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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.

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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.


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