Submitted letters to the editor and other parties. Only a few of these were published.
Saturday, August 28, 2004
To the editor:
The state of Florida is wrong to discourage price gouging (“Hurricane survivors cite price gouging,” August 20-22). In the case mentioned, an Ohio-based firm did some emergency work on Ilyse Kusntetz’s house. She decided it was too risky to wait a few weeks for prices to return to normal, lest the damage to her house get worse during that time. If prices in Florida are kept at pre-hurricane levels by government force, out-of-state firms stay home. Ilyse would have had to wait on line. Price gouging insures that contractors come from everywhere and customers with the most dire need are served first. It also encourages both local and out-of-state contractors to work night and day doing as many jobs as possible in the weeks before prices return to normal, providing the most rapid restoration of the community.
Jacked-up hotel prices encourage families to double up and triple up, providing best use of the available emergency space. Jacked-up prices for food, ice, anything, encourage people from non-affected areas to load their pickups and drive long distances to make a few extra bucks. The list goes on.
Experience has shown that whenever government is successful at suppressing the supply and demand of the marketplace, misery is the result.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
To the editor:
Your writer, M.G. (Maggie Gram?), scoffs at the possibility that minimum-wage jobs at gasoline filling stations could move from New York State to New Jersey (“THE GOP ON MINIMUM WAGE: $5.15 IS HIGH ENOUGH,” August 12-25). The price difference for gasoline between New York and New Jersey is already great enough that there are but few filling stations in Rockland and Orange Counties near the New Jersey line (and lots on the Jersey side). An increase in New York’s minimum wage, which would raise the price of gasoline in New York, would reduce New York’s numbers further still. Filling-station jobs would indeed be transferred from New York to New Jersey. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
To the editor:
Stanley Gershbein presents two sides of an issue in “Pilots Don’t Have to Smile For the Camera, Just Accept Them,” Flatbush Life, Aug. 23. But there is a third side, the “freedom” side. Why can’t individual airlines, in the absence of government force, decide whether, when, and where to install cameras, and advertise “For your added safety, we have cameras in the cockpit.”? Let each customer choose which airline to fly based on their own preference. Similarly, passenger screening should be optional with airlines. One airline could advertise, “No degrading and time-consuming screenings! All our pilots and flight attendants are armed and trained to subdue would-be wrongdoers! Fly El Alert Air!” Another could advertise, “Enjoy our degrading, time-consuming, and useless screenings, conducted by arrogant idiots! Fly Sitting Dux Airlines!” Let each customer choose which they prefer. People should not all be forced into a single mold decided upon by bureaucrats, when freedom to choose always provides more satisfactory outcomes.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
To the editor:
I’m glad to read that Brian Jones is suspicious of big government (“The Left Strikes Back,” Letters, Park Slope Courier, August 9, 2004). I, on the other hand, have no suspicions left. Government is brute force. It forces taxpayers and consumers to subsidize rich corporate farmers not to grow food. It forces me to patronize big monopolies such as ConEd, by making it illegal for other delivery companies to compete. It forces on me its own big monopolies such as the post office, by making it illegal for others to compete, and the public-school system, by forcing all to pay whether they use it or not. It forces on me its own idea of morality, and its own ideas of what’s good for me. It conspires with big business and big law in exchange for campaign contributions, forcing me as a consumer to pay the bill. It forces me to pay for other people’s health care and other people’s housing and other people’s child care. Government is supposed to be my servant, not my master.
But I digress. Brian’s letter is so scattershot that I will address only a few points. Health care is one. Before government got involved in a massive way, doctors made house calls for $5 and, contrary to Brian’s suggestion, people were not dying in the street. Despite his suspicion of big government, his solution is more big government. The real solution to the health-care mess that government has created is to figure out how to free America’s health-care system from the clutches of an uncaring, unresponsive, and unaccountable bureaucracy.
Brian refers to people “less fortunate” than I. I don’t know how he knows who has had the better or worse luck in life, so I don’t know of whom he is speaking. In fact, I have had plenty of bad luck but I sought to overcome it through hard work, sacrifice, and thrift. If Brian has had any bad luck in life, I imagine he did the same. If by “less fortunate” he means people who don’t have as much money as he has, he should say so.
Brian doesn’t like MetLife, because it is so big. I suppose he prefers doing business with smaller insurance companies when he needs insurance. Obviously, many people prefer dealing with large insurance companies. That’s the beauty of the competitive free market. Live and let live.
Brian can read my proposal for improving education in my letter “Canned Corn & Kids” in the June 21 issue.
Have the ideas of the left been a failure the past 40 years? No, they have been a resounding success. They have created a culture of poverty and dependency more degrading and permanent than when they began. The tragedy of the ideas of the left lies not in how much they cost, but what they have bought.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
To the editor:
While it may be true that New York State's funding formulas shortchange the City's public schools ("Brooklyn Calls on State for Education Dollars" and "Parents Press Golden to Help Change School Funding Formula," Flatbush Life, June 21), all the attention given to money hides the real cause of failure of the public schools. The District of Columbia has the highest expenditure per pupil in the nation except New Jersey, and has the worst performance. It is not lack of money, but the monopoly characteristic of public education that makes the outcomes unsatisfactory.
Parents have a voice in the operation of the public schools, but voice has proved useless in improving them. Compare how parents obtain education for their children versus buying a can of corn for their family. Parents have a huge variety of canned corn from which to choose, but no voice in how it should be produced. If they don't like one kind of corn, they buy a different kind. Imagine buying corn by being assigned to a government-run grocery store in your "grocery zone" that sells only one kind, and when you complain that you don't like the corn, to be told that the corn is bad because the store needs more money. No one would stand for that kind of arrangement for buying corn, but for educating their children it seems to be OK.
It is choice, not voice, that produces satisfactory outcomes. Many parents choose their children's school by living in a "good" public-school zone. Others, who cannot afford to do that, should be able to choose their children's school, too.
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007