Missile defense will be viable and necessary

We assume that while Helena Cobban voices everyone's hope that the United States will continue to "build stronger ties of friendship with people of other countries," she also understands that some people don't control their own political destinies ("Build a stronger US without fear," June 8).

Further, continued adherence to arrangements such as the ABM Treaty, that were designed to preserve the doctrine of "mutual assured destruction" between the cold war superpowers, will come under increasing scrutiny as new ballistic missile threats from new sources mature. Experts can differ about the current state of missile defense technology and its effectiveness. What is indisputable is that its advancement, like all science, is inevitable, and that it will sooner or later become a viable defensive option. No administration will leave Americans and their cities defenseless when this comes about.

Lawrence F. Skibbie Arlington, Va. President National Defense Industrial Assoc.

Girls deserve equal pay - for hard work

Regarding "Gender gap in kids' wages, too" June 19: The article informs us that high school boys earn $7.36 an hour, while their female counterparts earn $6.73 per hour. Which proves, once again, that boys and girls are different. While boys push a lawn mower in the heat, girls baby-sit in a climate-controlled environment. While boys haul heavy crates in the warehouse, girls work the cash register. While boys buss dirty dishes, girls take customers' orders.

If women want to earn the same as men, they simply need to apply to work as loggers, miners, construction workers, and garbage collectors, and do the other dangerous, dirty jobs that men are expected to perform.

Edward E. Bartlett Rockville, Md.

Social Security

Regarding David Langer's opinion piece "Social Security vs. stocks" (June 19): Mr. Langer succinctly describes the broad effects of Social Security's safety net and gives reasons why the system specifically excluded stock equities when established in 1935.

Langer's analysis is backed by realistic numbers and situations which match my own circumstances. This informed analysis by an actuary should be required reading for all citizens - especially younger Americans and politicians - who are intent upon changing Social Security into something less than it is by narrowly focusing on individual accounts rather than the larger society's gains from the current Social Security System.

David Giltrow Santa Fe, N.M.

Mr. Langer may be an actuary, but he neglected to learn that Ed and May, his current hypothetical 30-year-old couple, will not be eligible for full Social Security benefits when they reach age 65. Thus his argument is flawed by ignorance and is misleading.

T. Kollor Stagecoach, Nev.

Establish human population limits

Regarding "Florida fight over location, location, location" (June 12): Lawyer/developer John Merrigan suggests that a new airport adjacent to both Everglades and Biscayne National Parks is the only solution to the crowded Miami terminal. Humans have established limited animal population densities for certain finite spaces. When those levels are exceeded, excess animals are culled to preserve the habitat. A geographic area's ability to support human populations is also limited. At that point, sprawl should cease and development should occur elsewhere.

Isn't it time we began to establish limits to human population density?

Jon R. Godfrey Candia, N.H.

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