Candidates' Free-Trade Policy

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Regarding the front page article "Perot Puts Spotlight on Free-Trade Issue," July 3: None of the three presidential candidates is properly handling the controversial issue of free-trade negotiations with Mexico and Canada. Aside from neglecting the need for a global free-trade initiative instead of one for North America or this hemisphere alone, all three fail to stress the importance of a domestic-adjustment/full-employment strategy to backstop any form of free-trade undertaking. All three (in varying degrees) have proposals for strengthening the United States economy including US competitiveness, but none of the candidates coherently relates his domestic-economic strategy to whatever passes for his foreign-economic strategy.

America is unprepared for a real free-trade policy, hemispheric or trans-hemispheric. David J. Steinberg, Alexandria, Va. Government needs to help regulate energy

The author of the Opinion page article "Government-Imposed Energy Efficiency - a Bad Idea," June 30, pooh-poohs the concept of government intervention to increase energy efficiency. He urges that the market should decide. In reality, our "free" markets depend heavily on government. The oil-based prosperity which we once enjoyed was predicated on extensive social investments in roads and bridges, big tax breaks for oil producers, and military muscle to protect foreign oil supplies.

Government may not be wiser than individuals or businesses, but it has different priorities. …