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Writer did nothing to support claims on currency manipulation

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
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Writer did nothing to support claims on currency manipulation

In the Jan. 26 Opinion section, Robert Scott [from McClatchy Newspapers] writes about currency manipulation. As a reader, I am not an experienced economist, but I believe Mr. Scott owes me more specificity if he wants me to take his column seriously.

Long ago, an English professor in the New York State University system told his students (myself included) that it was the writer’s obligation to provide clarity in his work rather than to simply offer sentences that could be misunderstood by those who read the material. The professor cautioned us to do the necessary work that produces clarity rather than to pass on the obligation to the readers.

I offer a few points of criticism regarding Mr. Scott’s article.

If there are 20 Asian nations manipulating their currencies for national gain, name several. (Exclude China. We know about that country.) Three or four will give us a starting point for confirmation. If the U.S. unemployment rate is really 10.2 percent because of “missing” workers, what constitutes the use of that adjective? Tell us briefly who these missing workers are and why they affect the unemployment rate.

How does the purchase of U.S. sovereign debt reduce the value of the lender’s currency? (Does China reduce its currency value when it lends the United States money?) What multinational companies have used foreign currency manipulation for their benefit? Explain the process.

As Mr. Scott closes his column, he pointedly overlooks the particular advantage currency manipulation has been to the United States in support of its own trade and GDP (gross domestic product) growth, especially with regard to Japan in the early 1970s.

I suggest the inclusion of this poorly written column offers little to inform your readers. Instead it seems to be more of a political effort to superficially explain some of the nation’s economic and financial problems without regard for clarity.

Edward Bernier

Broadalbin

Writer’s rap on Denise Brucker without merit

Denise Brucker’s service to the city was not a stellar one? Perhaps Mary McClaine should take a few lessons from the 14-year Schenectady City Council veteran [Jan. 27 letter, “Another council vacancy, another appointment”].

As Denise stated in her farewell speech, it wasn’t about her; it was about working together to get things done. Maybe she didn’t pass any big-profile legislation in her tenure on the council. However, what she did do was what any great public servant should do: She answered phone calls, listened to distressed citizens and addressed their concerns.

Whether it be someone whose basement was flooded from a backed-up sewer line, a longtime homeowner who was calling to complain about drug dealers in the house next door, rented to them by an absentee landlord, or a woman whose beloved pet was attacked by a vicious dog, Denise got results for them. Councilwoman Brucker got results because she could pick up the phone and call the people in the position to help.

Denise likes people and people like Denise. The friendship and goodwill she generated working with department heads and city officials enabled her to get results. Politics is ultimately about helping people, not about coming down to the biweekly meetings and spewing venom at good people who are sincerely there to help the citizens of our community.

Cliff Brucker

Niskayuna

The writer is Denise Brucker’s husband.

Natural gas must be seen as secondary source

Coal and nuclear electric plants are best suited as base (24/7) power. Natural gas plants are ideal for intermittent peak power requirements and standby for wind and solar farms.

Natural gas is irreplaceable in several manufacturing applications. Its increasing use in power plants, home heating, transportation (truck and train), chemical/plastic manufacturing and future overseas sales bodes of increasing natural gas prices.

Exporters can sell natural gas overseas for $12 [per million British thermal units], well above our typical $3 to $4. Take note that we pay world oil prices despite our lower production costs. Expanding gas exports may similarly force a world price on domestic natural gas.

All things considered, we still have great need for our unfairly demonized coal and nuclear power plants. Ending their use proportionally draws down irreplaceable natural gas reserves. Our coal plants are the cleanest in the world. China is putting new, and very dirty coal, plants online at the rate of about one per week. The whole world is polluted by their emissions.

If we want less pollution and more jobs, we should be building more clean-coal plants. Cheap energy invigorates U.S. manufacturing and will reduce China’s requirement for more dirty plants.

Pollution-free, nuclear power will become even more competitive. Fifty years of design experience have created extremely safe and less costly reactor designs. Modern “spent fuel recycling” technology will reduce atomic waste and assure centuries of reliable, stably priced electric power.

A fact-based energy plan will use natural gas wisely by appropriately balancing environmentally friendly energy sources.

Wallace J. Hughes

Charlton

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