BARSHEFSKY: IN DEFENSE OF CLINTON'S TRADE RECORD
Contrary to Robert Kuttner's assertion ("How Clinton's trade policy hamstrings America," Economic Viewpoint, Dec. 30), President Clinton's policy consistently reflects a strong vision to sustain U.S. economic competitiveness and American jobs in the 21st century--and a solid record of tough market-opening actions.
Overall, U.S. exports to Japan are up 35%. Worldwide, the Administration has negotiated more than 200 market-opening trade agreements, and U.S. exports are up 35% over the past four years, at record levels.
At President Clinton's direction, the U.S. has led the world in setting tougher standards for trade with China. In 1995 and 1996, the Clinton Administration moved unilaterally to combat intellectual-property piracy in China.
The President also led the international community to put new enforcement powers in the World Trade Organization to ensure that all nations abide by the same rules and standards.
The President's record has demonstrated exactly the right measure of U.S. leadership in opening global markets and preparing for the challenges of the 21st century economy.
U.S. Trade Representative Designate
WashingtonReturn to top
LOOK WHO'S VETOING THE LINE-ITEM VETO
The very thought that the Republican party, my party, would endeavor to thwart the line-item veto--after it spent so much time advocating it--is beyond my comprehension ("A line-item veto that isn't?" Up Front, Dec. 30).
Democrats may be labeled the tax-and-spend party, but the Republican party is working hard to mimic the Democrats' pork-barrel spending without paying for it with taxes.
William A. McKee
DallasReturn to top
MEDICAL SAVINGS ACCOUNTS MAY BE A MISNOMER
In a year when Congress will grapple with improving the finances of Medicare, I was disheartened to learn the details of the medical savings account plan currently being implemented ("Your doctor may be in again," News: Analysis & Commentary, Dec. 30).
Recent advances in drug therapy, especially lipid-lowering and antihypertensive medicines, can significantly reduce cardiovascular mortality and the need for expensive coronary-artery surgical procedures. But "rational consumers" with medical savings accounts are likely to gamble and save the $1,000 to $2,000 a year for doctor visits and medications. If they lose and have a heart attack, they still keep the money--and Medicare pays the higher bill.
Congress and the President would be wise not to expand the program unless they also plan to find some new money to fund the extra care Medicare will have to provide.
Kenneth B. Frisof, M.D.
Shaker Heights, OhioReturn to top
THE ODDS-ON FAVORITE IN THE GREAT MODEM RACE?
In his recent article about 56-kilobit-per-second modems, Stephen Wildstrom wrote that the industry has developed two incompatible technical approaches, one by U.S. Robotics Corp. and the other by Lucent Technologies and Rockwell International ("Soon, modems with muscle," Technology & You, Dec. 23). He went on to say that U.S. Robotics seems to be ahead in the race to sign up both service providers and other manufacturers for its x2 system.
More than 400 companies have announced their support for K56flex, the protocol created by Lucent and Rockwell. That group of companies supplies more than 70% of the world's modems. It includes the leading personal-computer manufacturers that build modems into their consumer PCs.
This gives consumers more choices of modem or PC vendor to choose from. And more choice usually results in more competitive prices on equipment.
Huntington Beach, Calif.Return to top