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A4 Thursday, April 28, 2011

OPINION

Democrats use scare tactics to avoid tackling the deficit

You know the 2012 presidential campaign’s officially started at the Obama White House when the president abandons his golf foursome and heads out to convince us he’s really a deficit hawk. Of course, I’m kidding. The president doesn’t have a regular foursome. But with our debt approaching $15 trillion, this isn’t really a laughing matter — unless you find funny the notion of the man who’s overseen the greatest growth in the federal government since Lyndon Johnson and created more debt than all of his predecessors combined now selling himself as the answer to our budget demise. There is nothing funny about the all-out assault Obama and his congressional elves have launched against House Republican Paul R yan. R yan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, broke with recent House trends, at least since 2007, and drafted a formal

EDITORIAL

JEFFRY GARDNER RIGHT

FOR A

REASON

budget. The Nancy Pelosi-led House never submitted a real budget, relying instead on extensions and separate budget items to skate by and continue spending. But when the Obama administration created a 2012 federal budget that, by its own admission, was unsustainable, Ryan took action. In an age where a spending “cut” isn’t a cut at all, R yan’s budget seems to offer at least a start at reform — slowing spending and retooling programs that need retooling. But in today’s fully-mechanized

political war machine that is the Democratic Party, the budget debate quickly amounted to this: Senate Majority Leader and multi-millionaire Harry Reid said, basically, that Republicans wanted women to die of cancer. Reid’s since said that R yan and the Republicans want to end Social Security and Medicare, and that Republicans “aren’t serious” about the budget. The latter is a fascinating statement coming from the leader of the body that hasn’t passed an actual budget in years. Former House Speaker and multi-millionaire Nancy Pelosi proclaimed that Ryan’s budget will starve six million seniors to death. Six million. Get it? At least Pelosi stopped short of saying Republicans would begin putting old people in box cars and shipping them to “work camps.” Pelosi was even moved to quote the Beatitudes. I’m serious. “When I

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was hungry you gave me to eat,” she said. Close enough, I suppose. But it’s our multi-millionaire president who stole the show. Obama addressed the nation for 45 minutes and painted Ryan’s budget as sinister and, perhaps, un-American. R yan’s plan deserves real debate. It won’t get it. First and foremost, Ryan calls for reforms in Medicare and Social Security. That ain’t gonna happen. Medicare — whose numbers were so poorly estimated by the Johnson Administration that just 10 years after it was signed into law in 1965 it was apparent the “pay-as-you-go” construct was being overwhelmed — is, like Social Security, a sacred, sacred, sacred political cow. Did I mention it was sacred? In 1964, Johnson & Co. projected Medicare’s cost to the nation in 1990 would be $12 billion. It was $110 billion. For fiscal 2009,

Medicare amounted to 17 percent of our entitlement spending. Kick in Medicaid and it jumps to 23 percent or $793 billion. Social Security totaled over 20 percent at $701 billion. Defense, the only constitutionally required expense, if you believe in that sort of thing, was $698 billion. This past week, Standard & Poor’s poked Washington politicians in the gut, changing the long-term outlook on U.S. credit from “stable” to “negative.” S&P was basically telling the world that if Washington doesn’t get serious soon, the United States won’t be able to pay its debts. If you expect this warning to move Democrats to action, you haven’t been paying attention. But maybe they’ll quote more scripture. Perhaps Paul, say, advising the Romans to “pay your debt as you go.” Who am I kidding? © New Mexico News Services 2011

