Sounding off: Green New Deal is ill-advised |
Letters to the Editor

Sounding off: Green New Deal is ill-advised

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British police officers carry an activist as they remove them from their blockade of Waterloo Bridge on the second day of an environmental protest by the Extinction Rebellion group, in London on April 16, 2019. Environmental protesters from the Extinction Rebellion campaign group started demonstrations designed to block five of London’s busiest and iconic locations to draw attention to what they see as the “Ecological and Climate Emergency” of climate change.

Although some experts contend “global warming and cooling” are cyclical over long periods of time, most scientists indicate that global warming is a real and critical issue that needs addressed now. Accordingly, the Green New Deal was recently unveiled and advocates elimination of (or at least 50% reductions in) sources of CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases within 12 years.

Many Democrats are on board with the extreme, unattainable and prohibitively expensive objectives of the plan, but nothing has been said about required participation of other nations. Although the United States is the leading “per capita” contributor of greenhouse gases, China is No. 1 and the leading overall (total) contributor of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, emitting nearly twice that of No. 2 U.S. India is No. 3, Russia No. 4 and Japan No. 5, along with all other nations to a lesser extent.

Reduction or even total elimination of these emissions by the United States will do very little overall without the participation of numerous other nations. Therefore, the apparent urgent and immediate unilateral action being proposed by the Democrats for the U.S. is both premature and ill-advised.

John Lapina, Hempfield

Skilled trades are ‘blue-collar college’

Kudos to Tom Purcell for acknowledging the skilled trades in his column ‘Trading up’: Daughters, sons can build careers debt-free”. High school guidance counselors need to recognize the “other college”: Labor unions are the other option for obtaining the American Dream, without going into debt.

Research shows that not only do building trades members receive a family-sustaining wage, they also benefit from rich health benefits, pensions, savings accounts, training that earns college credits, and never having to go on another job interview or write a resume. These benefits are self-sustained by the members with no burden on the taxpayer.

Health care costs go up every year, along with training costs; labor unions do not look to the government for help with the rising costs. The increases are negotiated through collective bargaining with the employers that employ union members.

Those entering the workforce should seriously consider the building trades crafts, as should men and women in the trades who are being paid low wages and mediocre benefits.

I am proud to be a union member, and I am proud of the members I represent. I am also quite pleased that Purcell and many others see the value in the skilled trades and that we really are the blue-collar college.

Tim Custer, Youngwood

The writer is business manager for Plumbers & Pipefitters Local Union 354.

100% renewable energy is possible

My dad saved everything. When it came time to go through decades worth of what he’d collected, I held onto buttons of sentimental value, including some from World War II that read “Remember Pearl Harbor” and “Play Safe with Freedom.” Another button, “Join the Fight for Clean Water,” circa 1974, sparked childhood memories of growing up in Sutersville along the Yough River when it flowed with orange water from acid mine drainage and pollution from Mon Valley steel mills. These industries made their money and left, leaving residents to clean up.

While we’ve come a long way in cleaning up pollution, the fight for clean air and water continues to this day. The Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign, which recently launched in Westmoreland County, is fighting for a cleaner, healthier way to supply our country’s energy needs. Through a just transition process, 100% clean, renewable energy community-wide is possible.

Reaching this goal won’t happen overnight, but we must put in the work now. We are calling on community leaders to work with our team; to plan for the future, work toward long-term goals and to do what is best for future generations.

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they will not sit under” (Chinese proverb).

Terrie Balko, Sewickley Township, Westmoreland County

Problems with Route 30

Since I have been traveling Route 30 for over 20 years to go to the VA hospital in Oakland, I would say that I can speak knowledgeably about the article “Irwin-area drivers are Pennsylvania’s worst, survey finds”. There are a few items that were not considered.

If there was an alternate route, virtually no one would use Route 30. Since the businesses along Route 30 would die, I am surprised that any of the business folks would complain about the drivers.

Let me point out just a few problems:

• Count the traffic lights between Greensburg and the Parkway East. The number will stun you.

• The police in North Huntingdon use traffic fines to raise money for North Huntingdon (which is supposedly illegal). Notice all of the VASCAR lines on the road surface? Therefore the high number of citations.

• The condition of the road surface is terrible. To cite just one problem: Look at the ripples where Route 30 meets Route 48 for motorists traveling toward Pittsburgh.

• Route 30 is narrow for most of the length in question.

• Finally, why would anyone use a company out of Seattle if they wanted an unbiased safety survey?

There is truth in the problem of left turns off Route 30. Hopefully, that will be corrected and would cut down immensely on accidents.

Ron Kowach, Southwest Greensburg

Abortion holocaust

Since 1970 over 46 million abortions in the United States have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control. This does not include California, Maryland and New Hampshire, which decline to report abortion numbers to the CDC.

Wake up, America. This is a holocaust happening right before our eyes. These are innocent babies. Maybe if the bodies were piled in the streets, people would notice.

Now we have the loudest-speaking Democrats voicing support for allowing abortions at any point during pregnancy.

Pray for our country and vote with your heart. I don’t know if God is willing to bless America during these times.

L.G. Snyder, Latrobe

Fairness in taxation

The top 1% of taxpayers account for more income taxes paid then the bottom 90%.

What is the fairest way to collect taxes?

From a Marxist perspective, the fair way to collect taxes would be to force those with the most wealth to pay the most, while those with the least pay proportionately less.

The founders of the USA were not Marxists. They favored capitalism and free enterprise. Thus, from a capitalistic perspective, the fair way to collect taxes would mirror the marketplace wherein a merchant charges the same for everyone, regardless of income. Thus, a capitalistic mechanism to collect taxes would be to calculate the amount of taxes needed and divide by the number of taxpayers, and tax everyone the same regardless of income.

How did we evolve to a Marxist system of income taxation? Marx and Engels published “The Communist Manifesto” in 1848. The Revenue Act of 1861 included the first U.S. federal income tax statute. However, in 1895, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (Pollak vs. Farmers) 5-4 that an apportioned federal income tax was unconstitutional. Nonetheless, by 1913, the 16th Amendment, which incorporated the federal income tax, overturned the earlier Supreme Court decision. Coincidentally, the Communist Revolution occurred in Russia in 1917.

Hopefully this historical trend can be reversed toward a more capitalistic view of fairness in taxation in the USA.

Joel I. Last, Greensburg

Robert Mueller gives lawyers a bad name

The last line of the Mueller report is: “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” A first-year law student would be tossed from school if he or she placed that sentence at the end of a paper.

Robert Mueller could not state that the president did not obstruct justice, nor could he state that the president did obstruct justice. Just what in the world were Mueller, and his team of a dozen or so lawyers, doing for two years? You can’t have a trial and come to “no conclusion.” My cat can do that, but then he only made it out of fourth grade. Evidently Mueller’s team failed to make it that far.

But Mueller did solve the quandary: “One must appear to say something, without actually saying anything.” And he surely did that.

What kind of an attorney can’t come to a conclusion after two years of study? An incompetent one. Or is he just part of the 99% of lawyers who give lawyers a bad name?

Don Carrera, Penn Township, Westmoreland County

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