Gerald Ford is the only American President denied popular election to the job. This, after an undistinguished two-year caretaker term. Jimmy Carter is an uninspiring one-term chief executive whose significant diplomatic successes will be forever overshadowed by his general foreign and domestic policy failures.
These are hardly sources from which Vice President George Bush should take counsel in planning his agenda for the next four years as America's 41st President. The Times endorsement of the former Presidents' "American Agenda" only magnifies the media's incompetence to grasp the problems we face as well ("Agenda for Bush," editorial, Nov. 22).
Simple economics indicate we cannot balance the federal budget, eliminate the budget deficit and pay for all the "kinder and gentler" programs that Ford, Carter and (a hopelessly duped) Bush think that the country needs. At least we cannot afford them without massive tax increases at all levels.
The only sane (even if not on the surface compassionate) alternative is the libertarian approach to government. We must re-evaluate government's role in all our lives: Entitlement programs must be gutted; we must consider and then implement the privitization of many of our public welfare programs, and the Social Security system must be overhauled, and then gradually dissolved.
The future of American society depends on stable, prosperous, debt-free public and private economies. Nothing less than our very freedom is at stake.
ALAN B. CAWI