Obama has options for lowering US gas prices

The energy analysts and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar are both wrong (“White House defends Obama on gas prices after poor poll numbers,” March 12). There is much the president can do about gasoline prices in the short term. 

Gasoline is a monopoly-priced commodity. Throughout recorded history, the only force that has lowered the price of such a commodity is competition. 

Specifically, instead of continuing to announce that oil drilling will increase, President Obama today can instruct the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to apply the proposed 54.5 miles-per-gallon fuel-economy standard to only 50 percent of the light-duty fleet. The other 50 percent would be mandated as E100 ethanol flex/fuel vehicles optimized for ethanol with strict mileage requirements. At the same engine-power level, E100 gets better mileage than gasoline. Because ethanol costs less than gasoline, customers would flock to these vehicles. The ethanol to do this would come from waste, not corn.

Taking the above-50/50 step would lead us to what Brazil has — motor fuel dispensers that offer gasoline and E100 — with price competition between the two fuels for the first time in the history of the United States. This would bring about a dramatic decrease in the price of gasoline and a huge boost to the U.S. economy. 

From Don Siefkes, executive director of E100 Ethanol Group, Sterling Heights, Mich.


Palin’s pick of Gingrich shows she’s off the mark

Of all the things said about Sarah Palin, here’s one you can take to the bank: She’s no political guru.

Palin’s pick in Super Tuesday’s Alaska primary, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, came in dead last. His vote tally in the Last Frontier was a mere 14 percent.

To his credit, Gingrich won the primary in his native state of Georgia, but he underperformed everywhere else. Gingrich finished third or fourth in all the other contests.

I don’t subscribe to Palin’s brand of politics. Apparently, neither do most Republican caucus or primary voters. Maybe it’s time the former governor and vice presidential running mate picked a new profession.

From Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach, Calif.


GOP should propose plan to balance budget

Here we go again (“Ryan budget to cut $5.3 trillion in spending over the next decade,” March 20) …

The GOP should run on balancing the budget, not on gimmicks like “cutting $5.3 trillion” when in fact it is actually only slowing the growth of government by that amount. In Rep. Paul Ryan’s 

(R-Wis.) last budget, the government still grew by trillions!

The GOP should propose and run on an actual plan to balance the budget in a significant amount of time, like the five-year plan that Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) have proposed. In Ryan’s last budget, the budget was never balanced, and the closest he came to balancing was borrowing $1 billion per day.

And how smart does Ryan — who is a culprit in the growth of government himself: No Child Left Behind, Medicare prescription drugs — think it is to bring up cutting Medicare in an election year? 

If you will be crucified for cuts, you might as well go all the way. We need real, honest and bold plans, not just red-meat rhetoric for the base.

From Serafin Quintanar, Fresno, Calif.


Independents should take part in primaries

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If you are an independent voter, affiliated with neither the Republican nor Democratic party, you and your vote will be wooed in the months leading up to the November general election. As a voting group, independents could have a huge impact on whether a Democrat or a Republican is elected to represent you in the House of Representatives for the next two years. Still, your participation in the general election might not be enough to bring about any change.

As an independent you probably do not participate in the primary elections, thinking that these are only party functions. But this is where the incumbents are most vulnerable! The winners of these primary elections have a 50-50 chance of election in November. 

If you think your representative should be replaced, your best chance to make this happen is to vote in the primary of his/her party and vote for a challenger.

Even Democrats and Republicans can “cross party lines” and vote in the “other” primary in some states. We simply must cooperate with one another to bring about “change that matters.” Our shared objective should be the defeat of undesired incumbents.

From Glen Terrell, Arlington, Texas

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