Read My Letter: No New Taxes
“Superbad” (Opening Remarks, Nov. 28-Dec. 4) is fairly well-written, but it reaches the wrong conclusion. The supercommittee was a debt reduction committee, not a tax-raising committee. Apparently that point was missed by Paul M. Barrett. If raising taxes is necessary for the U.S. to get out of debt, how does this article square with the fact that President Obama and the Democrats not only want to continue the payroll tax deduction but want to raise it to $1,500? The Congressional Budget Office says this would cost $2 billion in lost revenue. No economist in good standing would suggest raising taxes in a down economy, and I believe we are in one.
Also, I question anyone who wants to give more money to a government with the failings of ours. Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC) have cost us billions; the U.S. Post Office wants $10 billion from taxpayers every year and raises rates. (In the case of the Post Office, bad union contracts should be renegotiated, unneeded employees should be laid off, and unneeded post offices and distribution centers should be closed. There is already pushback from the Democrats regarding closing post offices and distribution centers.) Amtrak loses money every year, the so-called Justice Dept. has not prosecuted anybody from the derivative producing houses that caused the financial collapse, and the Securities and Exchange Commission can’t identify a Ponzi scheme—but by its own admission, it “suspected” R. Allen Stanford of Texas for eight years.
No more taxes; cut spending; there are plenty of duplicative agencies and departments. Some we don’t need at all, like the Energy Dept., which hasn’t come close to the goals identified in its charter but is now wasting money on failing companies and subordinating taxpayers’ money to private interest money.
Sustainability’s Rating Game
Regarding “Who’s the Greenest of Them All?” (Focus on Sustainability, Nov. 28-Dec. 4): One thing I might add, as someone who has spent the last six years assessing sustainability for investment purposes, is that companies need to do a better job of consistently reporting Global Reporting Initiative indicators. GRI Guidelines certainly have some limitations, but it’s the best standard we have at the moment, and they are currently working on improvements. While there are many companies using GRI, there are just as many that are not. So instead of making it an apples-to-apples comparison of companies in the same industry, it becomes an apples-to-oranges comparison. That contributes to the problems and challenges around ratings.
Senior Sustainability Analyst
A Big Fracking Mess?
Regarding “The Underground Solution” (Cover Story, Nov. 7-13): Thank you for a very informative article. As a progressive green, I found it helpful to understand the scope of the problem. But I wish you had given more discussion over to the produced water that comes up from the wells. The volume is huge, and it is contaminated with some of the toxics you mentioned. Storing on site in open ponds is a really shortsighted practice that got the industry in the bad position it is in from a public-relations aspect.
What systems does the industry have to purify or reuse this water so that it does not remain a potential danger? Would it be feasible to build a portable fractional distillation plant that could separate dangerous or valuable chemicals for recapture or reuse, and allow local discharge of the distilled water?
Screen name: Gene Goes Green
Yep! Shale gas production will create a lot of economic activity, all right. We’ll need advanced flame suppressors miniaturized to fit on the ends of faucets, because fracking releases flammable gases into water supplies, and people in fracked areas have had flames coming out of their faucets. We’ll need lots of new earthquake-proof buildings, because fracking causes some pretty big temblors. And we’ll need new, waterless technology for growing crops, because fracking poisons water supplies.
What a stroke of genius! Shale gas-induced economic activity will lift us out of our Depression. Thank you, Corporate America! Your CEOs really do deserve their multimillion-dollar bonuses. If all those unemployed people who will benefit from your technical marvels weren’t so self-serving, they’d be using their food stamps to buy flowers to send thank-you bouquets.
David R. Yale
We need to go solar. Solar doesn’t cause earthquakes. If every home had solar panels instead of roofs, how much better off we’d be. In Oklahoma this week, there were 4.7-mag earthquakes. They can thank Chesapeake Energy (CHK) for that.
Regarding “What Is She Thinking?” (Opening Remarks, Dec. 5-11): How long did it take your team to find the most unflattering photos of Angela Merkel? Good job! I am aware she is not a beauty queen, but you made her vicious. Bet next week we’ll see a “Sunny Boy” on your cover—in your archives, no bad photos of the masculine club are filed.