I was flabbergasted by the opening paragraph from the letter that compared the American system to the German one in the area of support for parents {"A Tale of Two Nations," Nov. 17}.

In this letter, which responded to a Nov. 6 front-page story, it was suggested that the reason parents in the United States are depressed is that they need to be financially responsible for their children; society does not take on that responsibility. The major problem with our society is that too few people think that their choices in life are their responsibility. Perhaps if we all took more responsibility, financial and otherwise, this country would be a better place. CAROLYN C. BREAM Frederick The recent letter by Vincent Brannigan of Bethesda and Bernd Beier of St. Augustine, Germany, regarding the state benefits for parents in Germany was informative, but it omitted some relevant information.

To begin, few ethnic German couples are having children. Despite all of the benefits of having three children, such large families are quite rare. The benefits that were promoted as a means of encouraging larger German families have not worked.

Much also was made of the free university. True, there is no cost (except taxes), but entry is strictly by merit and by the needs of society. If society requires 300 automotive engineers in four years, that is all that will be accepted and acceptance is determined by grade point average.

Of course all of the benefits discussed by the letter writers come with a price tag. Germans have a 19 percent social security tax, a 13.5 percent national value added (sales) tax and a marginal income tax rate nearly double that of the United States. I doubt that many Americans would accept the high taxes of Germany to support child care, particularly when having a child is viewed as a personal decision not unlike buying a car or owning a dog. I might add that when going to eat in a restaurant, most Germans leave the children home and bring the dog.

The German system of taxation and family support gets mixed reviews. Now if you wish to hold Germany up as a shinning example, how about that there are no speed limits and no capital gains taxes?

JAMES R. CAMPBELL Arlington