Letters: 12/5/19

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Population doesn’t drive poverty

Gary Swing wrote, “More people means more widespread poverty” (Re: Letters, Nov. 21, 2019), which seems intuitively obvious — but it’s not true. According to a World Bank report on poverty, the proportion of the world’s population in extreme poverty (defined as consuming less than US$1.90/day) declined from 36% in 1990 to 10% in 2015. Even though world population increased by more than 2 billion people, the number of extremely poor was reduced by almost 1.2 billion.

What happened?

The primary reason extreme poverty declined while the population grew was because China and India, the two most populous nations, liberalized their economies. As the Fraser Institute has documented in its Economic Freedom of the World annual report, the freest economies have the least poverty. Lack of economic freedom — not population — is what drives poverty. Increasing economic freedom increases wealth. Wealthier societies demand a cleaner environment (instead of being mainly focused on survival without regard for the environment), and increased wealth enables them to pay for expensive pollution control technologies.

Increasing economic freedom is good for people and good for the environment.

Chuck Wright/Westminster

On population growth and poverty

The letter which you published by Gary Swing (Re: “More people means more widespread poverty,” Letters, Nov. 21, 2019) on relationships between population growth and poverty was well-written and accurate. Here are a few points which also deserve noting. I worked for many years in Thailand, Pakistan and other developing nations and found that, when given an opportunity to space pregnancies safely and with respect, people will readily do so. The world needs to increase resources to assure effective family planning which, at the same time, reduces unplanned pregnancies often leading to abortions. 

Many nations such as Japan and in Scandinavia and central Europe worry about inadequate numbers of young people in their work forces. In response, they seek to increase their birth rates rather than to encourage people from poorer or war-torn areas to immigrate. Old racial and ethnic attitudes and fears die hard. 

Barry Karlin/Lafayette

An open letter to Donald Trump

I am not — nor have I ever been — one of your supporters. I am ashamed that my fellow countrymen and women elected you. I write you today only because I believe your presidency, and thus our country, is in peril. 

You told people you would be a great uniter… yet your rhetoric is both divisive and disgusting.

You proclaimed that you would make America great again… and that you would pay off the national debt in eight years… yet the deficit grows (you indebt us) at the fastest rate ever.

You promised to drain the swamp… yet the swamp thrives with you at the top.

Day after day bad news envelops your presidency. Week after week you embarrass yourself/us on the national and world stage. I’ll show you my taxes, Mexico will pay for the wall, my son met with the Russians to discuss baby adoptions, sh-thole nations — the list is endless.

Now the news centers on an impeachment inquiry and your promises to a foreign government. You may very well skirt these events as you have so many others. However I believe your missteps and misdeeds are catching up with you. Things are unraveling. Trouble lies ahead. 

Deep down I believe you know your presidency is a sham. The only reason you got elected — and still have supporters — is that there is a news network that tells Americans that they should support a dishonest, immoral, narcissistic, p-ssy-grabbing, founder of a fake university, who has had nary an honest dealing with anyone.

I ask who are the corrupt forces behind such a despicable message?

Meanwhile the sun is setting on the American Empire, just as it has on every other empire through the centuries. Empires rise and they fall, we will be no different. It is not necessarily a bad thing — it happens to all things — the presidential jet, my car, my neighbor’s hot water heater, all of our lives. The same is true of empires. We will not be the “greatest nation on earth” into eternity … or for much longer. We are overstretched, insolvent, entangled around the world, divided and crumbling from within.

You have not demonstrated the substance of character to tackle what ails our country. The problems facing the United States are far too complex for grandiose, repetitious statements with the sound of helicopter blades whirling in the background. Nor are little red ball caps in rural America the answer. 

The wise man admits that he knows little. Instead you grandstand as if you are stuck in reality TV star mode. The problem is that the yet-to-be-written story is likely one of pinning the end of the American Empire on an orange-haired donkey. 

I don’t like your prospects yet you do have the ability to change the course you are on. It will require you to become someone you have never been before, and in most cases making a 180-degree turn from your present ways. It will require humility. It will require you to find a place inside of yourself where you feel empathy and where you learn to be of service to others. It is your only hope.

I think you would benefit greatly if you would:

1) Start telling the truth. Doing so will revolutionize your life. Those who are remembered most favorably by history are those who are honorable. 

2) Stop calling people names. Doing so is divisive. Those who are divisive are never remembered well.

3) Have compassion. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Improve the lives of those who struggle and/or those who may be less fortunate and you will forever be remembered as a hero.

Robert M. Hamburger/Nederland

‘Liberal’ doesn’t mean 


With all due respect to my fellow Americans, most of us simply don’t know that a “liberal/progressive” is not the same thing as a “socialist.” 

A true “socialist” is someone who wants all of the businesses and workplaces to be owned and controlled by “the state” or “the government” or “the workers” or “the people” and not by individuals and groups of people who run them for profit as we have here in the U.S.A.

The overwhelming majority of Democrats want our federal government to spend more on social programs to help the lower and middle classes as they struggle to survive and pay their bills. They are not “socialists.” They are “liberals/progressives” who want our market-based capitalist economic system to become more humane (and not replaced) by having our federal government spend more to help the lower and middle classes. They know all too well that there has never been a truly large-scale socialist economy in which socialism produced enough wealth to meet people’s basic needs. It has never “worked.” Thus, while most Americans seem to not be aware of this, and while conservative-Republican politicians and the conservative news media do not want the American people to be aware of this, most Democrats want our federal government to be more like those of almost every one of our traditional allies which spend more than we do, in proportion to their population sizes. None of our allies are “socialist,” and they know it.

To put this simply, President Trump and the conservative news media who are calling all Democrats “socialists” are either intentionally lying to the people, or are very poorly-informed and just plain wrong.

Stewart B. Epstein/via internet