To the Editor:

Robert Previdi's Comment, "Line-Item Veto Bad News for Economy" (May 9, page 26) couldn't be further off the mark. If wasteful and unnecessary spending is eliminated, economic efficiency will improve and growth will increase.

The Founding Fathers never envisioned the "Christmas tree" spending bills that Congress members use to make their pet projects veto-proof. Even fiscally conservative Presidents are unable to contain the resulting sea of red ink.

Far from bringing "economic dictatorship by the President," the line- item veto restores balance by subjecting each spending item to the dual test set forth in the Constitution: Congress proposes and the President disposes. Congress still has the power of the purse; all spending bills must originate in the House. Instead of forcing the President to veto entire bills, the line-item veto allows him to veto proposals he objects to.

Robert Previdi asked why is the President better equipped than Congress to reduce the deficit. The answer is simple: In contrast to a congressman from a specific district, for which more spending is always better than less spending, the President represents the nation at large.

Mr. Previdi is right that "pork barrel legislation is nothing more than the compromises needed to get legislation passed in a large, diverse country like ours." That's precisely why the line item veto is needed. It allows the President to cut away the fat and limit spending only to essential items.

H. Robert Heller

Tiburon, Calif.

Editor's Note: Mr. Heller, a former Federal Reserve Board governor, also served as president of Visa U.S.A.

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