Not surprisingly, I take strong exception to Meg Greenfield's characterization of recent budget deliberations as "an insane and seemingly unending adult pillow fight" {"Ringside at a Pillow Fight," op-ed, Oct. 22}.

The responsible press and news media owe the American public deeper insights into the nature of the budget debate. Miss Greenfield equates orderliness and decorum with sound policy: If true, the Soviet Union's disastrous five-year plans, adopted without dissent, were models of economic strategy.

As one who gladly challenged the inequitable package developed at the summit, I have no apologies about the virulence or length of the budget battle. We are, after all, undoing a decade of fiscal mischief that was adopted without much rancor and that instituted regressive tax policies, uncontrolled military spending and gratuitous cuts in domestic programs like health care, education and housing. Policies, like those that bankrupted the Treasury, made us the leading debtor nation and tripled the national debt in just eight years.

Democracy isn't supposed to be decorous, and sometimes passions are loosed when issues like fairness and justice are challenged. If we'd had a few more passionate pillow fights during the Reagan years, there would be less need for S&L bailouts, massive new taxes and health care sacrifices by seniors now.


U.S. Representative (D-Calif.)