New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 18, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 6A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, January 18, 2003Forum
Contact Managing Editor Gary E. Maitland, 625-9144 ext. 220
New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890. The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958.
Doug Toney, Editor and Publisher Gary E. Maitland, Managing Editor www.herald-zeitung.com (830) 625-9144
The Dallas Morning News on Medicare overhaul needed:
Medicare reform sounds dull. Dry. Eye-glazing. But President Bush says he will take on the challenge this year. Americans should rejoice.
A new Medicare will benefit today's seniors. It will matter to baby boomers racing toward retirement. And it will rescue Gen Xers and Yers from crushing taxes. Those pluses are anything but dull.
First, today’s seniors. Medicare reform as envisioned by President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist... will benefit elderly Americans by giving them more choices. Instead of the same-old, same-old, where seniors go to Doc Wilson and use Medicare to pay his bill, true reform would let patients select annually from various health plans.
One plan could offer great eye care. Another could help with diabetes. The choices could range widely, just as they do for the federal employees who select each year from competing health plans.
Second, the choice/competition approach would fit with baby boomers. Boomers who are used to consumer choice will like a menu of health options when they retire. In fact, its hard seeing them fit into a universal model.
Third, an overhaul will save Gen Xers and Yers. Twentysomethings may think Medicare is all about old people. Not so. More than any Americans, Medicare reform helps them. It will keep young Americans from paying enormous taxes to fend off Medi-cares bankruptcy, which the experts say will happen in 2030.
The White House must persist.Medicare needs a new look. For everyone’s good.
Today In History-
By The Associated Press
Tbday is Saturday, Jan. 18, the 18th day of 2003. There are 347 days left in the year.
Today’s history highlight:
On Jan. 18, 1912, English explorer Robert F. Scott and his expedition reached the South Pole, only to discover that Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it. (Scott and his party perished during the return trip.)
On this date:
In 1778, English navigator Capt. James Cook reached the Hawaiian Islands, which he dubbed the “Sandwich Islands.”
In 1788, the first English settlers arrived in Australia’s Botany Bay to establish a penal colony.
In 1862, the 10th president of the United States,
John Tyler, died in Richmond,
Va., at age 71.
In 1919, the World War I Peace Congress opened in Versailles, France.
In 1936, author Rudyard Kipling died in Burwash, England.
In 1943, during World War II, the Soviets announced they’d broken the long Nazi siege of Leningrad.
In 1943, a wartime ban on the sale of presliced bread in the United States — aimed at reducing bakeries’ demand for metal replacement parts — went into effect.
In 1990, Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry was arrested in an FBI sting on drug-possession charges (he was later convicted of a misdemeanor).
Tfen years ago: The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was observed in all 50 states for the first time.Policy
The Herald-Zeitung encourages the submission of letters. Letters must be 250 words or fewer, and the Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions.
An address and telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included so authorship can be confirmed.
Mail letters to:
Letters to the Editor c/othe Herald-Zeitung PO. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax: (830) 606-3413 e-mail: [email protected]
House of Saud an unnecessary liability
During last year’s Super Bowl the Office of National Drug Control Policy ran ads that suggested that buying illegal drugs supported terrorism, i.e. a1 Qaeda. That assertion is about as ridiculous as saying that buying a diamond ring is tantamount to supporting a1 Qaeda because this group was known to dabble in the diamond trade. Not to be outdone, Ari an na Buffington and company — under the guise of Americans for Fuel Efficient Cars (AFEC) — have embarked on a media campaign claiming that driving SUVs endangers U.S. national security. Methinks Buffington may have sniffed too many gas fumes.
The simple-minded argument goes something like this: •
■ America is dependent on Middle East oil.
■ America needs to consume less Middle East oil as a way to “put the screws to any number of oil-rich and terrorist-friendly nations.”
■ Since SUVs consume more gas (measured in miles per gallon fuel efficiency), Americans need to stop driving SUVs so that we can be less dependent on Middle East oil.
Huffington et. a1, have once again fallen prey to the myth perpetuated since the 1970s so-called oil crisis that U.S. national security is inextricably linked to oil. Ergo, the less dependentWrite ’Em
George W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, D.C. 20500 U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison Room 284 Russell Senate Office BuildingCharles V. PenaGuest Column
the United States is on oil (particularly foreign, and specifically Middle East, oil), the less we will have to pay at the pump and the more secure we will be.
First, a few facts. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the oil producing countries in the Persian Gulf (Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) produced about 28 percent of the world’s crude oil. Also according to the DOE, only about 20 percent of U.S. oil is imported from the Persian Guff. That hardly constitutes the United States being “dependent” on Middle East oil.
Second, energy “independence" is a myth. The British produce enough oil from North Sea drilling to meet their domestic energy needs (they are, in fact, a net oil exporter). But the price of a barrel of oil from the North Sea is the same as a barrel of oil from the Persian Guff (or anywhere else in the world) because oil is a fungible global commodity. The price of oil is not set based on where it is drilled, but on global supply and demand. And the market incentive for oil companies is to sell their oil at the best possible
Washington, D.C. 20510 (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 8023 Vantage Drive, Suite 460 San Antonio, TX 78230 (210) 340-2885
U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith,
price, not based on national allegiance. Indeed, oil drilled from the North Sea is not supplied to the UK at “cut-rate” prices.
