Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the link between the US dollar and oil prices, and resolving the label dispute over same-sex unions.

Lower world oil prices by balancing the US budget

In response to the June 26 article, "To lower oil price, boost the buck?": This is an important contribution to the journalistic work on this critical issue. Since the founding of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with an explicit charter to manage currency risk, the value of the US dollar has been linked to the price of crude oil. Far too little is written about this profound link in our world.

What is missing from the otherwise excellent piece is a stunningly simple prescription for strengthening the dollar and lowering the price of oil: balance the budget. The fiscal management shown by the federal government is the single largest factor in determining the dollar's strength over time. Short-term interest rates and the balance of trade can only act to accelerate or decelerate this fundamental dynamic.

If we miss the importance of the deficit-dollar-oil linkage in this election year, we have only ourselves to blame. Our collective lack of fiscal discipline hits us with each trip to the pump.

Jim Turnure
St. Paul, Minn.

Regarding the recent article on the oil-dollar link: The best way to decrease oil prices is to increase supply. I suggest that we encourage the increase of all energy production in the United States by eliminating taxes on domestic production of energy supply – not taxing oil profits. Also, we need to minimize bureaucratic regulation of all forms of energy production and allow exploration of domestic areas rich in oil and shale deposits.

Joel Last
Greensburg, Pa.

In response to the recent article on the oil-dollar link: As oil prices again shoot up, I have heard numerous – and erroneous – explanations for why oil costs so much.

While factors such as speculation, the weakening dollar, low refining capacity, etc., may play a part, the real culprit is that worldwide oil production has peaked and demand continues to soar. The world has reached peak oil production, long predicted by petroleum geologists, and we have not altered our consumption patterns.

The world is waking up to a harsh economic and physical reality: We're running out of oil. There is no "cheap oil" coming back. This is different than previous oil price shocks because the cause is not geopolitical, it is simple physics.

Instead of writing fanciful articles about how we can get the price of oil down, perhaps it is time to explore what immediate and long-term steps are required to move us off oil without complete destruction of the world economy.

We have a limited amount of time to act (perhaps three to eight years) before we face the prospect of massively escalating oil prices as the old wells run dry. It's time to drop the self-delusion and get to work.

Jason Olson
San Francisco

A same-sex union compromise?

Regarding the June 17 article, "Gay marriage: a new bind for church groups": Why not "pairriage?" What about calling "marriage" of two persons of the same sex "pairriage?" The union of these persons would have all the legal rights, privileges, insurance benefits, etc., of marriage, yet preserve the distinction between the "marriage" of two persons of the opposite sex from the "pairriage" of two persons of the same sex.

Likewise, religious bodies could make the distinction, or not. A simple answer to an admittedly complex question, but we have to start somewhere.

Rev. Max J. Rigert
Delavan, Wis.

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