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A Sound Annuity - Not a Plush Pension

Regarding the opinion-page article "The Most Unfair Noncut of All: Federal Pensions," July 21: We, as federal employees, do not have a pension - we draw an annuity, for which we paid 6 percent of our salary from the day we started working for the federal government. It's frustrating to read negative remarks regarding the cost to taxpayers from the retired federal employees. In Fiscal Year 1993, according to the Office of Personnel Management, there was credited surplus of more than $317 billion in the CSRDF Account. In that year, employees and government-as-employer contribution credits to the fund, along with the fund's investment income, total more than $63 billion, $29 billion over what was needed to pay federal retiree and survivor annuities. This is money we paid in and invested to cover our retirement. The money in the Civil Service Trust Fund is there just like your savings are in the bank.

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Ardena Gray

Pine Buff, Ark.

President, Arkansas Federation of Chapters

National Association of Retired Federal Employees

The article was right on. Letter responses castigating the authors only show why we haven't been able to set things right. Former Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D) of Arizona and others say they are entitled to largess. Pensions were originally conceived to help older people who were no longer able to work. Now we have groups expanding pensions to considerably more than necessary to live out the remainder of their lives. It all has to come from somewhere and unfortunately it is a disproportionate share from those who contribute the most to the countries' success.

Glenn H. Wixon

Sunland, Calif.

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Beware of fast-talkin' Newt

In reading the opinion-page article "How Newt Runs For President," Aug. 1, I was reminded of the following ancient proverb (which seems applicable to Speaker Gingrich): "You can fool some of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." Confucius say: Beware of fast-talking speaker.

B.A. Pask

Decatur, Ga.

Defeating terrorism in Peru

The opinion-page article "Peru's Fujimori: How to Follow a Tough Act," July 27, was interesting, but oversimplified.

The article seems to imply that Peruvians are more interested in human-rights issues than in jobs, environmental pollution, and the defeat of terrorism. It isn't clear from the article if the amnesty law is being used as a political weapon by opposition forces, or if there is a feeling of outrage in the electorate over the law. President Alberto Fujimori has succeeded because he kept his promises with respect to terrorism and the economy. Although progress in human-rights issues and the preservation of the existing democratic system are important goals, the real yardstick that will make or break Mr. Fujimori's presidential tenure will be the unconditional and total defeat of terrorism and the economic gains of the nation, especially in the area of employment.

Robert Reyes

E. Lansing, Mich.

True conservatives conserve

In the opinion-page article "Conservative Conservation," Aug. 3, Rep. Connie Morella (R) of Maryland outlined what a true conservative should stand for when it comes to the environment. From safe drinking water and clean air to wetlands and endangered species, being a "conservative," means conserving (i.e., protecting the nation's resources, not opening them up to wholesale exploitation).

I can only hope that other Republicans will follow Rep. Morella's lead, break away from Speaker Gingrich, and stand up for true conservation values supported by their predecessors.

Andrew Savagian

Madison, Wisc.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to "Readers Write" and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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