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We Should Panic Over Trade Deficit

November 16, 1986

I am not comforted by John F. Lawrence's Nov. 2 column. The current trade imbalance with Japan is $60 billion per year and growing rapidly. If the Japanese were donating the money to the Salvation Army, I would agree that we shouldn't panic. But Lawrence says not to worry because they're merely "investing" the money in the United States, thus providing jobs here.

Well, a positive trade balance would provide jobs, too. To pooh-pooh the difference between a positive and a negative trade balance is folly. Investing means ownership. If the Japanese were simply buying America with their $60 billion, they could buy Nevada three times in one year at $200 per acre. But they don't want our barren lands as investments any more than we do. They're buying only the best, controlling the economic heartland.

Let's face it, we're getting whipped at our own game. We simply have to see economic warfare as a good game--our game--worthy of being played, even from a losing position.

Not to worry? Well, let's not stick our heads in the sand, either.

ROBERT KENNEDY

Canyon Country

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