Marcus misses the point

September 12, 2009
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

In his Aug. 31 column, Morton Marcus dared to paint those who question the role of government on certain issues as misinformed, narrow-minded and in constant need of reminding of their “obligations.” How arrogant!

Marcus contends that we should embrace the cap-and-trade legislation because of the global interest in reducing pollution. He says that anyone who questions this legislation is narrow-minded. I submit that it is indeed our responsibility to balance global interests against our country’s economic growth. Absolutely we can sharply limit pollution but, in doing so, there is risk that the United States disadvantages itself economically against other countries who will not embrace the same standards.

Marcus further argues that we must all accept the proposition that health care and education should be publicly financed since having our citizens educated and healthy has an indirect public benefit. As caring human beings we recognize our moral obligations to help others in need, not because we receive an indirect public benefit but questioning whether public financing is the answer is not akin to misunderstanding our obligations. We all know too well the numerous examples where government assumes the cost of something only to see that cost grow unchecked and beyond the cost of similar services provided by private or not-for-profit entities. Government is not the answer to every problem we have in America and that is the message I received from Marcus’ column.

Indeed, that seems to be the direction we are headed, where almost everything is deemed a public obligation—beyond health care and education to now include such items as cell phones, television, new cars and now new appliances. Where does it end?

I contend that it is irresponsible not to have healthy debate over these issues. As the role of government continues to escalate, many view that as a dangerous infringement on our personal freedoms. Insulting people who dare to question government is neither productive nor democratic.

Derek B. Roesener


  • Mr. Roesener needs to realize, as much as he might not like it, that we're not in a Darwinist society where business and the profit motive are the be-all and end-all of life in America. Unless and until those who can't make the financial grade are told they deserve to die in their tracks and are actually forced to do so, America will not be run solely according to strict, for-profit rules. Like it or not, that's the way it is.

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.