Third, even if the United States tried to wean itself of foreign oil and become wholly reliant on domestic sources of oil, the price of oil would likely skyrocket. To drive the economy, the United States couldn’t possibly meet demand. High demand combined with a shortfall in supply will result in higher prices for a scarce commodity. It’s called supply-and-demand, and getting rid of every single gas-guzzling SUV in America wouldn’t make enough of a difference in demand given a limited domestic capability to produce oil.
U.S. national security is indeed jeopardized by Middle East oil. But not because of AFEC’s argument of American dependence on that oil. Rather, the continued false notion that the United States needs to protect the Guff region to ensure a cheap supply of oil is the real threat to U.S. national security.
That is why the U.S. military has 5,000 troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, which have become a lightning rod for Islamic anti-American sentiment and terrorist violence. And it results in the United States supporting a corrupt Saudi regime that does not share America’s core values of
R-San Antonio Room 2231 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-4236 1100 NE Loop 410,
San Antonio, TX 78209
democracy and individual liberty.
This is directly at odds with the new U.S. national security strategy’s claim that America stands for human dignity and the rule of law, limits on the absolute power of the state, free speech, freedom of worship, equal justice, respect for women, and religious and ethnic tolerance.
The high price that Americans are paying for a decades-long misguided Middle East oil policy is not at the gasoline pump. The real price — and attendant risk — is a dubious alliance with a regime where U.S. vital interests are not at risk. American support for Riyadh is one of the prime factors motivating Osama bin Laden’s jihad against the United States. Continued support will only inflame Islamic extremists and encourage future terrorist attacks.
It’s not America's love affair with SUVs and dependence on Middle East oil that needs to be cut. Its our close ties and military support for Saudi princes that need to be jettisoned. It’s not a question of consuming less oil. It’s a matter of understanding that the House of Saud is an unnecessary liability and not an asset.
(Charles V. Pena is senior defense policy analyst at the Cato Institute.
Governor Rick Perry
State Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. Box 12428 Austin, TX 78711 (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849Presidents are elected to lead, not follow opinion
The latest Gallup Poll shows President Bush’s approval rating has fallen below 60 percent (to 58 percent) for the first time since the Sept. ll, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. The poll is as unrealistic as the one that showed 90 percent of the public approved of his performance after that fateful day.
Polling has become a type of meat thermometer. The pollster, like the thermometer, is more tuned to the process than to the result. At least the meat thermometer is more likely to be accurate than the pollster, which measures opinion not on the level of the respondent’s knowledge or expertise but feelings and impressions: 1,002 adults, aged 18 or over, were surveyed, but the possibility of ignorance (in addition to error) is contained in two statements buried within the poll. “In addition to sampling error,” begins the disclaimer, “question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of publicCal Thomas
The first question in the Gallup survey asks, “Based on what you have heard or read, please say whether you favor or oppose each of the following economic proposals.”
Heard or read? Heard from whom and read in what? Do we know where the respondents are getting their information? If it is from the broadcast networks, or newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post, the likelihood is they will reflect the bias against Bush’s domestic and foreign policies contained in those media.
What qualifies those surveyed to have an opinion on Bush’s eco
nomic or foreign policies? Is it anything more than subjective conclusions? The poll doesn’t say. Indeed, it cannot say.
Amazingly, the poll reveals that while Gallup’s measure of the president’s approval has declined, most people support the very economic and foreign policies he is pursuing. An earlier Gallup Poll, conducted Jan. 3-5, just before either party announced its economic “stimulus” proposal, found that 86 percent of those surveyed want to expand tax credits for families with children and nearly as many (80 percent) support reducing additional taxes married couples must pay when both spouses work. Sixty-five percent want the tax cuts approved in 2001 to take effect immediately and not over several years, which is precisely what the president has asked from Congress.
When it comes to his handling of Iraq, the Gallup Poll shows two seemingly antithetical results. The poll says 42 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Bush
is handling foreign affairs, the highest disapproval he has received on this issue. But the poll also shows a majority (51 percent) believe that Iraq poses a greater threat to the United States than North Korea, which is what the president has said.
Why this double-mindedness? Possibly it is the confusion produced in many minds between reality and the medias perception of reality.
Most Americans pay little attention to economics, except their own. That’s why, in a recent Associated Press story, a woman was quoted as saying she is concerned about the federal deficit. She said she and her husband had recently gotten out of debt, and she thought the country should follow their example.
This was a wire story about people who don’t want a tax cut. One might as well accept financial advice from a palm reader as to interview someone with no knowledge about the historical effects of tax cuts on the economy.
My sense is that President Bush will not be swayed by these polls, any more than he was swayed by the ones that put him at 90 percent approval. At the time, he indicated that polls were fickle, and he was simply going to do what he believed best for the country.
He should, and will, continue on that course. With a Republican (though not conservative) majority in Congress, he can get more done than when Democratic obstructionists often prevailed. The proof of whether his policies work will be determined not by subjective opinions, as measured by polls, but by objective truth as measured by results.
We elect a president to lead us, not follow our opinions. This president has more than enough convictions to lead the country toward what works and not follow meaningless polls that were the Holy Grail to his predecessor.
(Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist.)
' I ' f s » ;
- mw* '
t ' MXmm rn #