NAFTA's losses pale next to job increases Your article "NAFTA: Off with the rose-colored glasses" (Oct. 18), is a single-sided column which simply parrots the big-labor view of NAFTA.

The article quotes economist Charles McMillion, who provides a list of irrelevant trade deficit figures. The fact is we have a trade deficit exactly because our economy is so good. And, we get the added benefit of reduced cost of goods, which is equivalent to giving a pay raise to every American citizen. Remember, it's not how much money one earns that is important. It's how much money one earns in relation to the cost of purchasing goods that is important.

The article states that we have lost 500,000 jobs to Mexico in the last six years. Even accepting this figure (which is suspiciously high), this is about the number of jobs created every two months by our economy. In other words, there are 17 million more jobs in the US now than there were when NAFTA was enacted. Job loss to Mexico is statistically irrelevant.

In closing, Mr. McMillion is quoted as saying that to ignore the Mexican experience and lurch ahead with new deals is "a recipe for even deeper and wider trouble." Given that the US has had the strongest economic expansion in history in the period since NAFTA was enacted, it seems more likely that expanding NAFTA is a recipe for continued prosperity. David E. Miller Tucson, Ariz.

Students have responsibilities too Your article "Is college for everyone?" (Oct. 19) expressed several valid points, such as the lack of good guidance counselors, and keeping students from dropping out, but failed to emphasize the student's responsibilities. I am a freshman at Ricks College and have faced challenges in going from high school to college.

It is the student's obligation to determine if he or she will succeed or fail. Preparation from high school and guidance counselors can help a student in making decisions, but ultimately it is his or her own choice. Kimberlee Heninger Rexburg, Idaho

Reaction to No Gun Ri Kim Yong Geun's piece, "A Korean's view of No Gun Ri" (Oct. 6), gives us a generous view of the US government when he says "the US always tries to avert or minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage in wars, as shown in the Gulf War and the recent Kosovo conflict." Apparently, he has not read the Monitor's recent articles about our use of cluster bombs and depleted uranium bullets in Kosovo. Even high-altitude bombing to save our own necks causes civilian casualties.

You have done your readers a great service by providing more in-depth coverage of these scourges. The American public absolutely must try to put pressure on our Defense Department and on NATO to prevent our using these methods ever again! Doris Sutter San Rafael, Calif.

Time for strong pressure on Ethiopia Regarding "Room for optimism in a churning Africa" (Oct. 18): The article states, "Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Eritrean President Isais Afeworki, both past recipients of millions of dollars in US aid, have consistently balked at peace initiatives aimed at ending their 15-month border war."

Eritrea has accepted the peace documents drafted by the Organization for African Unity without any ifs or buts. On the other hand, Ethiopia has refused to sign the documents and is preparing for yet another offensive against Eritrea. Isn't it time for the international community to put strong pressure on Ethiopia to sign the documents and spare the lives of tens of thousands of young Ethiopians and Eritreans? Mesghina Araia Union City, Calif.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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