Letters to the editor

May. 22, 2013 @ 07:09 PM

The most vulnerable are at risk

Recently, I attended a statewide gathering of Bread for the World in Greensboro. Bread for the World (www.bread.org) is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger here at home and abroad.

We learned about the severe impacts that the sequestration cuts will have in North Carolina, if the cuts that went into effect on March 1 are not rescinded. We were not talking about long lines at airports, cancelled White House tours, or reduced services and programs at national parks.

The sequester will hurt thousands of North Carolinians. Meal programs for low income senior citizens in North Carolina stand to lose $1.5 million? Seventeen thousand children under age five and pregnant women will lose nutrition assistance through the Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program. And 1,500 North Carolina children will not be able to participate in Head Start.

Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan and our U.S. representative should form a circle of protection around the most vulnerable people in our community.

 

Lloyd Schmeidler
Durham

 

Competition unwelcome in North Carolina

When Milton Friedman visited China and saw thousands of workers digging a canal with shovels instead of tractors and excavators, his guides told him that this method created more jobs. Famously, Friedman retorted: “Then why not use spoons instead of shovels?”

On Monday, May 13, the North Carolina Senate, in bipartisan fashion, unanimously approved Senate Bill 327 to ban direct auto sales to consumers by companies like Tesla Motors under the premise that it threatened the jobs of thousands who work at auto dealerships. 

I suspect the North Carolina Auto Dealership Association played a major role in bringing both parties together to pass this protectionist legislation.

The Senate has entirely missed the point. Their vote is stifling innovation and hurting consumers by leading to increased costs and excluding competitors. The Senate clearly lacks an understanding of opportunity costs. When consumers are forced to pay more for a good, they ultimately can afford less of that good and others too. 

As Friedman pointed out, jobs are only as beneficial as the value they add to a process or product.

The threat technological advancements pose to job security has been used as justification for stifling advancements for centuries. Imagine all the jobs we could create if we banned electronic printing of books or banned computers from automating manufacturing processes. These obviously are backwards ideas. The ban on direct auto sales in Senate Bill 327 is backwards as well. 

 

Jason Melehani

Chair, Durham and Orange County Libertarian Party