Reading The Election Returns
Regarding your article "The conservative agenda" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Nov. 21), what do the congressional Republicans, now marching under the banner of Senator Robert Dole and Speaker-elect Newt Gingrich, stand for? According to Gingrich, they stand for cutting public spending, reinventing defense expenditures, and a middle-class tax cut.
In fact, much the same agenda was pursued with great vigor by President Reagan from 1981-89 and it meant that among his White House legacies were three huge black holes: the budget deficit, the trade deficit, and the national debt.
It was not until the "tax and spend" Democrats re-occupied the White House in 1992 that a serious effort to reduce the U.S. deficit, as a percentage of gross domestic product, was achieved.
The Grand Old Party's Contract With America is
a recipe for disaster and will mortgage the future of America's children.
To a major extent, the Democrats lost control of Congress by a refusal to "cash in" the peace dividend and make deep cuts in defense and intelligence budgets, which would have provided the resources to fund health-care reform. A repeat of this omission will extend Republican control beyond 1996.
The Administration should propose to continue deficit reduction and fund domestic priorities by deep and immediate cuts in defense and intelligence budgets. The Defense Dept. could and should produce a complete review to provide a framework.
President Clinton could force Republicans into a position of justification for their calls for increased defense spending. There is no justification for retention of current and projected levels of defense spending, much less increasing them.
Thomas E. Murray Jr.
San Jose, Calif.
In the next election, the Republicans will suffer the same reversal in public support that Clinton experienced. Both Clinton and the GOP were and are fools in believing that the American electorate wants what they offered.
We are tired of the right wing's attacks against personal liberty, and we've had more than enough of the Democrats' obscene wastefulness. Clinton thought 1992 was a demand for more and bigger government. Now, except for a few in the White House and their hangers-on, everyone knows otherwise. Newt Gingrich is more confused than Clinton was. He thinks we co-signed his Contract With America, even though practically no one who voted knew what was in it.
Moss Beach, Calif.