Letters to the Editor
To The Editor:
The increase in gasoline prices is not attributable to worldwide supply problems. The threats by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz is partly responsible for the increase, but another culprit is our oil industry.
In 2011 U.S. refineries exported a record amount of refined fuels to foreign markets. In December 2011 fuel exports averaged 2.89 million barrels a day compared to an average of 1.25 million barrels a day in 2007. Higher prices paid in foreign markets attracted U.S. exports.
Fuels exported overseas means less fuel in this country and higher gasoline prices. Our oil companies have put profits ahead of our economic health. It is estimated the five largest U.S. oil companies had profits of $120 billion in 2011.
U.S. refineries closed some facilities or reduced production in 2011. We continue to be constrained by old refineries, which require major maintenance, and thereby increase the cost of refined fuels. The last new refinery to come on line in the U.S. was in 1975.
We need the Obama administration to pressure U.S. oil companies to upgrade refineries and sell more refined fuels to U.S. markets to help lower our prices. When Obama became president gasoline was $1.84 per gallon.
Donald A. Moskowitz
Ackerman Will Be Missed
To The Editor:
I was surprised to read that Congressmember Gary Ackerman has decided not to run for another term in Congress. I met Ackerman on a number of occasions, shaking his hand and I wrote him on matters that I needed help with. He was always willing to help me.
There are those who have disagreed with him on various issues and that includes myself. But let no one doubt the fact that the congressmember has devoted himself over the past thirty years to making America a better place. Added to that he has worked hard and has been committed to helping those in the local communities whom he was elected to serve.
He, in my opinion, has tried to help veterans, having worked hard to keep the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point open. I believe it has turned out many fine officers. I work in Great Neck for Northeast Plumbing and do business with the Academy and those in maintenance tell me that they are thankful for Ackerman’s support for the Academy over the years.
Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, Ulysses, I think is a fitting tribute to Ackerman’s devotion to God and country. To quote the last lines of the poem: Tho’ much is taken, much abides: and tho’ We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are - One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
To Congressmember Ackerman I say: you will be missed but never forgotten. Good luck in whatever you decide to do next.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village, N.Y.
Offer Improved Mortgages
To The Editor:
It appears that housing shall be a long term drag on any economic recovery. Amazingly, housing was not appreciated by [Alan] Greenspan, as chairman of the Fed believing it played a minor role in the economic welfare of the nation.
The bubble that created the housing boom and inflated prices which rewarded the banks was made possible by the Fed failing to curb excesses or oversight. The banking industry grew rich and fat off average Americans. Securitizing mortgages into intertwined and complex structures permitted the bundlers to intentionally hide inherent weakness of loans that were destined to fall into foreclosures.
Congress played a significant role in opening the door to profiteers who took full advantage of a Wild West frontier whose marshall was forbidden to investigate or rein in abuses. The belief that the market would self correct was a fallacy foisted on an unknowing America by those who should have known better. Members of Congress who constantly seek campaign contributions allowed those who funded elections the largest voice in determining whether Congress would investigate or question the ballooning bubble of housing and the threat it posed to the economy.
The American taxpayer, the government and the Fed has bailed out the banks. Unemployment and housing prices have suffered by the indiffer- ence shown by the government and the Fed to truly address the cancer that is destroying homeownership. The cure is simple and easily understood by Americans but politics and the holier than thou moral standard claimed by those who profited by the American homeowner’s debacle decry implementation.
For the millions of Americans underwater but have fulfilled their obligations by paying their mortgage, the Fed should offer a new 30 year mortgage at four percent interest. Where banks enriched themselves by overvaluing homes a reduction of principle would be just.