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HOW TO SAVE $28 MILLION A YEAR

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In retaliation for the shooting down of two civilian planes, President Clinton wants to boost funding for radio and TV Marti - a move that represents the triumph of good intentions over good judgment.

Just ask Tom Korologos, a former Utahn who in 1992 headed the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.After long and careful study, the panel recommended that Marti be scrapped because its broadcasts are not getting through to the people of Cuba with their messages of what America is all about and what Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is doing wrong.

But then the diplomacy commission simply reached the same conclusion that many others had arrived at much earlier. This page, for example, has been saying for many years that TV Marti never should have been started because Havana easily blocks its video portions. Its audio portions, like the programs of radio Marti, are unnecessary because Cubans have long been able to hear broadcasts from American commercial radio stations.

These observations have been confirmed by the U.S. Information Agency, which surveyed Cuban exiles and found that a significant number had tried to tune in TV Marti while they were still in Cuba but could not locate the TV signal.

Yet here President Clinton is proposing to add an estimated $2 million a year to the $26 million outlay already being wasted on the broadcasts beamed at Cuba.

Keep this pointless grandstanding in mind the next time someone in either the executive or legislative branches of government tries to insist that federal spending cannot be reduced more than it already has been without impairing the national interest.