiters need to get their minds right. The younger people of today, more than ever, need to get direction and guidance -- not insults on how confused or no good they are.

Next time there is a national emergency, tell your recruiters "Don't call us, we'll call you."

Joe Gately Jr.


Little incentive to save with low interest rates

I am astonished at the naivete of the economists who express dismay at the decline in the savings rate in The Sun ("Consumers raid their piggy banks," Nov. 3).

What in the world did they expect? For years, the investment community has been systematically bullying the Fed into cravenly cutting interest rates to unrealistically low levels so that mega-houses like Salomon Brothers and Merrill Lynch can carry enormous net borrowed positions at laughably low rates, making big bucks every day of the week, with correspondingly gratifying increases in year-end bonuses to executives.

It has come to the point at which money is not the cheapest commodity around, with the result that appliance prices and college tuitions and house prices can soar because they can be financed at so little cost.

There is really very little financial incentive for people to save at all because they are compensated with wretched rates, which ** are fully taxable, federally and locally.

Now our solemn but irrational economists are shocked that, having plucked away people's compensation to save, people as an incentive to not save.

Not only do the interest rates offer less incentive to save, but the accrued interest that used to swell savings totals is now far lower.

Robert L. Taylor


TV viewers get break from negative barrage

All Marylanders are true winners in last week's gubernatorial elections as we will no longer be assaulted (insulted?) by that barrage of negative television ads!

Gary F. Suggars


Column insults black voters who voted their interests

In a typically outrageous column, Gregory Kane lamented that more Maryland blacks didn't support Ellen R. Sauerbrey and accused Gov. Parris N. Glendening of demogogy and deception for ads that were critical of Ms. Sauerbrey's voting record on civil rights issues while a member of the Maryland House of Delegates.

If anything, the governor was too kind in his portrayal of that dismal record. He revealed only the tip of the iceberg.

I can understand why Ms. Sauerbrey's supporters would not want it publicly disclosed that, for example, she voted consistently against bills that sought to deny economic benefits to the racist apartheid government of South Africa. Really now, is there something good you can say about a person who would so vote? Is that the sign of a civil rights supporter?

Beyond the many anti-discrimination bills that Ms. Sauerbrey did vote against, she also repeatedly supported shifting enforcement authority over insurance discrimination from the state Human Relations Commission to the insurance commissioner, and she opposed creating the Maryland Affordable Housing Trust.

Mr. Kane says that, as a result of the election, the "collective lips of black Maryland voters are now permanently sutured to the rump of the Democratic Party jackass." That's a nonsensical insult to independent-minded thinking people.

The choice was between a supporter of civil rights (Mr. Glendening) and an opponent (Ms. Sauerbrey) who was trying to buy the votes of a selfish few with promises of a tax break. The rump kissers were more likely in the minority, and the animal involved was not a donkey. The vast majority voted for someone who offered good programs that served their interests.

Kenneth A. Stevens


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