Herbert J. Gans states in his Sept. 10 op-ed piece: "a welfare recipient often requires little more than a decent paying job," and "a high school drop-out usually needs both a better-equipped school, better teachers and fellow students and a rationale for going to school when he or she has no assurance that a decent job will follow upon graduation."

He argues that the term "underclass" is a derogatory and insulting word used indiscriminately to describe all of America's poor.

Once again, responsibility for basic survival is removed from the individual and placed on outside circumstances -- the inability of a welfare recipient to find a decent-paying job and the lack of a guarantee of a decent job for a high school dropout. My question: How about any job? Or does being poor excuse one from working at anything that might keep one from taking from the Americans who earn a living?

An attitude like Mr. Lynd's and those people he speaks for perpetuates a negative characterization of America's poor. Help wanted signs are plentiful these days. Let these people work and earn respect first -- then condescending terms used to describe them will disappear, for the terms would no longer be valid. LENORE DENBIN Ardmore, Pa.