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Published: Sunday, 6/10/2012

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Taxing products for public health OK

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to ban supersized sugary soft drinks has resurrected the debate over the role of the state in protecting the public health ("No gulping," editorial, June 5).

In recent years, this debate involved bicycle helmets, car seat belts, tobacco, trans fats, saturated fats in meat and dairy products, and sugar (or more aptly, high-fructose corn syrup). Public subsidies for tobacco, meat and dairy, and corn production added fuel to the debate.

Society has a right to regulate activities that impose a heavy burden on the public treasury. National medical costs to deal with our obesity epidemic, associated with consumption of meat, dairy, and sugars, are estimated at $190 billion a year. Eliminating subsidies for these products, as well as judicious taxation to reduce their use and recoup public costs, should be supported by health advocates and fiscal conservatives alike.

Benjamin Franklin claimed that nothing is certain except death and taxes. Ironically, death can be deferred substantially by taxing products that make us sick.

Edward Cox

Superior Street


Sugary-drink curb a slippery slope

What's the use of a ban on large sugary drinks? If people can buy as many of the smaller sizes as they want, what is the point?

If the government wants people to be healthier, then it will need to ban all foods that contain too many calories, fats, or anything else bad for you. Why not just make desserts illegal? Having a person smoke one pack of cigarettes a dayshould be added to the list.

How can the government continue to tell us how to live our lives? People know how bad some things are for them. If I choose to change my behavior, that is up to me, not the government.

Joan Cook

Ottawa Lake, Mich.

 

Our sunsets enthrall the Swiss

I was fascinated to read that former Sylvania Mayor James Seney met a man in Lucerne, Switzerland, who told him that the best sunset he had seen was in the Toledo area ("Sylvania's James Seney," editorial, June 5).

When my family visited Lucerne in 1992, we met a Swiss woman who told us that the best sunset she ever saw was in Sylvania. Perhaps Mr. Seney had spoken with that lady's husband, or perhaps the sunsets are the most spectacular when we have visitors from Switzerland.

Lois Rosenberry

Springfield Township

 

Tenants should keep up property

I own four rental properties in Toledo. My tenants are responsible for grass and snow removal and to keep the premises safe and sanitary ("Residents: City needs to cut its own grass first," June 5).

Some tenants leave without paying, wreck the place, and disappear, leaving a housing unit full of garbage and filth.

Why is it that we landlords always catch heat about something that we aren't even aware of? I keep my home in good condition. There should be some more teeth in laws to make tenants maintain their premises.

Edward Labounty

Graytown, Ohio


Overgrown lots? Look to Southwyck

It was interesting to read that the City of Toledo wants to impose fines and fees on owners of overgrown yards and vacant lots who don't mow and maintain those eyesores.

I suggest the city jump-start this effort by contacting the derelict owners of the weed-filled, garbage-strewn, insect and rodent-breeding dumping ground known as the former Southwyck Shopping Center.

The city is resurfacing Southwyck Boulevard, but the site of the razed mall is the poster child for the word "eyesore." It's disgusting to see this mess -- not to mention a health hazard -- in the middle of a once-proud area.

If the city imposed and collected the heavy fines and fees that are long overdue from the out-of-town owners, that revenue could go a long way toward paying off other city debts.

Sharon Arquette

Cresthaven Lane

 

College editorial backs conservatism

Your May 18 editorial "Controlling college costs" about the price of higher education and student debt seemed like a right-leaning allegory advocating conservative beliefs and solutions regarding our nation's economic and debt crises.

Students symbolize taxpayers, and colleges and administrators symbolize government and politicians.

You addressed the extent and impact of college costs and student debt: debt per student, increased need for student borrowing, and student debt slowing the economic recovery. Similarly, government frequently borrows from other nations, and national debt has slowed the economic recovery.

The causes explored were strangely similar to conservative views assigning blame for the economy and debt. To recruit, colleges underestimate debt yet overestimate career opportunities; to win votes, politicians underestimate the cost of programs while overestimating their benefits. Students don't track their debt; too few taxpayers understand our debt, preferring instead to enjoy entitlements.

College administrations are bloated; government has dramatically grown. College administrators' salaries are exorbitant; politicians often enact their own raises, regardless of merit. Colleges spend too much on luxuries; the General Services Administration scandal exemplifies government waste.

You offered solutions: Colleges must raise revenue, cut costs, or both. Conservatives say government must raise taxes, cut spending, or both. You say that out-of-state and international students should pay full costs. Conservatives argue that illegal immigrants should pay for social services. You say that colleges should cut staff, programs, and departments. Conservatives say that government should cut employees, departments, and regulations.

You unabashedly endorsed conservatism by stating: "The college-as-big-business model isn't working." Republicans argue that big government is not working. You admonish universities for losing focus of their original mission; conservatives argue the same about government.

Was the editorial intentionally written as allegory? Was it satire? Or, are these two entities too dissimilar to make such comparisons?

Matt Malohn

Dorr Street



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