While it is commendable that The Post has finally addressed the disparity between federal pay levels and reality {"A Federal Pay Fix," Aug. 28}, the editorial could have been written annually since 1977. That was the year when the war against the federal worker began. In 12 of the past 13 years the disparity in pay levels has grown. One wonders how this could have happened.

Part of the problem is a lack of public awareness (including The Post's) and the belief that federal workers are overpaid, inefficient people who interfere with private enterprise. But most of the problem lies with Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and now George Bush and their followers. These people believe that having less government is best. But when these people couldn't reduce the number and size of government programs to their satisfaction, they turned their attention to the salary and benefits of the federal worker.

The editorial erroneously stated that some federal workers are underpaid when compared with the private labor market. In fact, most of us are underpaid. And as for those few federal workers whose compensation may today exceed that in the private sector, consider this: over the 12 years since the Carter administration, the workers have in fact lost money because of skipped cost-of-living adjustments and the erosion of benefits.

Those of us who still believe in the value of public service to our country eagerly await pay reform. Take pay reform out of the hands of the appointed. If government must be reduced, then reduce it by eliminating or streamlining programs, not by demeaning those who serve. Keep the United States strong by maintaining a work force that is respected by management and adequately paid. PATRICK LaPELLA Arlington