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Balancing the Budget

October 10, 1985

Former Sen. George McGovern's article (Editorial Pages, Sept. 23), supporting the balanced-budget constitutional amendment, because it would force a reduction in the arms race, had a profound impact on me. It revealed to me how easy it is for us to let our biases get in the way of clear thinking.

For years I have been opposed to the balanced-budget amendment. I suspect the main reason is that its supporters have been people whose political philosophy differs from mine. I have been concerned that the purpose of its proponents was to force the government to cut out many social programs. I approve of social programs, thus, I was concerned.

McGovern's article made me realize the truth. The only way to achieve a balanced budget is to make drastic cuts in military spending. Even a superficial examination of the current budget shows there are no conceivable alternatives.

It is easy to find technical faults with the balanced-budget amendment. It is easy to see risks. However, looking back at our history, with both Democratic and Republican administrations, convinces me that something drastic needs to be done to halt the drift toward the ultimate nuclear holocaust. Any risk in the amendment is trivial compared to the risk we are taking with our arms race.

Perhaps a balanced-budget amendment will force us to open our eyes. Perhaps we will see that the armaments spiral is really an addiction. But like any addiction this soon wears off and we need to build more weapons in our delusional quest.

RICHARD FOY

Redondo Beach

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