- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 16, 2000

We will miss Charles Schulz and Charlie Brown

I heard with great sadness the death of Charles Schulz, the great cartoonist who brought us Charlie Brown.

I came to know this fine man when I served during the Ford administration as the chief librarian for Blair House, guest house of the president. The staff and I wanted to bring in the best of American literature. Besides including science fiction into the collection for the first time, we also brought in Charlie Brown.

This was done at no expense to the taxpayers. I worked for free, along with staffers from the Library of Congress and other agencies, and the books were donated by the authors, which is what Mr. Schulz did.

At the time, Mr. Schulz's book (autographed) was the only book of illustrated humor in the home; but then many would agree "Peanuts" is the best of American humor. Goodbye, Charlie Brown. We will miss you.

LARRY WINTER ROEDER JR.

Centreville

Columnist more concerned about corporations than about America

Bruce Bartlett tried again to "spin" the mounting trade deficit to forestall any action to correct the deteriorating situation ("Trade deficit miscalculations," Commentary, Feb. 14). The result was largely irrelevant.

That American companies have penetrated foreign markets by direct investment in those countries is not new information. This is a good thing if these are "beachheads" for the use of American-made components. If, however, those foreign factories use locally produced materials or become export platforms back to the United States (thus displacing American production), then it is not a good thing for the U.S. economy.

For example, General Motors' Buick plant in China has a stated goal of sourcing 90 percent of its parts from Chinese factories. Given that China will still be imposing 25 percent tariffs on auto imports even after it joins the World Trade Organization, the incentive will be for automakers to build cars in China rather than export them from the United States.

This builds up the Chinese economy, which is the aim of Beijing's policy. According to the Bureau of Export Administration, half the exports sent to the United States from China are produced in plants built with foreign investment.

The trade deficit matters because it shows where production is taking place; and production is the key to national income and capabilities. People still live in geographically defined societies, and the balance of wealth and power between such societies (not between corporations) is what matters.

Mr. Bartlett, however, is only concerned about the freedom of petty corporations, not about the advancement of great nations not even his own.

WILLIAM R. HAWKINS

Visiting fellow

U.S. Business and Industry Council

Washington

A searing criticism of McCain or just a joke?

I agree with the thrust of Diana West's column on biographies counting ("Biography matters," Op-Ed, Feb. 11).

The reason Arizona Sen. John McCain draws so much flak from veterans is his ignoring of veterans. He won his office in Arizona as a "caring" former prisoner of war (POW). Once in office, he left the constituencies who elected him. Since he never faced a serious challenge, he has been in office since.

Mention his name, however, among the POW, missing-in-action families and veterans groups, and they'll tell you he forgot them. Mr. McCain says he never saw any information on POWs being alive. Yet, he ignores information to the contrary because it is inconvenient to his reconciliation with Vietnam.

No commander in chief, worthy of that name, would reconcile and turn his back on such clear evidence of survival. That's why those who know the issues back other people.

Character demands action on an issue this important. That he lacks.

LARRY J. O'DANIEL

Wenden, Ariz.

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Too bad Diana West couldn't have been more explicit in her criticism of Sen. John McCain, the heroic veteran.

Many of us disagree with her and would have been happy to answer her charges but, typically, they were nebulous, denying supporters of Mr. McCain's the right to respond.

Instead, the column chose to draw a comparison between Mr. McCain and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. This is the ultimate joke.

JANE MORRIS

El Cajon, Calif.

Anti-immigrant groups are losing the battle to a prosperous nation

In a Feb. 3 letter to the editor ("Cited study on immigration not all rosy"), Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform attempts to portray immigrants as fiscal liabilities by citing information on the annual costs of immigrant households from the 1997 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study.

However, University of California at Berkeley professor Ronald Lee, who performed the key fiscal analysis in the NAS report, has stated that such data are completely misleading. "These numbers do not best represent the panel's findings and should not be used for assessing the consequences of immigration policies," testified Mr. Lee before the Senate immigration subcommittee. The problem, Mr. Lee found, was that calculating annual numbers requires using an older model that counts the native-born children of immigrants as "costs" created by immigrant households when those children are in school, but fails to include the taxes those children pay once they grow up and enter the work force.

According to Mr. Lee, the correct, dynamic model used by NAS shows that taxpayers save $80,000 from the entry of a typical immigrant, most during the lifetime of the immigrant and his or her offspring. As for the fiscal impact of legal immigration on the states, Mr. Lee said, with the necessary assumptions, that a dynamic analysis would likely show 49 of the states coming out ahead, with California a close call.

Another anti-immigration organization, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), also recently presented likely unreliable conclusions about immigrants ("Reforming immigration laws," Op-ed, Jan. 30). CIS says immigrants are now less likely than natives to be self-employed.

The problem with that conclusion is the sample the group chose for its study. In the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey there are only about 13,000 foreign-born cases to represent 26 million people, so once you try to pinpoint a less common characteristic like self-employment small numerical swings cannot be detected, particularly down to the decimal point. In fact, the CIS' report itself concedes, "The slightly higher self-employment rate for natives is not statistically significant."

The U.S. Census Bureau did not include self-employment in its report "Profile of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 1997." The reason? "The sample size is so small, the error rate would be so large you would have nothing. With a confidence interval like that you don't know anything more than when you started," according to Diane Schmidley, statistician-demographer, U.S. Census Bureau.

The decennial Census in each of the past four decades has shown immigrants more likely than natives to be self-employed. We will have to wait for the results of the 2000 Census to know if there has been any change in the relative self-employment rates of natives and immigrants.

In sum, it appears those who argue immigrants hurt America still can't explain why then the economy is so good, state and federal budgets are in surplus and America remains the greatest, most prosperous country in history.

STUART ANDERSON

Director of Immigration Policy and Research

Senate immigration subcommittee

Washington

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