Letters: 3-7-19

Wikimedia Commons

Anderson wrong on Latin America

Glad to hear this opinion (Re: “Changes in Latin America,” The Anderson Files, Feb. 21, 2019) does not reflect that of the publication. I find the information above selective, of course reflecting the author’s opinion and political leanings, but unfortunately not inclusive of the “whole” truth. A reminder that: Bolsonaro was elected in free and democratic elections; that previous left-leaning leaders have presided over widespread corruption, uncontrolled crime and poverty, while making themselves ever wealthier with graft, money laundering — please Google “Lavajato” and “Odebrecht” for examples. Ex-president Lula da Silva (Workers Party) has just been indicted and is serving 13 years on various counts of corruption. Having lived in South America myself, for many years, I would also like to state that while there have certainly been despotic military regimes, military governments have not always had a negative effect on their countries… and in many instances, were involved in combating guerrilla warfare. Having been a general does not imply de-facto despotism. In fact, you need not look further than the United States, for an instance of benign military leadership, in which a general, Eisenhower, became president.

Jan George/via internet

Where’d the money go?

Some announced Democratic candidates for president and a few freshman Congresspersons have urged higher marginal tax rates on those who have the means to pay more — much more. These ideas have drawn a good deal of attention. Conservatives can stop their hand-wringing and get over their apoplexy now by realizing how this can work.

Consider a $50 million asset portfolio growing by 3 percent annually (exclude the primary residence, naturally). At a 70-percent rate, the tax on that $1.5-million throw-off would be $1,050,000, leaving $450 grand of net new money. No retreat here; there’s still growth.

With similar brackets in effect during the late 1930s, we still won World War II. So why are the wealthy whining?

Excessive concentration of wealth leads to economic calamities. It happened in the early 1870s and again in the 1930s. The 1 percent contains nearly all of its wealth; they don’t throw it around the (“ordinary”) economy. How many steak and lobster dinners can one person eat daily? These folks invest the money; hence, it is in effect “frozen out” of circulation. And only money moving greases GDP.

But does this investment “create jobs?” Anyone who has looked long and hard at that sees 1) the lion’s share of the jobs don’t last; and 2) the employment register, read through the lens of payroll, is significantly skewed. Say the top five executives pull down $3 million each, not counting stock options, and the other 30 people draw $40,000 to $100,000 each. Make the total for that group, say, a bit north of $2 million. That makes the money score 15-to-2.

Private schooling for Muffie and Skip may employ a couple of teachers, but who could say unequivocally these could not find employment elsewhere? Teachers may move for a number of reasons. The embarrassment of riches is a zero-sum game (Paul Krugman and Lester Thurow tell us), and don’t wish you can believe differently.

And don’t assume wealth automatically grants wisdom.

Gregory Iwan/Longmont

Renewables by 2030

In an event that has received little general notice, the City has reported the results of its Request for Indicated Pricing for electricity provided by established, independent power producers to a possible Boulder municipal electric utility. Among several price proposals the City reported receiving, one has caught my attention: 100 percent renewable electricity to be delivered to a Boulder municipal utility by 2030. This proposal lays to rest any claims that Boulder cannot get affordable, 100-percent renewable electricity in the foreseeable future. As reported, in 11 years, our electricity can be 100-percent renewable, not the 30-plus years proposed by Xcel. Furthermore, the wholesale cost of this 100-percent renewable electricity would be substantially less than the estimated cost of that provided by Xcel.

Steve Whitaker/Boulder