Letters to the editor

Apr. 09, 2013 @ 07:42 PM

Laying off government workers won’t help

Politicians talk about lowering taxes and cutting government spending to speed the economic recovery. This discussion fails to make a crucial distinction.

The most difficult part of the recovery is unemployment. The stock market has done great, doubling in value since 2009. In other ways, too, folks who are doing well are doing very well indeed. Unemployment, however, has been stubborn.

Preaching that we must help families struggling with unemployment by reducing taxes and the size of government misses is wrong. 

People who are unemployed do not pay taxes. Reducing taxes and reducing the size of government does nothing to help the unemployed or their families (and hurts them when we cut benefits).

Tax cuts benefit those who are doing great and do not need the help. There is a political ideology that cutting taxes creates jobs, but no businessman i know has ever admitted to hiring more workers in response to a tax cut.  

When we cut taxes, we require layoffs in government. That does at least three things:  adds more people to the rolls of the unemployed, increases the number of people competing for available jobs and reduces the number of employed people (and the confidence of those still employed) thereby reducing spending and causing more layoffs in the private sector because of the reduced spending.

We can discuss reducing the size of government - and which parts most need reducing -when the economy comes back. Laying people off from their government jobs now is hurting us, not helping.

 

James L. Conner II

Durham

 

Action required to maintain resources

Sadly, House Bill 298, which rolls back our Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards requirement, passed through the House commerce subcommittee by a narrow margin. Though legislators and lobbyists on both sides have focused mainly on the economic consequences of renewable energy investment, we should remind ourselves that renewable energy moves us towards an environmentally sustainable future.

The switch to renewable energies will greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thus limit the effects of global warming. Based on an EPA carbon footprint calculator, an average American will emit up to 57 pounds of C02 on a daily basis. Just by switching our household and vehicle energy consumption to renewable energy, the amount of emissions is reduced by 45 percent!

More importantly, investing in renewable energies would improve the very environment we live in by moving away from dirty fossil fuel emissions and ensuring that our air and water quality does not continue to deteriorate.

The John Locke Foundation, a right-leaning organization mentioned in Tuesday article, stated in their 2010 “there is nothing that North Carolina, in conjunction with the other states, can do anything that have a noticeable effect on climate change.”

Granted, there are still many people who agree with this argument, but if having clean air to breathe and clean water to drink is important to us, we should be taking all the steps necessary maintain these resources.

 

Ting Ting Eeo

Chapel Hill

 

Necessary conversation to preserve values

On Wednesday, five friends and I - all recent alumni of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - will submit a letter signed by over 150 young alumni to the UNC community. In the letter, we endorse the university to lead among its peers in actively addressing academic fraud, mismanaged athletic programs, and harmful sexual assault policies. We recognize that these issues stretch far beyond UNC's campus, and during this difficult time we seek to reaffirm the university's historic role as a pioneer in academic excellence and social justice. 

Recent scandals have shocked the extended university community, of which Durham is very much a part. While acknowledging real administrative flaws at UNC, we also necessarily examine our own tacit support of such disturbing practices. 

How are we - as Blue Devils, Tar Heels, parents, students, teachers, or alumni - perpetuating values that encourage incidents of sexual violence, suppression, and fraud? What questions aren't we asking? How do these stories intersect with conversations about rape culture, institutional racism, Division I athletics, and the decline of the liberal arts education? 

We endorse the university to lead on these issues knowing that they cannot be truly resolved by implementing a few changes in university policy (though practical policy changes are vital). Rather, we as young alumni seek to affirm our continued engagement with the myriad questions these incidents have raised, about our vision for the future of the university and the state. We look forward to joining the conversation.

 

Hannah Friedman

UNC at Chapel Hill Class of 2011

New York City