Balancing Government Regulation

Regarding the Opinion page column "Mr. President: Some Friendly Advice," Oct. 16: It would be wonderful if the world were as simple as the author would have us believe in his column defending the economic policies of President Bush.

The author repeats the age-old conservative theory that taxes, government spending, and regulation are bad; the reverse is good. We must assume there is no in-between, no variables, no adjustments necessary for changing conditions. We are told that economic problems in America are "wildly exaggerated." Significantly, there is no mention of education, health-care costs, the environment, cities, and the loss of manufacturing jobs. One survey pointed out that during the Reagan-Bush era, the top 1 percent of

the population gained considerably in income; the top 20 percent also showed a gain; the second 20 percent stayed about even; the bottom 60 percent declined in real income. For conservatives, this is truly the American way. Joseph Tiede, Raleigh, N.C. Government by the people

In the Economy page article "Eyeing Clintonomics: Jimmy Carter Redux?," Oct. 16, the author addresses the cost of governmental programs. Today people look to government to solve all of their problems, but in most cases, this is the least efficient way to handle it.

I recall reports of a large family housed in motel rooms under a state emergency assistance program. For about half the cost, a more suitable home could have been rented, but regulations prohibited using the funds for rent assistance. The result: The family was stuck in less suitable housing at twice the price.

The public is asking the government to solve the economic crisis, to make American businesses more competitive, to reduce the trade deficit, to improve the environment, to improve education. What is needed is for workers to strive for greater productivity and quality in their work; for consumers to give attention to where and how products are made; and what effect their use has on the environment. We need to solve the problems we face and not expect the government to do what is really our responsibility. Wendy Joy Spille, Princeton, N.J. Line-item veto power

If President Bush is reelected, congressional Democrats would do well to give him the line-item veto power he says he wants. For all of his talk about cutting down spending, he has never been specific. A veto power would put him on the spot.

What would he cut? He doesn't want the military cuts Congress has proposed. He obviously can't reduce the interest on the national debt. He would be afraid to make deep cuts affecting the elderly, veterans, or farmers without further discrediting his claim to be the "kinder, gentler" president.

Yes, there are pork-barrel items which probably deserve to be cut. But since they were for the benefit of local and state constituencies, to cut any of them would make these constituencies blame him rather than the legislators who sponsor them. George Immerwahr, Bothell, Wash.

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