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Letters to the Editor

July 15, 2009

Failure to reduce emissions also has a cost



To the editor:

In reference to Heather Seavolt's letter published July 7 ("New energy bill will drain our wallets," page A4), I believe she is correct in saying energy costs will rise due to the Waxman-Markey Energy Bill.

However, failure to move toward energy independence and reduced carbon dioxide emissions also has a cost.

Nicolas Stern (former chief economist for the World Bank) has estimated global warming will reduce the world's economic growth by 20 percent if not addressed. The total cost could run to $9 trillion globally. The report is published at http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/stern_review_economics_climate_change/stern_review_report.cfm.

A second independent study by Tufts University (www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/cost/fcost.pdf) estimates the cost of inaction to the U.S. would be 3.6 percent of gross domestic product or, by my calculation, about $482 billion each year.

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To put Seavolt's gasoline number in perspective, during President George W. Bush's administration (2000-08) the average annual cost per gallon of gasoline (all grades averaged) went from $1.14 per gallon to $3.26 per gallon, a 217 percent increase. And that was without the Waxman-Markey bill. It almost makes Seavolt's figure of a 60 percent increase seem like a bargain. Of course, it's not.

Regarding both global warming and energy policy, we face a conundrum. Failure to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel will destroy our world. And failure to reduce our dependence on foreign energy will damage our economy. There is a way out, but it won't be cheap or easy.

Unfortunately, the alternative is worse.

Larry Zaleski
Hagerstown




Wake up, America, and smell the gas



To the editor:

It just doesn't make sense to pay people to trade in vehicles with low miles per gallon when we are still manufacturing them.

How and who will determine a vehicle's correct miles per gallon? Is this highway or city averages, flat or with hills?

I read the old cars will likely be scrapped. How is this environmentally sound? Some people who own low-mileage vehicles only travel a few miles to work. They might as well continue doing so until the vehicle is worn out.

This is a "federal" program, therefore, it's ultimately paid for by taxpayers. The term "clunkers" sounds like the old Wildcat I drove in high school, but it is defined as any vehicle less than 25 years old that gets less than 18 miles per gallon.

I've been driving high-mileage vehicles for 20 years, so why do I have to finance someone else's choice not to? It is frustrating to see these huge pickup trucks or SUVs, often with one or no passengers. Apparently, the cost of running these vehicles is not a concern for these people, but they should consider the whole picture.

The faster we use fossil fuels, we deplete what cannot be replaced and are dependent on fuel sources overseas (and fuel becomes more valuable/costly).

I realize in some instances, the larger vehicles are justified -- farmers, anyone pulling heavy trailers or hauling heavy loads.

We are spending more money now financing our auto industry to develop higher-mileage vehicles. I think they already knew how to do that. However, there was plenty of demand for the less-efficient ones, so that's what they created.

Wake up, America, and smell the gas.

 

Sarah Hendershot
Hancock

Seniors can't vote ourselves a raise



To the editor:

A lifetime guarantee of Social Security benefits was a political promise that congressmen and U.S. senators could change with the wind.

Congress treats the trust funds like a piggy bank. They empty the trust fund to pay for non-Social Security programs. It isn't a government handout or pork barrel program and not a welfare payment. Put a stop to the fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare that are driving up Medicare costs.

We must prevent zero percent cost-of-living adjustments projected through the year 2012. Seniors are already taking soaring health-care and living costs. Nothing comes down. Home values and 401(k) investments are hurting. We can't meet our daily expenses without the cost-of-living adjustment for three years. We need a consumer price index for elderly consumers for their cost of living and health care.

The government's own experts now predict the trust funds will face red ink sooner than ever before. They will either raise taxes or reduce or end cost-of-living adjustments. We paid for these benefits with special taxes so that our money would be set aside for us. We need a 100 percent lifetime guarantee for Social Security and the annual cost-of-living adjustment, and no cuts.

Congress must pay back the money that was wasted out of the trust fund and pay back the IOUs. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will have a tough road ahead of them.

Quit being greedy and think about others. We can't vote ourselves a raise.

Anna Lee Burker
Sharpsburg




Let's not take freedom for granted



To the editor:

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