Items Have No Place in an Economic Stimulus Package

[Editor’s note: Specific points in the following letter on the congressional stimulus package are concerning the package at the time the letter was written, and do not necessarily reflect specific points that remained in the package thereafter.]

I am deeply disappointed in the lack of fiscal responsibility exhibited by members of the House and Senate. The American people deserve better. When we elected them, we expected that they would demand better of their colleagues and hold them accountable for their obligation to “The People.”

The current stimulus package has been loaded with pet provisions that highlight the irresponsibility of our elected officials.

Unfortunately, it underscores the rationale to distrust politicians. The spending of billions of taxpayer dollars on provisions that will not create jobs should be removed from the ill-conceived stimulus package.

Some of the wasteful provisions include:

• $2 billion in earmarks to restart FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient;

• $246 million in tax breaks for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film;

• $650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program;

• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship);

• $448 million for constructing the Department of Homeland Security headquarters;

• $248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters;

• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees; and

• $400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STDs.

This type of spending of our tax dollars is an outrage. We need more common sense in Washington.

We need a drastic shift in thinking, we need less government. I just put our entire workforce of 430 associates on a four-day work week to control costs and maintain operating margins. The government should act the same. Cutting government in half is a good start.

Jon S. DeArment
Vice President Mfg. & Eng.
Channellock Inc.
Meadville, Pa.

Personal Opinions Don't Count in Science

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to Raymond Wilson’s letter, “Contractors, Governmental Global Warming Rules,” Feb. 2.]

Mr. Wilson’s letter stated that the global warming debate is not over because 30,000 scientists were willing to sign a petition saying that they do not believe there is evidence to support global warming. The Global Warming Petition Project has been around since 1999. The petition is based on the premise that because people have degrees in science, their opinions are valid.

Science is about development and testing of theories against real data. It is not about personal opinions. Unless people are specialists in climate science and have worked in the field, their opinions have no scientific validity.

The ramifications of global warming are too important for our industry to let misinformation go unchallenged.

McLouis Robinet
Retired scientist (physicist)
Oak Park, Ill.

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Publication date:03/02/2009