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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 25, 2009 at 6:00 AM

National politics

No room for an “honest mistake”

Tim F. Geithner is a tax cheat [“Economic hot seat,” Business, Jan. 18].

With his knowledge and use of professional tax accountants to prepare and file his taxes, there is absolutely no way that what he did to evade paying taxes is an “honest mistake.” Why should Americans stand for a guy like this running the United States Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service?

Further, why do we need him? There are plenty of people smart enough and experienced enough to do his job.

What message is the new administration trying to send to the American people? Is the message that the “culture of corruption” is alive and well in Washington?

That’s the way I take it, since there is no shortage of talent without this kind of baggage out there ready to serve.

— Rick Johnson, Burien

Don’t discriminate against energy sources

In response to Paul Rogat Loeb’s article [“Stoking the furnace of a green economy,” guest columnist, Jan. 22], I offer the following observations.

The high-efficiency Trane furnace, which Loeb says he purchased, does promote American jobs in New Jersey and Texas, but the bottom-line profits flow to Bermuda where the principal executive office of Ingersoll Rand, the parent company, is located. This points out the need for our country to look carefully at our corporate tax rates with respect to foreign neighbors to make sure that we are competitive in this regard.

This will insure that jobs and profits are kept here.

My former business, Dorse and Company, Inc., was and still is a manufacturers’ representative and now wholesaler of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment. Part of the company’s product offering has been and still is heat-recovery equipment. We’ve furnished a significant amount of this equipment for the past 30 years.

The main reason the end user buys this equipment is the relatively short payback period and the continued reduction in the cost of fuel thereafter. The secondary benefits, the reduction in pollution and carbon-dioxide emission, are also important.

For the past 30 years, our home, located on the shore of Puget Sound, has enjoyed the benefits of a heat-recovery system that I designed for our centrally-located fireplace. The fuel is driftwood that we burn only when the weather is permitting. The system draws in 100 percent outside air and pressurizes our living space so as to minimize infiltration. The back wall, which is brick, acts as a heat sink and continues to emit heat for at least 12 hours after the fire is out. When this system is operating, we turn down the thermostat, as there is no need for the gas-fired base board heating that serves the main floor. Similarly, I do a lot of barbecuing and this is only done with driftwood, never charcoal briquettes.

Where I disagree with Loeb is in his advocacy of mandating energy-efficient furnaces and a solar- and wind-energy generation. Let the market determine what is to be used; don’t let the government pick winners and losers regarding the energy generation.

While our government restricts and regulates oil exploration and production, Saudi Arabia continues to discover vast oil reserves with state-of-the-art lateral drilling and develops cleaner-burning gasoline in their laboratories. Our energy policy should be comprehensive and encourage all forms of domestically produced energy.

— Bob Dorse, Seattle

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