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A Fine Mess Ahead

April 10, 1988

I continue to be amazed at those who write about the economy while sitting back with blinders on. How can James Flanigan write so much about the mess the next President will inherit without mentioning the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries? I would like to pose a question for him: What would the cost of living today be if gasoline were selling at the $2 (or more) a gallon anticipated in the stagflation days of 1982?

President Reagan can thank his predecessors for much of his Teflon. They initiated the energy conservation measures that led to the glut that brought the price of oil down. This, together with the concessions by labor to help companies regain market share, brought inflation under control.

But the cost of oil will not continue going down indefinitely and might move back up, so we had better get our house in order. If we don't start paying for the spending binge of the Reagan years, the next President will have no room to maneuver, and we could be in a lot of trouble.

SIDNEY BERTRAM

San Luis Obispo

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