Letters to the Editor

RePower program example of waste | Letters | August 12

The U.S. debt drama unfolds daily on the world stage.

Dr. Milton Friedman, one of the most brilliant, influential economists of the post World War II era, has an insight for us. Paraphrasing Friedman:

There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, you watch what you’re doing, and try to get the most for your money.

You can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, buying a present for someone. You may not be as careful about the content of the present as you are about the cost.

You can spend somebody else’s money on yourself.  Here, you’re going to make sure you have a good lunch.

Finally, you can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. Now, you’re not concerned about how much it costs or what you get. – that’s government.

There is a troubling local case in point re: Friedman’s insight on government spending: City of Bainbridge Councilperson Hilary Franz’s RePower Bainbridge.  This is a $5 million program where Franz secured taxpayer money to repackage common knowledge about how to save energy. What RePower Bainbridge hawks as major revelation has been told to us by Puget Sound Energy, Kitsap County, Department of Energy, Home Depot, Lowes, Reader’s Digest, and your mother: Yes, turn off your lights.

Nothing they are giving away is free.  Everything has a cost and the freebies have been paid for by U.S. taxpayers. The sad reality is 40 percent of this $5 million give-away has been borrowed from our major creditor – China.

Government over-spending on programs that are redundant or unnecessary is the root cause of our U.S. debt crisis. Americans have swum in a sea of information on energy savings for years.

James M. Olsen

Bainbridge Island,

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