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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about a cap-and-dividend approach to carbon regulation, how fathers can offer newlyweds helpful advice on marriage, and how simple things can help keep spouses close.

February 17, 2009



Cap-and-dividend is the way to handle carbon regulation

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Regarding the Feb. 13 Opinion piece, "To slow climate change, tax carbon": One problem with a carbon tax is that it doesn't guarantee any reduction in carbon emissions (which is the main goal of a carbon reduction scheme).

Another problem is that a carbon tax could be regressive. That is, it could disproportionately hurt poor people if the large carbon emitters (such as coal power plants) pass the cost of the tax onto the consumer. Of course, a cap-and-trade scheme could be equally regressive if the cost of emissions permits were passed on.

Some people have therefore suggested using a cap-and-dividend scheme. Under a cap-and-dividend plan, all revenues collected would be divided equally and returned to citizens on a per capita basis. It seems a per capita dividend would be a more direct way to protect poor people than would the general "revenue neutral" requirement recommended by author Nick Schulz. None of the climate change bills introduced in Congress so far contains a cap-and-dividend scheme; they all contain either a cap-and-trade scheme or a carbon tax.

Todd Gack
Farmington, Mich.

Fathers can help guide newlyweds

Regarding the Feb. 12 article, "The best marriage advice I ever received": This essay was outstanding. If more fathers would help their daughters by giving this kind of advice, fewer fathers-in-law would see their sons fail in their marriages. Talk about an economic stimulus for the country!

Jim Gammon
Clovis, N.M.

I'd like to add two more tips that have help me achieve nearly 20 years of wonderful marriage:

1. Never discuss sensitive subjects when you and/or your spouse are hungry or tired; and

2. What you don't say can often be as important, or even more important, than what you do say.

Sheryl Kurland
Longwood, Fla.

Simple things can keep spouses close

Regarding the Feb. 13 Opinion piece, "How emotional distance ruins marriage": Author David Code's opinion piece was excellent. When our culture dictates rushing about so much that couples often don't even sit together for a meal, we would do well to consider the price of short-term convenience.

My husband and I, for example, have been married for 48 years. We've done the work. We're close. We love each other very much. But last Christmas, when our daughter gave us a simple game – a cube containing cards with questions for discussion – we found that not only was it fun with our family, but that we two could later enrich our relationship with more discussion than addressing the day's topics. Today's question was: What was your favorite meal, ever? Open-ended topics like this open a discussion that goes way beyond the surface question. My husband and I discussed what made a meal memorable: food, company, the event surrounding it, and where we were in life at that point.

I'd suggest that couples consider either buying such games or making up general questions and pulling them out now and then just for a little refreshing of mealtime discussions that will take them beyond the immediate day's news. Some answers may be surprising.

Diana Morley
Talent, Ore.

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