Deepwater drilling

Having reached the first anniversary of the Gulf oil spill, we must take a reasoned look at the reality of energy production. Energy production entails risk, as does nearly every economic activity. The decision to drive to work today entailed risk. About 33,000 people are killed annually in motor vehicle accidents. This does not mean that we should all stop driving. In general, we should take the optimal amount of risk in the sense that the benefits from any activity exceed the expected costs of the activity, including the potential costs of an accident. Unfortunately, the response to the environmental damage caused by the tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon has been an overreaction to risk on the side of the federal government. While the moratorium on drilling was lifted in October, only six new deepwater (over 500 feet) well permits have been issued since then. Given that the Gulf accounts for a third of the nation’s domestic oil supplies and 10 percent of the natural gas, mostly from the deepwater region, it is important to examine carefully what economists call the opportunity cost of not drilling as well as the expected losses from an accident. Oil is now in excess of $100 per barrel, and gasoline is at almost $4 per gallon. The political turmoil in the Middle East has created uncertainties in world oil production, creating demand for oil production from politically stable areas. At the same time, several drilling contractors have pulled their rigs out of the Gulf to use them for offshore drilling in Brazil and West Africa. The expected losses from drilling in the Gulf have been reduced substantially. A positive effect of the Deepwater Horizon blowout was a better understanding of the environmental risks of different types of drilling operations. All oil companies have an incentive to make sure the other companies abide by best practices and keep risks to a minimum since any accident will limit the ability of all companies to continue and expand drilling operations. Yet, the incentives of the bureaucratic system are to overweight potential risks and underweight potential benefits, with the result that we end up with less oil production and higher prices for crude oil and gasoline. These higher energy costs feed throughout the economy since energy is an input into a vast array of goods and services. John Kessler, an oceanographer from Texas A&M, was quoted by Time as being surprised at how quickly the levels had returned to normal. “It looks like natural systems can handle an event like this somewhat on their own.” Deepwater drilling is now safer than it was before the accident, and the opportunity cost of delaying and denying permits to drill in the Gulf are greater. The Obama administration needs to allow the oil industry to use its new-found expertise and organization to meet our current and future energy needs by restoring the ability to return to drilling in the Gulf. Guest Editorial The Detroit News DEAR DR. GOTT: Quite a while ago, you published a letter from a person who inquired about whether he or she should be treated for hypothyroidism with a TSH level of 6.7. Hypothyroidism is rampant in my family. I think it is important to identify the consequences of untreated hypothyroidism, which include a greater likelihood of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and early-onset dementia. Also, it is worthwhile to note that the European standards for diagnosing hypothyroidism are much narrower than in this country. In Europe if a person’s TSH is higher than two, he or she is diagnosed with hypothyroidism. If it is between one and two, the person may have it. If it is less than one,

Government keeps stifling productivity MARITA NOON ENERGY MAKES AMERICA GREAT INC.

Farming, ranching, mining and extraction are the foundation for everything else. They are what make food, energy and manufacturing possible by providing the raw materials for our personal and economic growth. Yet these bedrock American industries have, little-by-little, been chiseled away — so subtly that most of us did not notice until now; now, when the economy continues to teeter with a slight uptick one month, back down the next. The public, America’s citizens, people who’ve

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the person definitely does not have it. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists issued a paper in 2002, stating that anyone with a TSH of three or higher should be treated. And then there is the issue of treating with a natural source of thyroid, such as Armour thyroid, versus treating with a synthetic form, such as levothyroxin. In a

never paid attention to politics or the economy, want to know what happened; they want to know, “Why?” The answer is really quite simple and reversing the trend — growing the economy — is equally simple. But America’s citizens must push for policyinduced prosperity. Today we have federal employees who are paid to stop productivity. Their job is to enforce regulations, not encourage expansion. The federal government used to help people establish a far m or ranch, or stake a claim. Remember the whole idea of “homesteading?” People took a

study done in another country, 60 percent of people with hypothyroidism felt better when taking both T3 and T4, compared to taking just T4. Thank you for the helpful information in your column. DEAR READER: Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) can be a somewhat complex issue. The area about which you have written, subclinical thyroid disease, is particularly complicated. Until adequate scientific studies have been performed, it will continue to be difficult to determine at what levels treatment should be given when levels fall within those gray areas. You are correct in that there are very real and sometimes serious consequences in not treating hypothyroidism. These can

barren parcel of federal land, treated it as their own and made something from nothing. Their efforts were rewarded with the deed. While homesteading is a thing of the history books, policy that stopped development didn’t begin until the 1970s. Initial results of a new study indicate that major industries once prevalent in the West, such as logging, cattle ranching and mining, have moved out — in fact, been chased out. Instead of exporting, we now import. What happened in the ’70s to change federal lands management? The birth of the

include heart disease, goiter (enlarged thyroid gland), infertility, peripheral neuropathy and myxedema (cold intolerance, drowsiness, profound lethargy and unconsciousness). These are most commonly associated with longter m uncontrolled hypothyroidism. Women with untreated hypothyroidsm who are pregnant, have a higher risk of having child with birth defects. The child may also be more likely to have serious developmental and intellectual problems. Babies bor n with hypothyroidism who go untreated past the first few months of life are at risk of serious mental and physical development problems. DEAR DR. GOTT: I strongly disagree with your readers who want See GOTT, Page A5

environmental movement in the late 1960s. This shift in policy is most evident through the story of the spotted owl — a declining species said to favor “old growth forest.” The effort to protect the owl began in 1968. It was ultimately listed as “endangered” in 1990. Observing history, we see the owls’ numbers have not increased with the protection and they’ve been found in locations they supposedly do not like. While the listing had little impact on the owl, it did have a killing effect on the logging

See NOON, Page A5

25 YEARS AGO

April 28, 1986 • Dean Stovall has been promoted to vice president at Sunwest Bank. Stovall has been with Sunwest of Roswell for three years. He and his wife, Nancy, are active at Gateway Baptist Church, and he is also a supporter of the Eastern New Mexico Junior Livestock Sale. • Raymond Hefner, chairman of the board of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, has announced the election of Joseph J. Kelly of Elk Oil Co. in Roswell to the position of IPAA vice president.

04-28-2011  

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