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Reagan's State of Union Address

February 17, 1985

Your editorial (Feb. 8), "Their Land, Too," summed up President Reagan's ideas in a sentence: Let the people be free to make money, and all will be well. You are missing the point when you denigrate Reaganism as mere money-making. The essence of his viewpoint is that of an America of self-reliant, self-supporting individuals and families. Yes, such citizens will make money; but what does that mean? It means giving value for value received. That is the only way anyone in this country makes money for any length of time, by offering value for value.

It is tempting for many to seek the easier way, and to assert that their need constitutes a claim, a valid draft on the resources of the rest of us. But we who pay the bills are entitled to assert that in many cases, their need does not constitute a claim.

We have seen the America of welfare and dependency that decayed amid the spreading hopelessness brought on by the assertion that anyone's statement of need must stand as a claim. But amid Reagan's attitude, that one must live by giving value for value received, we see a burst of hope and new vigor in the nation. The resulting growth and progress offers vast new opportunity to all--particularly to those unfortunate ones who are first touched by trouble in hard economic times.

The unlucky ones of your editorial are indeed American citizens. Yet it does not follow that they therefore have a claim upon the wealth of this land, for they must be prepared to work and produce things of value. Many of them long to do this--and have joined the 7.5 million people who have filled the new jobs that have opened up under Reagan, since 1981.

Many of them persist in hoping that they will somehow qualify for a handout and be spared the task of giving value for value received. But the cure for these people is not that their needs be re-elevated to the highest of our national priorities. Rather, it is that they should change their attitudes--the attitudes of welfarism and dependency that have laid them low--and join the rest of us who are building Reagan's America. Reaganism is not for the white and affluent, as you assert. It is for all who hope to live by working.

T.A. HEPPENHEIMER

Fountain Valley

My heartfelt thanks for your admirable message depicting Reagan's State of the Union address. You gave us a true picture of our country, that the poor and the middle class can relate to in contrast to the picture Reagan painted, which gives an impressionistic view of beauty, comfort and contentment that only the wealthy can relate to.

FAN KLEPAK

Los Angeles

Your editorial describes America as it once was, clean, decent, prosperous.

The policy of indiscriminate welfare and permissiveness has resulted in huge slums and crime out of control. So, what motivates the do-gooders who have done so much harm--stupidity or subversion?

JOHN L. WILKINS

Los Angeles

Thanks for your lovely editorial contrasting Reagan's pie-in-the-sky fairy tale version of life in America today, versus the grim reality of it for many millions of our people.

I am sending copies to everyone I can think of, and am carrying one copy with me, as a powerful, and most welcome, answer to my supply-side, soothsayer friends, who refuse to acknowledge the existence of, and could care less about, our unfortunate countrymen.

Thanks again for your understanding and compassion.

HERBERT L. BREGSTEIN

Beverly Hills

Congratulations on your editorial. Most poor people don't have access to The Times, so I put the clipping up in my office. It may give people some comfort to know that even though their President ignores their plight, The Times knows, and understands.

The question is, as responsible, caring people, what do we do now? The President's message to the poor is: Look elsewhere for help. Where in God's name are they supposed to look? I can hand out a few dollars and a box of food, and stay awake at night worrying about people, but that is no solution.

Lack of decent food, medical care, housing, and jobs, for the poor in this country is a disgrace. I'm so appreciative that you spoke up. Is anyone listening?

JOANNE GONZALEZ

Claremont

Congratulations on your lead editorial. Yes, as you say, "there was little in the (Reagan's) speech for millions of other Americans who live in distress and hopelessness, the Americans who don't make enough money to owe any taxes now, the Americans who shiver in homes that lack heat and lights and food."

Please, Mr. President, show us a change in your programs. Show us your compassion.

JEAN MICHENER

NICHOLSON

Altadena

God bless the person who wrote your lead editorial, which is a prize winner, beyond the question of a doubt. It will reach out and touch the heart and soul of millions of Americans.

It is the most beautiful, truthful editorial I have read in the 40 years I have been reading The Times.

MOLLY SCHNEIR

Beverly Hills

Reagan's State of the Union address was a battle cry to plunge the dagger of inequity even deeper into the heart and soul of all the meaningful social programs of the past 50 years.

It reminded me of another political figure, 50 years ago, who also mesmerized a nation--and almost conquered the world.

CARL M. LEVIN

Los Angeles

How appropriate that on the night of the announcement of this year's Oscar nominees, Ronald Reagan gave his State of the Union address. Too bad he couldn't be nominated as "best actor painting an overly optimistic picture while avoiding the deficit" or "best peace rhetoric from an actor involved in the biggest military buildup ever."

It's a shame your old union didn't recognize your splendid performance, Mr. President. It sure was better than anything you did at Warner Bros.

FRANK MALFITANO

Los Angeles

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