Readers Respond

EPA lead rule suffers setback

“There is no need for a better ‘test kit,’ as highly reliable and affordable X-Ray Fluorescence technology has been in use for decades. There are many consultants who have XRF machines, and lead inspections are inexpensive. XRF testing produces no damage, while ‘test kits’ and chip sampling involves producing widely scattered damage (12 to 15 sample locations for a typical room in a house).

“The reality is that lead-based paint is rare in residential buildings constructed 1960 to 1978, and is not everywhere in older buildings. EPA’s big mistake was not requiring that the buildings be inspected, so that procedures for dealing with lead-based paint are only used where it is actually present.”

— F. Stephen Masek

On the President and the budget fiasco

“This fiasco, as you would call it, is all of their making. The President needs to tell the American people that if we default on our loans, the rumble would be worse that the last recession we had. We cannot continue politics as usual. They need to make decisions based on what the country really needs. He needs to tell the people that the Senate, the House of Representatives and he are going to cut their wages, go on Social Security (as we have it) and stop paying the retired congressmen their full salaries. That would be a good start.”

— John Stokes

“There should be no compromise on guaranteed benefits for low- and middle-class America. He needs to stay true to the values that got him into office. It has been well proven that tax breaks and corporate tax loopholes do not create jobs in America. There is no shortage of upper class in this country, but a shortage of middle class. It’s time to stand up for all Americans — not just executives, bankers and corporations.”

— Frank Douwes

“What he should say is: ‘You’re absolutely right Republicans, my policies have not worked up to this point, and raising taxes during these economic times is nuts. Therefore, I will recommend no new taxes, we will create a balanced budget amendment, and we will reduce spending to a percent of GDP that both parties will agree to.’ ”

— Mike Doogan

“How many households in the U.S. do you suppose can go out and spend way above their incomes and then go ask the boss for a raise, because of their spending habits? Where do the members of Congress lose this theory from their home to the Capitol building? It isn’t how much money you take in that is the problem, it is how much you spend that gets you in trouble. Washington, D.C., is a prime example of this.”

— Merle P. Higgins

“The President should say: ‘In the spirit of the American people, we will also be tightening our belts.’ I would also propose one thing that would probably save the country quite a bit of money and solve health care. No politician either past or present should have their health care paid in total.”

— Vicki Davison

Bloomington (Ind.) Hardware

Online taxation and a level playing field

“I do believe that there should be a level playing field, and now is the time, given the state of the economy. Governments are going to have to get more tax revenues somewhere, and this is a relatively reasonable and painless source. I particularly like the fact that it is a tax on consumption — in all ways more fair than a tax on income. The major problem with taxing online sales, of course, is the fact that every governmental entity in the U.S. apparently has a different rate and structure. It would be virtually impossible for an Internet retailer to manage that. As it is, it’s impossible for us to even get it right at the local level, as everywhere we deliver seemingly has a different set of rules and an ever-changing tax rate. My suggestion would be to charge a reasonable, uniform tax determined by the powers that be (perhaps the ICC), regardless of customer location. That would vastly simplify collection/distribution/payment/audit functions, and might even lead to a uniform sales tax structure at the state and municipal levels. That would be a godsend to all of us in the retail business.”

— C.K. Oram

“It is not fair to the people with a major brick-and-mortar investment. We need to have a level playing field.”

— Duane Lambrecht

“There should be one average rate per state that can be changed on a uniform date, say July 1 of each year. Internet retailers should remit to one central payment location with electronic information for each state. This would take away many of the problems for small Internet retailers.”

— Augustan Kittson

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