- The Washington Times - Friday, August 17, 2007

Good strokes on energy

The members of Congress who voted in favor of the House’s renewable energy package this month should get hearty praise (“House votes to raise tax on oil firms,” Page 1, Aug. 5). Among them was my congressman, Democratic Rep. James P. Moran. He and his colleagues took an important first step toward expanding our use of clean and renewable energy.

For the first time, we have a real shot at boosting the amount of electricity we get from renewable sources such as wind and solar power while also getting better energy efficiency.

Renewable sources of electricity such as properly sited wind turbines and solar power are essential to solving global warming and achieving energy independence. Recent studies also have found that a renewable energy standard will save consumers money and create jobs.

It’s a rare win-win-win situation when we get cleaner energy, improved security and good jobs in a single stroke. Let’s hope the Senate and President Bush do their part by supporting the amendment themselves.

TONY IALLONARDO

Communications director

National Audubon Society

Washington

‘No’ to government medicine

Paul Belien offers a wake-up call to those who fantasize that the fastest and most compassionate way to reach more Americans with quality health care is to give government total control of medicine (“Costly ‘affordable’ health care,” Op-Ed, Wednesday).

The socialized solution in which government redistributes wealth through heavy taxation and maintains a monopoly on health care delivery seems simple until its flaws play out in everyday practice. When the demand for health care inevitably exceeds available supply, government resorts to utilitarian rationing. Cost-cutting bureaucrats insist on cheaper if less effective drugs, institute interminable patient waiting lists even for critical care and ration care based on which patients are deemed to deserve it more than others.

Mr. Belien’s example of how his elderly grandfather died after Belgian bureaucrats mandated a cheaper, deafness-inducing drug illustrates how older patients already suffer in this utilitarian calculus. It’s not hard to imagine a similar utilitarian devaluing of the lives of disabled persons who drain the economy by requiring intensive care or of the unborn, who can be made simply to disappear without anyone hearing their cries. The weakest link gets voted off.

As the Soviet experiment of last century proved, fixing prices and prohibiting individual choice depresses motivation, innovation and productivity. Yet some would persist in repeating the same mistakes by socializing medicine in America in the name of compassion. Admirers of socialized medicine should consider carefully how well compassion fares when government calculates care.

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