It would cost $700 million to raise the pay of the area's 350,000 federal employees 8 percent {"Area's Federal Workers Feel Shortchanged on Pay Raise," news story, Dec. 15}.

It costs $700 million to keep our young people in the Saudi Arabian desert for 10 days. If we send our kids to slaughter, we will eat up $700 million every day and a half.

What peculiar priorities we have. We think nothing of spending $700 million on 36 hours of carnage, yet balk at spending the same amount to make a whole year a little easier for all the area's federal employees. JANE WINGATE Columbia

Enough already from the federal employee crybabies who are moaning about not getting an 8 percent cost of living increase.

At this critical time in our nation, tens of thousands of workers are being laid off in cost-cutting moves by industry and local governments. However, not one federal employee has been laid off or will be. Moreover, every one of them will get a salary increase of about 10 percent or more this year. I know that government statisticians talk about a paltry 4 percent. But that is just the increase in the grade levels. In addition, all employees get another in-grade or between grade increase of about 6 percent every year.

Instead of being grateful for their good fortune, these same people now demand additional cost-of-living raises. As every Washington businessman knows, it is the federal government that sets the salary levels in this area. If the cost of living is high, it is because of those salary levels. It would truly be obscene to grant the major beneficiaries of Uncle Sam's largess an increase for the high cost of living that they generate. EDWARD FRITZ Bethesda