Letters 08/15/12

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Making the
punishment fit the crime

    Recently on WSLS 10 news, the moderator interviewed the CEO of AEP and questioned him as to whether or not the public would experience an increase in their electric bills due to the severe storm that caused damage throughout our region and other areas and states. The CEO’s response was somewhat ambiguous but eluded to the fact that indeed AEP would seek compensation from its customers for the cost of overtime and repair in restoring power throughout those areas affected.
    And the CEO added a most disturbing comment that AEP tried to maintain its 10 percent profit margin. So, as not to diminish that profit margin customers should anticipate an increase in their electric bill to cover the cost over and above their “profit margin.” Now isn’t that happy news.
    Reportedly, AEP has “on bended knee” approached the VA Energy Commission for permission to increase its rates for various reasons to which the Commission has agreed with some modifications. But, the end result is an increase in rates. AEP sells its power to communities, and those communities enjoy a percentage on top of the base rate and pass it on to their customers. ...
    So, now we have an example of just plain greed. Stockholders want their profits no matter what hardships it places on the general public. Companies always adjust their dividends based on their quarterly profits. Maybe it’s about time AEP should do the same.
    In preserving the precious 10 percent profit margin, it would seem to me that the Board of Directors of AEP would realize that in their budget planning from year to year, a contingency fund should be created to anticipate storms throughout any given year. That to me is just good common sense. Or has out educational process failed in logical thinking from the generations now in control.
    The weather is unpredictable. And, anyone in their right mind would understand that winter storms with ice and the damage caused by such is just as devastating as tornados or any other severe storm.
    So where is the logical thinking of AEP.

Earle Goodwin
Important to the economy

    As the 2012 election season heats up, presidential and congressional contenders have largely avoided any mention about housing or homeownership, even though the consensus among most economists is that there can be no long-term economic recovery until home prices stabilize and the housing market rebounds.
    Not all politicians have turned a blind eye to this critical issue. Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling should be commended for his leadership role in helping to pass a recent resolution by the National Lieutenant Governors Association that calls on the President and Congress to “act with a sense of urgency to address the nation’s housing crisis in a meaningful and responsible manner, while avoiding any legislation or regulatory actions that will inhibit the recovery of the home building industry.”
    Constructing 100 single-family homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs and adds millions of dollars in federal, state, and local tax revenues that are essential to many cash-strapped municipalities which lack funds for vital services such as local schools, road and infrastructure maintenance, police and firefighters.
    Recent surveys by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and TD Bank underscore that American voters fervently believe that owning a home remains a core value and that homeownership plays a critical role in our nation’s social fabric and economic well-being.
    As policymakers debate how to boost the economy, they must understand that restoring housing to full health is essential to create jobs, stabilize home values and strengthen local communities. This is a powerful message that is sure to resonate with voters here and across the nation who will cast their ballots in November.

Brad Graham
Roanoke Regional Homebuilders Association

The self-made man?

    How many times have you heard, “I worked hard for what I have.  No one gave it to me.  I did it all on my own.”?  Usually this is a self-identified self-made man.  Too bad this is just so much fiction.  As Warren Buffet says, “every single private fortune can be traced to basic public investments that create the fertile soil of success.”
    As the blogger Sara Robinson argues, the intelligent know their success can be mostly credited to: 1) an excellent education from public schools and universities, 2) the support of the Small Business Administration and other government agencies, 3) enforceable copyright and intellectual property laws that protect your ideas, 4) a strong regulatory environment that provides resources like clean water, contract enforcement, legal adjudication, and more, 5) a robust system of roads, ports, airports and mass transit that move goods and workers, 6) government’s role in creating the internet and the World Wide Web without which most companies couldn’t operate, and 7) the ability to issue public stock in a fair, reliable and regulated marketplace.
    In addition to the above, many “self-made” forget how much pure unadulterated luck had to do with their success.  Luck includes being able to “choose” rich parents, getting the right job at the right economic time, having the right mentor and a slew of other “just right” factors.
    Because many are mistaken that we are an equal society, they easily dismiss the factors of gender, race, appearance, class, upbringing and other forms of social capital that open doors for some and not for others.
    While I never want to underestimate the individual talents of innovation, industriousness, risk taking, judgment and many other well-respected characteristics, the self-made man (note there are few self-made women) are flimsy at best.  You seldom find progressives singing the praises of the “self made.”  They know better.  It is almost always conservatives hounding the self-made story as a way to fume about taxes or support for the disadvantaged.  Just get a job.  Well, it is much more than that, if we are to have any equality in our society.
David McLoughlin

    With the actions against Tim Tebow and Chick fil A, most Christians are now aware the time of tribulation is upon the Christian Church in America and are choosing to accept the persecution.
    Some believe there will be a Pre Tribulation Rapture so they will not have to suffer, but that is based on scripture that can be interpreted many ways.
    I believe God gave America to Christians, because of the persecution they were facing in Europe.  America was founded on Christian Principles and America could have been maintained a Christian Nation if Christians had maintained control of the government.
    Instead of maintaining control of the government, Christians vastly underestimated the power of Atheists through their control of the Atheist Liberal News and Entertainment Industry. Laws against Pornography, Homo-sexuality, Adultery, Fornication, etc. were overturned and now Atheists are in control of the government which leads to control of the judicial system and the educational system.  Christians went into the closet as homosexuals came out.
    Most people in America are now hooked on some government health care/welfare program that causes them to choose government instead of God.
    Some say they do not participate in sin, but I believe it is sin to fail to rebuke those that advocate people participate is sin.  Pornography is advocating sin.  Advocating homosexual marriage is advocating sin.
    Some say things have gone toofar and the suffering/persecution must be accepted.  I disagree with that concept and believe America can be returned to being a Christian Nation.
    I believe America can be returned to being a prosperous Christian Nation by one simple concept.
    No person (especially Christians) should ever vote for any Democrat for any office because the Democratic Party supports and encourages Atheism (homosexuality) and Socialism (Obamacare). 
    Christians must get back into politics to insure the Republican Party returns to Christian Principles.  This will be a 60 year effort, but that is better than persecution.
    Every person (especially Christians) must vote.  I will be at the Bedford Republican Headquarters, 201 North Bridge Street every Wednesday from 1:15 till 3:30 to help Christian Conservatives get registered to vote.

Clifford D. Russell