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Robert Reich

August 13, 1995

* Re the Opinion interview, July 30: Labor Secretary Robert Reich is right on! The fundamental problems is jobs, jobs, jobs. Unless we begin to deal constructively with the seeming inability of our newly internationalized economy to provide decent jobs for the less-skilled in our society, we run the risk of a class war as those at the bottom find all other roads closed. Unfortunately the current Republican vision of an "opportunity society" seems to stress the freedom for those at the bottom to starve gracefully while pursuing minuscule opportunity at sub-minimum wage.

MALCOLM D. WISE

Ontario

* The apparent policy disagreements among parties and voters do not hinge on class issues but on the role of government vs. the private market. On the issue of job creation and job training, most efforts to improve the productivity of the labor force in the short term, such as specific skill training, are better assumed by the private sector. Private business is much better attuned to the needs of the market and significantly more motivated in monitoring the effectiveness of such activities. Reich's argument seems on much firmer ground when it comes to general education. But even in public education there is a crying need for market-oriented accountability, possibly through greater school choice.

The overriding concern expressed in Reich's interview is the gradual marginalization of low- and unskilled workers in the U.S. Greater equity participation and profit-sharing by workers can serve to distribute the rewards of a growing economy across classes. And it is only a growing economy which will make those socially desirable investments affordable.

MICHAEL HARRINGTON

UCLA Department of Political Science

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