Wise Up The headline "Saving Owl May Cost 20,000 Jobs" {front page, Sept. 7} was a simplistic and wrong representation of the situation.

Where were the headlines that announced the loss of 26,000 mill-related jobs in Oregon and Washington between 1979 and 1989 due to mill automation and exports? Where was the headline announcing the present export of whole and split logs to the Orient -- logs that if kept here would create enough domestic jobs to offset those "lost" to the spotted owl?

Robert Costanza, chief editor of Ecological Economics, and Lisa Wainger, a researcher, are right when they conclude, "By viewing ecological problems as a battle between economic interests and environmental interests, we force groups to take sides to their own (and society's) mutual detriment."

Far more than jobs will be lost if we clear-cut the last 5 percent of our ancient forest.

The forest contributes to our air, soil and water purity not to mention our spiritual well-being. This treasure should be handed on to America's children, not greedily consumed like everything else in our disposable society.

The lines are drawn. It is not owl vs. man as your headline would have us believe -- it's man vs. man.

-- Marilyn Fioravanti Equal Opportunity

John D. Trasvina apparently thinks Mort Walker's Cpl. Joe Yo in "Beetle Bailey" is supposed to represent American soldiers of Japanese descent {Free for All, Sept. 9}.

If that is the case, then we must also believe that all generals are henpecked fools; all sergeants are snaggle-toothed bullies; all female soldiers are either overweight, man-hungry sergeants or flat-chested, feminist clerks; all privates are goof-offs, idiots, skirt-chasers or air-headed geniuses; all lieutenants are stupid; and all black officers dress "Afro" when off duty.

Come on, Trasvina, lighten up.

Americans of Japanese descent need no apologists. They have the right to be caricatured along with every other American.

-- William L. Richards Jr. Fact Check (Cont'd.)

Philip Trezise is right {Free for All, Sept. 8}, and W. D. Stout {Free for All, Sept. 15} is wrong. There can be no "false facts," although attempts may be made to falsify the facts.

As a distinguished editor of the Manchester Guardian, C. P. Scott, put it many years ago, "Comment is free, but facts are sacred."

-- William M. Owen

Contrary to Philip Trezise's contention that the language does not provide for false facts, it does.

"Factoids," coined by Norman Mailer in "Marilyn," are "facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper, creations which are not so much lies as a product to manipulate emotions."

-- Elena Siddall Whole Lot of Nothing

Your Campaign '90 section carrying the Maryland election results on Sept. 12 was truly outstanding in its early editions.

Perhaps you could submit it to journalism classes as an example of how to carry the news to suburbia -- I mean it's hard to match a page-and-a-half of zeros.

-- David W. Saxton A Penny Saved Is a Penny Taxed

Your Sept. 14 editorial "No to IRAs" ignored the fact that our income tax system discourages saving by taxing savings twice: not only are amounts saved taxed, but the interest is taxed yet again. Individual Retirement Accounts seek to neutralize this double taxation.

While you continually bemoan the lack of national saving, often to justify tax increases, you condemn this effective means of encouraging private saving. A number of studies, including several published by the prestigious National Bureau of Economic Research, have found that IRAs do increase personal saving rather than simply encouraging people to shift savings from one account to another.

Do you think the American people will be likely to save more if the policy of double taxing their saving is maintained? Or will giving the public a tax break increase the likelihood of saving?

Ask the Japanese or the Canadians. Incentives to save in their countries have brought household savings rates up to 15 percent and 10 percent respectively, compared with about 5 percent in the United States.

-- William V. Roth Jr. The writer is a Republican senator from Delaware.