- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 12, 2007

Frittering the economy away

Michael Barone makes a very valid point in “Prioritizing our problems” (Commentary, Tuesday). If you have ever looked at the models of climate change you will find that the variance associated with the predictions is off the charts. This applies both to the predictions of future average (whatever that may be) temperatures as well as estimating the effects of CO2 reductions on those temperatures. Mr. Barone suggests, why not concentrate on a problem, which has some certainty. I am not going to hold my breath.

There is an apt analogy here in the way most people handle their investments. The vast majority of investors spend almost all of their time worrying about what they have little control over, and virtually no time dealing with what they do have control over, with near certainty. People chase returns; you see it every day, and there is an industry encouraging them to do so, and pay for the privilege. If you keep score you find that beyond selecting an asset class there is little you can do about return. However, the cost is another matter. The croupiers and the IRS take your savings a little at a time, predictably, until well, you end up well below where you might have been.

That is pretty much how it is going to turn out with global warming. Our politicians will fritter away our economy chasing global warming random noise, and all the while the entitlement disease will spread quit predictably, and probably irreversibly. People should stop paying a guru to beat the average — the guru will not do it — and take their annual Social Security statement seriously. It says they will see a 25 percent shortfall, and you can count on it. No guru is required.

SAMUEL BURKEEN

Reston

Redo the math, Mr. Mayor

As one reads down the list of remaining gun laws in the District of Columbia, one starts to become aware of the magnitude of the control measures the ruling Democrats have fostered on the people of the District, and I am sure elsewhere as well (“Gun laws carry on despite reversal,” Page 1, Friday).

Mayor Adrian Fenty credits these gun laws with decreasing gun violence in the District. Where does he get his statistics? The article points out that the FBI shows 32.8 homicides per 100,000 residents in 1975 before the gun ban and 35.4 homicides in 2005. Where is the decrease?

Council member Phil Mendelson is quoted as saying “By saying 500,000 more people can have guns in their homes, there could be 500,000 more guns in the District of Columbia.” This statement indicates he is concerned that given the chance the people of the District would avail themselves of the opportunity to defend themselves. I ask: What is wrong with that? (Aside from a loss of control on the part of the democrats, which is actually a good thing.)

A previous editorial points out we can look forward to the anti-gun democrats wringing hands, gnashing teeth and wailing about the onslaught of guns in the District (“Fenty, firearms and the future,” Thursday). I point out that the floodgates have already opened and it ain’t guns coming through.

ROBERT E. BRAND

Frederick

That sounds logical

Six radical Islamists were arrested on charges of plotting to kill a large number of soldiers in an attack on Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey with AK-47 machine guns and semiautomatic M-16s (“6 held in plot to hit Fort Dix,” Page 1, Wednesday). The critically strategic question now is: What type of timetable should our president use for pulling all of our troops out of Fort Dix?

ARMOND SIMMONS

Pell City, Ala.

Now that would be radical

As The Times reported (“Immigration deal called sellout,” Nation, Thursday), Cecelia Munoz, vice president for policy at the National Council of La Raza, said she’s worried about the current immigration negotiations between Senate Democrats (like Harry Reid of Nevada and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts) and Senate Republicans, led by Jon Kyl of Arizona, in which proposals are being considered to modify the law’s current family reunification provisions to emphasize instead the immigrant’s skills over his family connections, as “not having been considered in this debate before,” adding that “some of them are pretty radical.”

She’s half right. Most have not been part of the debate (although they should have been, and are long overdue), because Ms. Munoz has only lived with the results of the ill-considered 1965 Immigration Act (sponsored by her friend, Mr. Kennedy), under which an immigrant’s education and skills were ignored in favor of a system allowing virtually unlimited immigration based on family relationships with immigrants already here rather than on the skills needed by the country.

This policy is out of line with those of virtually every developed nation. The 1965 act also allowed for “chain migration” in which immigrants could “sponsor” what amounted to an unlimited number of relatives, each of whom could in turn sponsor additional relatives, again irrespective of whether these immigrants could to contribute to the economy and society.

What is truly “radical,” then as now, is the 1965 immigration law, not the proposals currently offered by responsible lawmakers such as Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, who suggests that U.S. immigration policy should consider whether an immigrant has skills needed in our economy and not just the folks to whom the would-be immigrant is related. Mr. Sessions’ proposal would provide a needed dose of reality to an irrationally based immigration policy that has lasted more than 40 years. If enacted, this truly would be “radical.”

ROBERT BERRY

Montgomery Village

Separate and apart

The article “National parks to raise fees,” (Nation, Monday) erroneously included Colonial Williamsburg as one of a list of 11 national parks due to raise entrance fees.

Colonial Williamsburg is not part of the National Park Service. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is a private, not-for-profit educational institution. The funds necessary for preserving and maintaining the Historic Area and presenting the educational programs of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation are derived from ticket purchases; sales of craft items and educational materials; income from hotels, restaurants and merchandising operations; and tax-deductible contributions for support.

THOMAS R. SHROUT

Director of public affairs

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Williamsburg, Va.

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