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No Nukes

Posted 11/18/2009

I went through the latest issue of City Paper looking for news of the Public Service Commission's approval of the merger between Constellation Energy and Electricite de France. But there was none. This is a major news story, as the PSC members lacked the courage to reject a deal which will result in the building of a third nuclear reactor in Maryland.

Nuclear energy is a failed and dangerous way to produce electricity. It is a byproduct of the nuclear-weapons industry, and cannot exist without the government propping it up with favorable legislation and subsidies. Instead of the PSC telling Constellation Energy to get busy on renewable energy, it sold out the financial future of the citizens in Maryland.

The taxpayers and ratepayers cannot afford nuclear energy. Whatever reactor-cost figure is used, anywhere from $10 to $15 billion, it will be wrong, as cost overruns are a guarantee. Also guaranteed are higher rates. Many people in Baltimore, which has the highest poverty rate in the state, cannot afford current rates. How will they pay their bills when the cost of this reactor is expected to triple the rates?

People will have to make choices between paying the utility bill and buying food. Or medicine. Or paying the rent. Deregulation means never saying sorry for taking more and more money from the people. City Paper should cover this travesty.

Max Obuszewski
Baltimore

Mislabeled

In your Nov. 11 issue, Raymond Cummings' article on MT6 Records ("Animal House," Music) states that Human Host now releases music on Semaphore Records

While we do have one record on that label, over the past two years most of our music has been released by Firecracker Firecracker Records.

We really appreciate FF's efforts on our behalf, so please make a note of the fact that they are the record label who we work with the most.

Mike Apichella
Human Host
Phoenix

Civics Lesson

Everybody bitches about poor-people subsidies while gorging at the trough like meth-ingesting hogs ("Net Loss," Feature, Nov. 4 ). The hypocrisy would be shameful except that civics classes have evaporated from the curricula around the United States, leaving people too ignorant to know better. Instead, they blithely contribute to the ballooning national debt, ceaselessly agitate for tax cuts that starve infrastructure programs, and unfailingly annoy those who graduated high-school with a basic grasp of how American society works.

As I am magnanimous, I will succeed where the American education system has failed the posters on the article about the failings of Maryland's social-welfare system. Within the 500-word limit, I will show where the middle class gets welfare, why they are little better than the poor they mock, and how it makes us all better.

Every home owner is a subsidy recipient. The home-mortgage interest deduction is a subsidy designed to facilitate homeownership. Like a Section 8 voucher, it allows people to live in domiciles otherwise unaffordable. I am sure you feel entitled to your tax deduction. After all, you worked hard and earned it. Nonsense. What entitles you to filch money from hard-working renters to pay for your house? They have to make up the shortfall created by giving homeowners a handout. If you worked so hard, why is the government subsidizing your lifestyle? The only difference is the Section 8 recipient has to publicly humiliate him- or herself before getting access to a strictly regulated voucher. Rich people get their unrestricted welfare payment at the end of tax season. Maybe this is a classier way to receive a government handout? I fail to see the difference. If you cannot afford your house, get a smaller one. Rent.

Those who receive the middle-class housing vouchers are often life-long benefactors of middle-class welfare. How many of your parents would have paid the $5,000 it costs each year to educate you in a Maryland school? How many of those parents would have paid the true cost of tuition at a Maryland university once federal, state, and local subsidies were removed? If your student loans were not significantly subsidized and the interest often paid for by the government during your matriculation, how many of you could have afforded college? I am sure you work hard. However, without substantial government largesse on your behalf, you would work hard in a coal mine or sweatshop. That's assuming you ever made it that far. If your parents had to pay the true cost of your childhood, you might not have been conceived. Those who were would enjoy a lifestyle of 12-hour days in mine shafts, sweatshops, and cotton fields, like we used to before our current social-welfare net.

Having paid attention in history class, I know how things were before our current system. So I support our system. Universal schooling gives us a better educated, more productive populace. Subsidizing childhood means more children to pay my future Social Security checks. While it needs tweaking, it makes America a better place.

Matthew Hood
Baltimore

Editor's note: This week, we sadly say goodbye to staff writer Chris Landers, who has written some of the best stories this paper has published over the past three years. We wish him nothing but the best of luck.

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