Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | AUGUST 26, 2011 7:20 AM

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Money and lobbyists control gov't

UI Associate Professor Cary Covington interprets "petitioning" the government to be the same as bribing governmental officials in secret [DI, July 29].

Few Americans would agree with this view.

I would like to know what Covington proposes to address the fact that 80 percent of the American people believe the federal government is dysfunctional because of the power of the money and lobbyists.

The Founding Founders were not gods but wealthy individuals who held slaves and refused to allow women the right to vote.

The republican constitutional document they wrote in the 1700s is why more than 85,000 of the most toxic chemicals known were excluded from EPA review by chemical-industry lobbyists and the over 1 trillion gallons of these long-lived poisons are now produced annually, which is why they have contaminated the blood, organs, and tissue of every man, woman, and child, causing trillions of dollars in health-care costs that alone will bankrupt the USA and a global epidemic of autism and dementia.

Thousands of other lobbyists have ensured that the USA continues to remain addicted to oil and other highly toxic fossil fuels that the National Academy of Sciences says are now in the final stages of making the Earth uninhabitable, and we are now passing the point of no return.

Perhaps Covington is not aware of such well-established scientific facts. President Obama and the members of Congress also choose to ignore these dire warnings from the National Academy of Sciences, whereas I and my engineering colleagues in more than 45 countries have been working for the past 30 years on how to shift from fossil and nuclear fuels to a solar-hydrogen economy with wartime speed, which would generate trillions of dollars each year for the American people with perhaps the only inexhaustible, pollution-free energy option.

No other presidential candidate has proposed such fundamental solutions to so many interrelated problems, which is why I am challenging President Obama in the Iowa Democratic caucuses.

Harry Braun
Democratic presidential candidate

Be careful what you put on the Internet

Students need to be aware about what data they offer up to the Internet. One new startup social media site, Fampus, is owned by BBE Ltd.

If you go to BBE's profile on Trademarkia.com, you can see that it owns Fambucks, a site that claims it is "providing group and individualized emails, text, and numeric wireless digital messaging notification alerts for college and community members featuring information on campus and community activities, clubs, events, restaurants, and local business specials based on member profiles."

So in short, Fampus is a fake Facebook, designed to harvest your data and then sell it to companies, as well as advertise to you directly. Is that what we want, our information to be sold to the highest bidder and then used to inject even more advertising into our lives?

Clarence Johnson
UI alum

Collect taxes, then reform the code

Now even conservative economists agree that creating jobs, rather than reducing federal spending, should be our priority. At the same time, Congress won't raise taxes, close loop holes, or borrow money to stimulate job growth. What's a country to do?

Here's an idea: Double the IRS so it can go after wealthy and corporate tax cheats.

Everyone knows our tax structure favors the rich. We also know that corporations and rich folk hold no special regard for paying taxes, but the tax code does give them more opportunities to scheme. Every IRS agent hired to audit wealthy and corporate tax returns would surely recover more in unpaid taxes then their annual salary, so the plan costs us nothing. When companies such as General Electric make billions in profits, submit a 22,000-page tax returns, and claim to owe nothing, the IRS could actually scrutinize that claim.

When the ultra-rich stuff hundreds of fancy deductions in their returns, the IRS might have the staff to see if each deduction is actually allowed. Forget for now the battle to raise taxes or close corporate loop holes.

Just collecting what everyone owes might be enough to get the rest of us back to work.

Brian Lynch
Mine Hill, N.J.

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