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Letters to the Editor. Figuring the federal budget

Regarding the statement ``Hardware purchases have helped prop up the manufacturing sector'': The huge budget is the main source of problems in the manufacturing and farm sectors, as well as in others [``Defense budget boosts US economy as civilian sector starts to slow,'' Oct. 17]. To finance the defense budget, an extra $200 billion or more of United States bonds have been sold each year at whatever interest rate is required to effect the sale, thereby driving up interest rates and creating a drag on the economy generally.

The Japanese, Germans, and others overseas, are attracted by the high interest rates and are buying US bonds rather than buying our farm products and other exports. They obtain the required dollars by selling us automobiles, steel, TV sets, and other products previously produced by our own manufacturing sector.

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The result of this huge defense budget is that our manufacturing sector has been severely damaged and there have been cutbacks in many worthwhile programs. Van Metre Lund Northbrook, Ill.

Just as Lyndon B. Johnson began the practice of including social security, a retirement fund, in general budget reporting to conceal the costs of the Vietnam war (resulting in today's real military spending figure of 64 percent being shown as ``just'' 34 percent), so does its inclusion in ``income'' distort the revenue picture.

Eliminating ``social insurance'' from the OMB graph (``Taxes: The elusive goal of reform,'' Sept. 25) shows that individual income taxes have grown from 18.7 percent of federal government receipts in 1940 to 70.4 percent today, rather than 44.7 percent. Steve Juniper Fort Jones, Calif.

The article on Nathan Perlmutter made reference to President Reagan's ``highly controversial'' visit to Bitburg, West Germany, where Nazi ``war criminals'' are buried [``Today's age-old challenges for Jews,'' Oct. 15]. Reagan's purpose was not to honor all of the deeds performed by all those buried there, but to put to rest any lingering fear and hatred between our two nations. These are the real war criminals. He also wanted to pinpoint what we share in common from World War II -- its terrible cost. Kenneth Geisinger Arnold, Md.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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