Letters to the Editor — March 9, 2012

Reader weighs in on gas prices

Headline: Oil prices hovered above $107 a barrel on March 1, despite growth in crude supplies and weak gasoline demand.

Question: How do we explain the rising cost of gas at the pump when supply is going up and demand is going down?

Answer: Wall Street speculators are driving the cost up.

• Oil production is at its highest level in eight years.
• Oil demand is at its lowest level since 1997.
• More oil rigs are operating in the U.S. than in the rest of the world combined.
• Oil imports account for less than half of U.S. oil consumption.
• In 2002, speculators controlled about 30 percent of the oil futures market. Today, Wall Street speculators control nearly 80 percent of this market.
• Big speculators – primarily hedge funds – are pouring money into the oil market betting that the price will continue to rise. (Fox Business News)
• Independent analysts state that oil should be trading around $75 a barrel.

It is time for Congress to demand that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) does its job and ensure that oil prices reflect supply and demand rather than excessive speculation.

CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton calculated how much extra drivers are being charged as a result of Wall Street speculation. Honda Civic drivers pay an extra $7.30 for each tank of gas. For larger vehicles, such as a Ford F150, drivers pay an extra $14.56 for each fill-up. That’s more than $750 a year going directly from the consumer’s wallet to the Wall Street speculators. (Bernie Sanders, I –Vt.)

It is time for CFTC to do what the law demands and make sure oil prices reflect supply and demand. It is time for us to tell Congress that we know we are paying more for gas because of Wall Street greed and we expect them to represent us, not the same speculators who caused the recession.

Joanne Cabry
Rehoboth Beach

Tough medicine to make Congress do its job

Congress’ rating by American citizens is at its lowest ebb in history—somewhere between 10-15 percent — rightly so. A new bipartisan group No Labels, composed of Republicans, Democrats and independents – now over 400,000 strong – has developed a 12-point plan to get Congress back to work.

In the midst of constant Congressional gridlock and partisan bickering lies a frankly embarrassing fact — it has been over 1,000 days since Congress has passed a complete budget, one of its most basic responsibilities, and Congress has gone over a decade without passing all of the appropriate bills on time. The time deadline is Sept. 30, the end of the prior fiscal year.

In the business world, deadlines, responsibilities and accountability matter. Sadly, we need to re-install these qualities in our Congress, where current incentives encourage members to remain in their partisan corners, shirk their responsibilities to our nation, and postpone making the tough fiscal decisions.

To change Congress, and get it back to work, we need to adopt a workable incentive — if no budget is passed by Sept. 30, Congress members lose their salaries — yes, their paychecks — for the period until all appropriations bills are eventually passed. Why should they get paid for doing nothing?

This proposal of No Labels has attracted Congressional interest and bills have been introduced in both the Senate and the House — the No Budget, No Pay Act. Under the Act, there would be no retroactive pay. The Senate version of the Act has an initial hearing scheduled for March 14, 2012, by Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

No household, state or local government, nonprofit entity or a business can operate successfully without a budget, and the same is true of the U.S. government. It is time to reform a broken Congress. Together, Congress can take action to correct its failed course of the past decade or so. Go to NoLabels.org for more information on this and other areas to improve our nation in these increasingly challenging times.

Bert T. Edwards
Ocean View

Reader discusses IRSD prayer issue

As a retired teacher and a person who attends church regularly, I find it offensive to have prayer being used to try to prove a point. I’m not sure what the point is, since anybody can pray within their mind and heart anytime they would like. If you are praying to show others you can, you are defeating the whole purpose of prayer, which is to bring peace and healing.

It has been suggested that it would be fine if other religions wanted to say their prayers also. The original intent of stopping prayers at school board meetings was not to allow any and all prayers, but to have no prayers. Other religions are not requesting they be allowed to pray, they are requesting that no one do it at a public secular meeting. It would defeat the purpose if the public comment section was consumed with prayers from all religions.

I would hope the school board would return to a moment of silence to let everyone – board members and citizens – have the time to get their thoughts together in any way that is appropriate and for the community comments section to be used to make comments that will benefit all our children and their education. There is a limited time for public comment and it should be held to school issues.

Rose Mary Hendrix
South Bethany

Letter volley continues between writers

I am responding to Mr. Clemens’ letter in the Feb. 24 Coastal Point.

Mr. Clemens, the very long litany of complaints you refer to are merely my “enlightened” comments on your previously misleading letter. And then you meticulously and at some length proceed to cite numerous “facts” to demonstrate the error of my statements.

Whatever! Rather than counter with “my” facts I guess we will simply have to agree to disagree. I will, however, say one thing concerning your facts. I do not accept nor expect “facts” from the Washington Post. The Washington Post is perhaps the free world’s leading liberal newspaper.

However, there are a few things that I will offer for your consideration. First, apparently you have nothing to say about Obama’s incompetence, lack of credentials and inexperience, so I assume that you begrudgingly agree with me on those points. Second, it’s long past time for blaming Bush. Obama and his Democrats have to start assuming responsibility for their poor performance.

Third, give up the class warfare about the 1 percent. There is something very old and true about that statement that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Callous, perhaps, but that’s the way it is, and Obama’s wealth redistribution plans are definitely not the solution to his/our overspending. Has anyone in Washington heard of Greece?

Fourth, you are delusional if you actually buy into the “Affordable” part of Obama Care. It’s simply wordplay, and they are actually by design playing a shell game with this notion. Fifth, don’t get me wrong, health care for everyone is a nice idea. Come on – I’m a compassionate conservative! Furthermore, you just don’t get it that this is not really about health care; it is a giant leap forward for big Democrat government.

And another thing that seems to have been over looked, probably intentionally, with this program is our current rather serious doctor shortage. How can the system miraculously absorb 20 million additional patients? And who is going to assign doctors to live and work in our more disadvantaged areas?

Sixth, you say that Obama’s socialist/Marxist agenda is media propaganda. Are you serious? The “media” is so far in the bag for Obama that all the money possessed by the 1 percent couldn’t influence them.

Seventh and last, our country was taken away from us in 2008 by a charlatan and his media cohorts. We hope and pray that we will be successful in taking it back in 2012 or else there is no hope for this once-great country of ours.

God bless and help America!

Thomas M. Keeley III
Ocean View