Your article on the economic situation in the Pacific Northwest ("Idyllic aura has faded in the Pacific Northwest," July 11) fails to address the cause of the problems here. In Oregon, decades of Democrats' social engineering have left the state with many people depending on "entitlements" administered by a massive bureaucracy.
This was fine so long as there was industry to support the working people and to pay the taxes. The environmental movement put an end to that.
The timber industry has been destroyed to protect spotted owls. Agriculture is under attack. Farmers in the Klamath basin, promised water by our government, have seen their fields dry up to protect fish. The fishing industry is so heavily regulated that local fishermen can't compete with the foreign ships offshore.
The only solution proposed by Oregon to solve the state's problems is to increase taxes, when spending cuts are needed. Our economic problems can be solved, but only by fiscally conservative policies and the repeal of smothering regulations.
Calvin W. Hurd
Regarding your July 9 article "The other battle: coming home": Thank you for your touching article on the troubles of our returning vets. One thing that seemed missing: Is there a program for the confused wives or husbands to help the soldier "decompress"?
The painful experiences of many of the vets are being addressed. However, husbands/wives have also been subject to stress of a different sort. They wonder, "Is he/she the same man/woman who went away?"
The program for returning soldiers needs to address the soldiers' entire family. To leave them dangling, as was done after the Vietnam War, is morally indefensible.
I loved the article on single dads raising kids on their own ("Life as a single dad," June 9), but I can't help being a little bitter when I remember my single mother's struggle to raise three kids and work full-time. No one ever gave her any breaks. It seems that some of the fathers get sympathy and a helping hand from everyone.
It would be nice to see employers let single mothers leave early and take laptops home in the same proportion as single dads.
There is nothing in a woman's genes that makes her any more cut out for parenting than a man. Single moms deserve the same breaks as single dads. I hope your feature opens some eyes to the difficulties of parenting in general, whether for one or two parents.
Noni Bookbinder Bell
Regarding your July 8 article "Practical skills vs. three R's: A debate revives": My daughter has a master's degree. My son never went to college. My daughter cannot afford to buy a home. My son not only owns a home, but also the commercial building out of which he runs his sign-painting business.
My daughter is a published author, a contributing editor of a large magazine, and a wonderful wife and mother. My son is a happy, loving husband with many friends. Both are, by any standard, successful. But my son is materially more successful.
Before I dropped out of college in the early '60s, my business professor said, "Money makes life easier, and it doesn't make any difference how you make it." I established a profitable tool-manufacturing company.
Young people today should know that they can earn a good living in the trades - in many cases, a better living than those toiling in more "prestigious" or erudite fields.
The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. We can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.
Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.