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Let the Fed Do Its Job on Wall Street

I take exception to the article ``Stop Bond Market Mandarins From Running US Economy,'' Nov. 8. As a banker of more than 40 years, now retired, I have dealt with the bond market hundreds of times in the placement of funds for investment. This is a very competitive market.

When the economy is growing, the demand for credit grows, as it is doing at the present time. The stock market competes for these funds, and investors choose among the bond market, the equities market, and other income-yielding investments.

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The demand for available funds pushes the cost of money up. I find it hard to believe that, as asserted, 39 local bond dealers can set the price of money. Although at the present time the Federal Reserve Board's actions in raising interest rates appear to be running behind the yield curve, the goal is to curb inflation by slowing business expansion. The perception of the rate of return necessary to effectively compete with all markets, foreign and domestic, for funding of our national debt requires careful analysis of those markets, not an arbitrary decision on the part of a few. Let the Fed, with its voluminous stacks of economic data, set interest rates. Then the bond market will pretty much stay in line. Russell E. Wright, Evergreen, Colo.

Qaddafi's deceitful game

The article ``Strain of Isolation Compels Qaddafi to Approach US,'' Nov. 9, omits how the government in Tripoli, Libya, through second and third parties, has managed to get around the sanctions. The story is also mistaken in a number of aspects. The sanctions were imposed by the United Nations, not the United States. The year was 1993, not 1973. And 270 people were murdered at Lockerbie in the 1988 Pan Am bombing, not 259.

Yet the author is correct in pointing out that the Libyan government (along with agents of Syria and Iran) is believed to be directly responsible for this and other terrorist attacks. For this reason, Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi prefers to keep his indicted agents out of the hands of British and American investigators, with whom they might decide to cooperate.

Six years have passed and it's time for the US and Britain to act more decisively. That not only would bring justice for the families of the victims, but would send a warning to anyone else who contemplates blowing up a plane. Harris O. Schoenberg, New York International Council of B'nai B'rith

The effects of GATT on food

Contrary to the assumption of the editorial ``GATT Serious,'' Nov. 14, I find the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade fascinating. Once GATT is approved by Congress, the food I buy at the grocery store may no longer meet US food safety standards because the new GATT's rule of ``harmonization'' promotes the lowering of strong food safety laws to weaker international standards.

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As a mother of three children, I am fascinated by GATT's ``least restrictive trade'' rule, which prohibits distinguishing products on the basis of how they were produced, thus endangering many recycling laws as well as the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which allows me to buy dolphin-safe tuna. GATT is a trade issue only at first glance. At bottom, it affects essential aspects of our lives: our food, national resources, and working conditions. Kati Mihaly Winchell, Lincoln, Mass.

It's time to tune out O.J.

Must the O. J. Simpson trial be continued? (``Press Rights Clash With Right to Fair Trial Amid Media Frenzy,'' Nov. 7). Its continuation can accomplish no good. The trial attracts far too much morbid attention and diverts our thinking from more important issues. Let's drop this case, and let our country get on with better things. George Immerwahr, Bothell, Wash.

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