Leaders don’t understand laws of supply and demand

If you want to raise the water level of a lake, it makes no difference from which side you add the water — any input of water increases the entire water level of the lake equally. In the same way, any increase in oil production anywhere in the world raises the total world supply of oil and lowers the price of oil all over the world. Plus or minus transportation costs, quality grades and taxes, the price of oil is the same everywhere because oil is traded in the world marketplace.

When politicians say they will support increased oil production and pipeline construction only if they can micromanage oil distribution patterns and pipeline construction materials acquisition, they are just showing off their ignorance of energy policy and basic economics. Let the marketplace decide where builders get the steel to make pipelines. Let the marketplace decide where the oil goes, because in the end it makes no difference to American consumers. Market forces find the lowest prices and the best deals automatically.

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Market signals tell us to produce more or less, and they push us all to become more efficient in production, transportation and purchasing. Our politicians have unnecessarily raised the costs of energy and food to historic highs, resulting in the deaths of millions of people around the world. America needs new leaders who at least understand the basic laws of supply and demand.

From Christopher Calder, Eugene, Ore.

Congress needs to take action on sequestration

What’s it going to take to get Congress to act on sequestration?

For months, military experts have been warning that $500 billion in new defense cuts would make it impossible to defend U.S. interests around the globe. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says it would sound the death knell for sorely needed weapons upgrades and generate “significant operational risk” for our troops.

Economists predict the cuts would destroy more than a million private sector jobs and cut economic growth by 25 percent. Hundreds of thousands more jobs would be lost within the Department of Defense.

And just last week, the Congressional Budget Office concluded these cuts would send us over a “fiscal cliff” and help usher in another recession. 

Meanwhile, Syria is boiling over, Iran is closing in on a nuclear bomb and al Qaeda is regrouping in Yemen and beyond. At home, a weak economic recovery seems to be running out of steam, and the jobs reports grow worse and worse each month.

Yet Congress fiddles, and the punditocracy says the issue can wait until after the elections.

Standing for reelection without addressing this steep threat doesn’t seem like very good politics to me.

From Lt. Col. Orson Swindle III, USMC (retired), former commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, Alexandria, Va.

Clean power, not Big Oil, should be energy solution

To most of us, Congress seems to be in a steady state of gridlock, but one thing that’s not gridlocked is this: Big Oil is greasing the skids in the backrooms of Congress and peddling more dirty oil. 

A joint Senate-House of Representatives committee is now meeting to resolve differences in the two chambers’ transportation bills. But tucked into the House bill is a provision requiring the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve — not consider, but approve —a permit within 30 days for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. 

Keystone XL is fraught with flaws, from the destruction of pristine boreal forests to the potential leaks into the Ogallala aquifer. This measure is a poison pill, a gift to Big Oil that threatens the transportation bill and could hold up road and transit projects as well as squash millions of jobs. 

Instead of encouraging the production of one of the dirtiest, most polluting fuels ever and sending this sludge through America, Congress should be promoting clean-energy solutions. Keystone XL is a devious dagger in the transportation bill that will not bring us closer to energy self-sufficiency, but further line the already bulging pockets of Big Oil. 

From Robyn Carmichael, Washington, D.C.

Open letter from a voter to President Obama

I voted for you, sir, buying into your plans to help the middle class, to end the war(s) in the Middle East, to do something about our massive debt and to stimulate the economy, as well as to create jobs. You also mentioned as part of your campaign rhetoric a plan to clean up Washington, to make it work for “the people” for a change. 

Why should I vote for you again? What will be different this time? What about the Middle East, where our children continue to die for no identifiable cause? What about our crumbling cities, our massive debt, our lack of jobs, our abysmal record in education, our continued fumbling in the energy sector, our desire to coddle and “subsidize” people who no longer have the need or the pride to do anything for themselves, and of course some type of rational healthcare, particularly as it relates to containing cost and rampant fraud? 

From Janis McDonald, Herminie, Pa.