US deficit: Drop MX and buy electric blankets?

I found the editorial, ``Inclusive freeze'' March 11, highly commendable. Why does our government drag its feet over plausible ways in which our huge federal deficit could begin, right now, to be reduced? Have we become so used to ``living beyond our means,'' individually, and as a nation, that huge deficits don't seem to matter? Are ``honesty'' and ``frugality'' considered to be just old-fashioned ideas?

Consider our administration's insistence on the MX missile as a bargaining chip. Are we willing to return to conditions which characterized the Middle Ages, when the only safety was considered to depend on bristling battlements? Ours is supposed to be a government ``of the people, by the people, and for the people.'' Are all of us being heard at headquarters? Geraldine Fulenwider Lewiston, Maine

There are 21 MX missiles on the drawing boards in this year's ``defense'' budget, according to a Jan. 17 article. It seems that nobody intends to use MX missiles, and there are some who think they won't work as missiles, only bargaining chips. Many people doubt that they'll accomplish much as chips in the gambling pot either.

Maybe it is clear now why some of the big corporations who make armaments contributed a goodly part of that $900,000 mentioned in the article for the last election. They were trying to elect those people they thought would play this deadly game with them.

Why not take that $1.5 billion and purchase a Ford, a Plymouth, or a Chevrolet for every leader in the Kremlin, and buy an electric blanket for every Russian? They will love us, and the companies will make ``mega-bucks,'' we will come out with a smaller budget, and the administration will have started a whole new method of negotiation. Ralph Parvin, Pastor Holly, Mich.

The story, ``As US consumers spend more on imports, calls for protectionist measures rise'' March 7, made me wonder why they are not calls for dollar devaluation instead.

Protectionist measures -- fiscal obstacles deliberately put in the way of specific merchandise exported to this country -- can only breed resentment. Devaluation of the dollar might breed resentment by speculators whose gambling has wrecked United States export trade, but the hurt to the innocent would be negligible compared with the benefit to the many thousands who have lost their jobs. US products remain world favorites. Enable them to compete and sales will bloom again and unemployment figures for industry will fall.

For some reason, Americans seem to fear devaluation. Perhaps they have been used to thinking of it as the last desperate resort of some bankrupt third-world country. In the case of a strong currency such as ours, no risk attaches to it. It is a disgrace to have our once-mighty industries run into the ground and our peerless craftsmen and farmers robbed of their livelihood. Keith O. Shelford Custer, Wash.

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