Letters To The Editor

June 11, 2007

Faulty school repairs waste tax dollars

The Sun and reporter Sara Neufeld should be complimented for the excellent, comprehensive reporting on faulty repairs to Baltimore's school buildings ("Work paid for, undone," June 6).

Such information should definitely be brought to the attention of the public, because it is our tax money being wasted.

It's difficult to comprehend how these numerous faulty repairs could have gone on for so long without routine inspections of the quality of the work.

Someone should be charged or reprimanded for negligence in failing to properly inspect these repairs.

The city schools should also establish inspection teams to check on all ongoing school building repairs.

It was encouraging to see that the city school system's recently appointed chief operating officer, J. Keith Scroggins, has pledged to take action to rectify the problem.

I hope David Lever, executive director of the state's public school construction program, and state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick will also take very firm action to correct this malpractice.

Quinton D. Thompson

Towson

Tax increases also prompt pain

Surely the "doomsday budget" being concocted by our leaders in Annapolis is nothing more than a political ploy ("Miller, Bush plan `doomsday budget,'" June 7).

It is true that the proposed 10 percent spending cuts in this budget plan would be painful to those who depend on the services that would be reduced.

I just hope our leaders remember a similar concern when they contemplate raising my taxes. A 10 percent reduction in the money I have available for my own family's budget would be equally painful.

Craig Schleunes

Cockeysville

Is energy market really `free' at all?

Our current energy problems have a familiar ring: Energy companies' profits soar while costs to consumers skyrocket.

Some energy analysts would have us believe that this situation is just the free-market economy at work.

But is the energy market "free" when energy companies can manipulate consumer prices by reducing production - e.g., by not building new oil refineries or by shutting them down for maintenance at peak travel times?

And is the electricity market free when Constellation Energy not only owns the bulk of the means of production of electricity in Maryland but also owns the primary supplier of electricity in Central Maryland, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. ("BGE trade with parent under scrutiny," June 8)?

How free is BGE, in this situation, to shop around for the best prices for Maryland consumers?

It's great to see that the Public Service Commission will be examining such questions.

Albert Fowler

Timonium

PSC needs to act to help consumers

We consumers demand and deserve "truth in lending" and "truth in advertising." So why can't we have "truth in government"?

And why is Maryland's taxpayer-supported Public Service Commission not more truthfully titled the "Monopolistic Cartel Service Commission" ("BGE trade with parent under scrutiny," June 8)?

Sure, America's free-enterprise system has made us a world leader in many fields. But too much of a good thing may be killing us in this case.

Were our power companies, on which our lives literally depend, on the verge of financial failure, the people would and should demand that they be stabilized with our tax dollars.

But similarly, when taxpaying, working people are on the verge of financial failure as a result of the prices charged by energy companies that are reporting their highest profits ever, government must protect its citizens from these robber barons.

Elliot Deutsch

Bel Air

Some fields of study don't boost earnings

Brian Till complains of being misled into thinking that graduating from college would ensure prosperity ("A misled generation graduates to a future behind the counter," Opinion * Commentary, June 6).

This complaint, and his respect for the work of Haverford College commencement speaker Barbara Ehrenreich, suggest he didn't study economics.

If he had, he should have learned that a person's job prospects and wages depend on his or her ability to create value for an employer, and ultimately for its customers.

Education improves one's prospects only if it increases the value employers attribute to one's labor.

Mr. Till (and Ms. Ehrenreich) should have been aware that some fields of study provide college graduates with hardly any job skills beyond those a high school degree establishes.

And some are so infamous for their anti-business, anti-capitalist ideology that one would expect them to be a detriment on the job market.

John B. Egger

Towson

The writer is a professor of economics at Towson University.

Libby goes to jail as Clinton gets rich

Maybe I'm just living in a fog, but I am having a lot of trouble understanding our American judicial system.

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