Poking more holes in Anderson's tiatribes

September 17, 2013

I was somewhat amused that my last letter on one of Mr. Anderson’s regular rants (dated July 25) taking him to task on his misstatements of facts and his misunderstanding of political terms and economics was published opposite his contribution that week.

Since that time he has elicited a response from Mr. Boyle of Milton and a number of comments on the internet page so I know there are others of us out there who feel the need to correct the impressions that Mr. Anderson’s tries to leave with his advertisements.

His latest fairy tale would have us believe, contrary to the facts of history, that Labor Day is a celebration of the “enterprising men and women who develop new products and services which constantly our standard of living, the highest of any nation in history”.  A simple Google by Mr. Anderson would have led him to Wikipedia (a search that even a high school freshman would know how to do) and would have informed him that Labor Day “is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.”

In other words, it is a celebration for the worker bees who are otherwise the unsung heroes of America’s industrial success.  Elsewhere in the world it is celebrated as International Workers’ Day. However, Mr. Anderson, elected to follow Eric Cantor, the rather right wing House Majority Leader, who also chose to publicize Labor Day as “bosses’ day.”  Of course, having stated his new historical "fact," Mr. Anderson goes on in the same vein about capitalism.

His next point, that “Western Europe is drifting into a lethargy of socialism” and that “They deny the American dream” also denies the truth, trying to quote Churchill, but once again taking that great man’s quote out of context.  Western Europe, Canada, and Australia, far from drifting into lethargy, have established states that work for all their citizens, in particular in the field of healthcare, where the U.S. lags far behind in overall cost and the level of efficiency of delivery.  When the U.S. health insurance companies appropriate 30 percent of the cost of healthcare for themselves and pay their CEOs and administrators millions to deny healthcare to the poorer and sicker citizens, it is clear that healthcare costs could be reduced by close to 30 percent by going to a Medicare for all healthcare system. The current problems that Western European nations (except for Germany) are facing is partly due to their following the austerity policy advice that our own right wing has tried to impose on us, but which our president has tried to prevent.

Moving on to carbon dioxide and the President’s desire for a carbon tax, Mr. Anderson tries to say that carbon dioxide is not dangerous to humans because it is necessary for plant life.  This is a variation on the hoary old chestnut “if a little of something is good for you, a lot of it must be even better.”  Mr. Anderson’s edification, carbon dioxide is important for the reasons he states, but too much of it acts as a blanket, trapping heat within the atmosphere and changing the world’s climate in ways that are, to some degree, unpredictable.  Further, humans cannot breathe carbon dioxide alone because carbon dioxide causes us to exhale, not inhale.  What the world’s forests and plants do is to absorb carbon dioxide and create oxygen, such that we do not breath too much of it.  However, our atmosphere now contains more carbon dioxide than it has for over 800,000 years - nearly .04 percent compared with less than .032 percent in 1960 (see NOAA).  It is arguable that human life could be threatened by an excess rather than a shortage of this gas.

Mr. Anderson’s most egregious error is his claim that Solyndra’s bankruptcy cost the taxpayers $500 billion.  While I am willing to grant that Mr. Anderson, like many of us, is prone to the occasional typo, his overstatement of the Solyndra figure by a factor of 1,000 is not what I would expect in a well-proofread advertisement.  On the other hand, in Mr. Anderson’s case, perhaps it is, since it’s in keeping with his general factual accuracy!  Even the loss figure of $500 million that he should have associated with Solyndra is not an accurate portrayal of the cost to taxpayers, because in the bankruptcy proceeding Solyndra will be repaying the USG some $140-plus million.  Furthermore, Solyndra’s bankruptcy was caused in part by a drastic drop in the prices of Chinese solar panels caused in turn by Chinese government financing.

As a former oil executive I also take issue with Mr. Anderson’s claim that the U.S. and Canada have hundreds if not thousands of years of natural gas.  That is simply not true, and although there are sizable deposits, development costs are going to be high.  Also, Mr. Anderson’s knowledge of economics 101 is monumentally lacking when he claims that developing these North American resources will result in “substantially” lower costs for our “heating, cooking, oil and gas.”  Why does he think that any company will sell its product at prices below what the market will bear?  The law of supply and demand dictates that the market is made at the margin.  In other words, the cost to produce that last barrel of supply (or MCF of gas) to meet world demand is what dictates the world price.  Differences in costs of transportation (i.e. the nearer the supply the less the cost to transport) are what create differences in prices paid.  Is Mr. Anderson (clearly a right-wing advocate) suggesting that price controls be imposed on the companies supplying oil and gas from these new sources?

In closing, I would like to point out that a true democracy depends on a well-educated electorate making informed decisions.  Mr. Anderson is right that our next important election will be in November 2014, and that we have only 13 months to find good men and women who are willing to represent our best interests in preserving our liberty, faith and freedom in this great nation, but to me it has become apparent that we shall not find them among those who Mr. Anderson supports with his misleading advertisements.  It is time for all of us to become knowledgeable about the issues of the day and make those informed decisions.

It is worth noting that the founder of The Heritage Foundation, the right-wing think-tank, said that “I don't want everybody to vote.  Elections are not won by a majority of the people.  They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now.  As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

Do any of you wonder why today’s Republican Party is seeking to disenfranchise as many of our poorer citizens as it can?

Richard A. D. Freeman

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