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Government needs to help regulate energy

The author of the Opinion page article "Government-Imposed Energy Efficiency - a Bad Idea," June 30, pooh-poohs the concept of government intervention to increase energy efficiency. He urges that the market should decide. In reality, our "free" markets depend heavily on government. The oil-based prosperity which we once enjoyed was predicated on extensive social investments in roads and bridges, big tax breaks for oil producers, and military muscle to protect foreign oil supplies.

Government may not be wiser than individuals or businesses, but it has different priorities. Business tends to focus on the near-term bottom line. We consumers, judging from our propensity to borrow at credit-card interest rates, have even less regard for the future. It is left to society as a whole, acting through government, to address the longer-term issues of national economic competitiveness and preserving the global environment. Our future prosperity depends not on massive resource consumption, but

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on intelligence, efficiency, and technology. Government leadership is essential if we are not to be left behind by our competitors. Daniel M. Everett, Athens, Ga.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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