Letters to the Editor
Readers write about nuclear power, how to improve the US healthcare system, Democrats and the economy, and why the credit crisis will bring multilateralism back into world politics.
Nuclear power a short-term answer to long-term problem
Regarding the Oct. 21 editorial, "Build steam for nuclear power": This piece seemed to be written strictly from an energy-demand standpoint. The author gives scant recognition to the gravity of the problems posed by nuclear energy, namely waste disposal and terrorism.
Nuclear energy is attractive as a short-term solution to our energy needs and to global climate change, yet the enormous lack of foresight regarding the hazardous waste management (not to mention the social injustices of uranium mining) betrays the same lack of foresight that brought our society to its present environmental crises. Energy demand is indeed a dire problem, and fossil fuel combustion carries its own suite of social and environmental ills. Yet are huge, expensive, enormously subsidized, hazardous technological approaches the answer?
I would dare any political leader to be brave enough to introduce limits to consumption. Indeed, the dream of limitless energy encouraged by nuclear power supports our collective penchant for wanton spending and waste.
Bring down the cost of healthcare
Regarding the Oct. 20 article, "Fixing healthcare: tax credits vs. more federal money": Neither candidate's proposal will significantly improve the healthcare crisis because neither addresses the root cause of why insurance has become unaffordable for so many Americans.
The most important way to reduce the cost of healthcare is disease prevention. The massive rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, for instance, have helped drive up the costs of insurance exponentially. These diseases are largely related to lifestyle factors and thus are largely preventable. Yet they cost the healthcare system tens of billions of dollars each year. Any solution must include ways to prevent people from developing these chronic diseases in the first place.
While this proposal alone will not fix the problem, it will at least bring down costs, thereby making healthcare more affordable for some of the 45 million currently uninsured Americans. Neither Senator Obama's nor Senator McCain's proposed healthcare plan does anything to help get costs under control.
Democrats and the economy
Regarding the Oct. 21 Opinion piece, "Why the economy fares much better under Democrats": In comparing Republican and Democratic administrations, author Larry Bartels artfully omitted mention of the Carter administration's ineptitude in dealing with the economy. And President Clinton's administration leaving office with a federal budget surplus, while a definite accomplishment, owed a great deal to a Republican majority in Congress.
US will have to cooperate again
In response to the Oct. 17 editorial, "A new cop for global finance": At least one very good thing is coming out of the financial disaster that is hitting the world: The US is being forced to cooperate more closely with other countries. Gone are the days when the US saw itself acting unilaterally. Now, with us as responsible as anyone for what has taken place, and with so much to lose, it is cooperation and multilateralism that are once again defining the nature of world politics.
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