In "Dear Mr. President, since you asked..." (Editorials, Mar. 8), under additional spending cuts, you propose to save $10.7 billion over five years by reforming veterans' disability benefits. This translates into $10.7 billion taken from disabled veterans.

Now, I want you to read what follows very slowly: If it weren't for these disabled veterans and other veterans who put their lives on the line for our country, BUSINESS WEEK would not exist. Nor would our government, our way of life, or our country. How did you get so screwed up that you can even think of asking a disabled veteran to give more?

Peter L. Adamski

Hampton, N.J.

Eliminate 50% of the members of the House of Representatives. Besides the direct saving in salary, benefits, and perquisites, it would improve efficiency and reduce the number of proposed laws generated and their associated costs.

Arthur I. Christensen

Shelton, Conn.

I would like to propose two additions to your list:

1. Eliminate the interest deduction on mortgages related to second (weekend or vacation) homes.

2. End the deduction of interest on second mortgages. Why should I as a homeowner have the ability to deduct the interest when I borrow funds to buy a new car while my (less affluent) tenants cannot?

Andrew Grimstad

San Francisco

Your editorial is almost exactly to the point in its suggestion that subsidies to the tobacco-growing industry should be eliminated. It seems ridiculous to discourage smoking by tax and local edict and then to encourage and abet the industry with subsidies to the growers.

Frank M. Sweder

Reno, Nev.

As an airport director, I was caught by surprise by your editorial, which calls for the elimination of the projected $6.7 billion in federal subsidies to airports from 1994 to 1998.

We at the Akron-Canton Regional Airport are sympathetic to BUSINESS WEEK's dyslexia, for in actuality the airports of this country have been subsidizing the federal government. For years, the government has collected billions more in user fees from the traveling public via the 10% ticket tax than it has paid out--which results in lessening the federal deficit. We see no reason this would not continue in the future.

Frederick J. Krum

Director of Aviation

Akron-Canton Regional Airport

North Canton, Ohio

Part 2

I am familiar with the bitter rivalries that exist among scientists, which at times threaten to sabotage the effort to defeat the AIDS virus. Yet I was unprepared for the shamelessly carping tone of your article "Red faces in white coats" (Top of the News, Mar. 8).

You presented uncritically the petty complaints of rival researchers towards the breakthrough of Massachusetts General Hospital and Chow laboratory in AIDS research. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, AIDS czar at the National Institutes of Health and a man not usually given to hyperbole, was quoted in The New York Times as calling the MGH-Chow results as "potentially very important." You chose to ignore such views and to present the dreary collection of sour-grapes comments by rival scientists. Such a shoddy, unbalanced effort is unworthy of your otherwise fine publication.

J. Dewey Banks

Arlington, Va.

Part 3

Viva Torres! I am tickled by California State Senator Torres' interest in "Californians, here it comes: Pay-at-the-pump insurance" (Top of the News, Mar. 8). Fresh out of the University of Virginia's graduate economics school, George Hoffer and I originated this plan in 1971. We termed it variously "Insurance by the Gallon," or "Pay as You Drive."

Unlike the California plan, however, we saw no virtue in imposing car-registration or driver's license insurance surcharges on good drivers. Instead, we envisioned very hefty insurance surcharges on motorists with spotty records--hefty enough to force some off the road entirely.

George R. Tyler

Senior Economist

Joint Economic Committee of Congress


Your story on pay-at-the-pump insurance used the word "tax" in describing the concept. That T-word releases such knee-jerk irritation in the U.S. that any rational consideration of the whole subject then starts to become difficult.

This is not a tax. A tax is a charge that is levied on persons or property for public purposes. But this is buying something for yourself--namely insurance--at bargain rates whenever you buy gasoline.

Paul B. MacCready

Chairman of the Board

AeroVironment Inc.

Monrovia, Calif.

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