Magazine

George Bush Has A Powerful Energy Program


Writer John Carey's description and endorsement of candidate John Kerry's energy plan -- and his one-sentence dismissal of President George W. Bush's programs -- will sound persuasive to people who don't study the subject ("Kerry's high-wattage energy plan," News: Analysis & Commentary, Aug. 9). But even a modest inquiry reveals that it is the President who has been offering a strong, coherent energy plan.

Among Bush's achievements are: Our hydrogen fuel initiative to power vehicles with domestically produced hydrogen instead of relying on foreign oil; our $1 billion FutureGen program to build an entirely clean-operating coal power plant; our creation of three international partnerships to address global warming with enhanced science and technology; and our regular submissions of energy-efficiency and renewable-energy budgets to Congress.

Meanwhile, [Carey] gushes over such Kerry proposals as his support for ethanol, without mentioning that this is a longstanding Bush position. Senators Kerry and John Edwards, by being absent from the Senate when the energy bill failed by two votes, kept enhanced use of ethanol from becoming law, prevented enlargement of alternative fuel, clean coal, and new energy technologies programs from moving ahead, and killed the extension for wind and other renewable energy tax credits and the energy tax incentives earlier this year. [Kerry] has defended the Kyoto Treaty and a carbon cap that the independent Energy Information Administration said would likely devastate the coal sector, cutting coal use between 18% and 77% and boosting U.S. energy prices between 17% and 83%. It was disappointing to see a piece so one-sided and unobservant of the facts.

Spencer Abraham

Secretary of Energy

Washington

In "Foreign policy: The pros and cons of John Kerry's approach" (Editorials, Aug. 9), an important problem, the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was given its due regarding the fight against terrorism. Not only should settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be put on the front burner but America should give credence and support to the Geneva Accord. This accord is the product of Israelis and Palestinians who desire security and an eventual peaceful coexistence for both peoples. The international community also supports the positive steps of this accord. Avoiding dealing with this major problem is at the expense of America as well as the Israelis' and Palestinians' welfare. In fact, it threatens world peace. Let's get on with being an honest broker in this Mideast battle.

Alison Hopper

Williamsport, Pa.

I have never seen the integrity of America's policies deteriorate to such a low level -- and the credibility of its leaders so skeptically questioned worldwide -- as during the Bush Administration. Senator John Kerry is not offering a much better prospect on the Middle East, either. When American policies serve narrow interests rather than national interests, everybody suffers. When policies abandon America's solid values of fairness, due process, justice, and self-determination, the world suffers. More important, under such conditions, America loses something far more profound -- its moral authority.

J.E. Jreisat

Tampa

Was it arrogance when the U.S. entered Somalia, Panama, and Haiti? Would we have been arrogant if we had entered Rwanda to save thousands of Africans? The U.N. did nothing to stop ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and little in the Sudan. It was the U.S.'s prodding of NATO and supplying nearly all the armament and bombing in Bosnia that stopped the slaughter there. Waiting for others to stop tyrants after September 11 is foolish. The U.N. is probably as ineffective now as the League of Nations was before World War II. The stakes are much bigger now.

Richard Andrews

Alexandria, Va.

In "The light fantastic" (The Great Innovators, Aug. 2), Adam Aston credits Charles Townes with inventing the laser. He dismisses Gordon Gould merely as one "who later challenged" Townes's laser patent. If read literally, this statement is incorrect. Both gentlemen -- as well as others -- got separate patents early on. If one distinguishes, as one should, between masers and lasers, then Townes can be said to have invented the former, and Gould the latter. It's a complicated story and the subject of several books.

Karl F. Jorda

David Rines Professor of Law

Franklin Pierce Law Center

Concord, N.H.

If corporations got more responsive to complaints and quit stonewalling cases where liability is unambiguous, the cost of litigation would be much smaller, and the portion of this 'tax" going into the pockets of customers much greater ("Let's put the 'litigation tax' on trial," Economic Viewpoint, Aug. 9).

A more punitive and regressive "tax" on American business is the "overpaid CEO" tax. It should be noted that this tax, unlike the litigation tax, can be completely avoided by the corporations' own determination to do so.

David M. Sanderford

Granbury, Tex.

I am troubled by the notion that $559 a week is a "high-wage job" ("Another look at those job numbers," News: Analysis & Commentary, July 26). Arguing that things are "healthy" on the job front because there is growth among the "48% of American workers [who] belong to occupation/industry groups where the median pay is $559 a week or more" amounts to generalization. Living on $559 a week is not healthy. Breadwinners on such wages would be shocked to be considered in "high-wage" jobs.

E.K. Torkornoo

Laurel, Md.


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