Letters: Why ‘the infatuation with economic growth?’; Writer left out Keller’s record

Growth is not good

I disagree with economist Jay Zagorsky’s opinion in the April 12 CDT that growth in the U.S. has not exceeded Earth’s carrying capacity.

Like most mainstream economists, Zagorsky ignores the evidence that we have exceeded ecological boundaries. The scientific research into these planetary boundaries shows that we are well beyond three of these limits: species extinction, nitrogen cycle and climate change.

Furthermore, our most fundamental need for food is founded on an alarming use of fossil fuels to grow, process, distribute, store and cook that food. We put over 10 units of fossil fuel energy into every unit of food energy that we eat!

He also fails to mention that while economic growth tends to further exceed Earth’s limits, in the U.S. it has not increased our well-being or happiness. So why the infatuation with economic growth? Growth was supposed to be a means to an end.

The founder of capitalism in the 1700s, Adam Smith, advocated economic growth to ease the burdens of everyday life, leading to a state of material sufficiency. At that point, growth in production would cease, and the people could then focus on personal development such as art, music, literature, etc.

We achieved that end of material well-being decades ago in the developed world. We should be focusing on personal growth, a stable-state economy and how to live good lives within Earth’s ecological limits.

Andy Lau, State College

Pro-Keller letter left out a lot

It’s interesting to see what those writing letters to the editor in support of a particular candidate include and what they leave out.

An April 10 CDT letter supporting Fred Keller, the Republican candidate for the open 12th Congressional District seat, is a case in point.

The letter-writer tells us Keller is a great, great guy, but not a thing about his record or positions.

We aren’t told that the Pennsylvania Environmental Scorecard, issued by Clearwater Action, Conservation Voters of PA, and Sierra Club, gave Keller a 10% lifetime rating for his votes on conservation and environmental issues.

We don’t learn that Keller voted for the House Republican spending plan that would have reduced funding for safe schools programs, career and technical education, funding for child care, mental health services, emergency management services and more.

We don’t learn that Keller voted for the irresponsible House Republican revenue plan that would have taken $4.5 million in funding from the Substance Abuse and Demand Reduction Fund in the middle of the opioid epidemic — or that he twice voted against “no budget, no pay” amendments to keep legislators from receiving paychecks until they pass a state budget.

Perhaps a letter that doesn’t mention a single word about a candidate’s record and positions does tell us a lot about that candidate.

Maybe there’s not much good to say.

Do your homework before voting on May 21. Our next congressman will impact your future in large and small ways for many years to come!

Patty Satalia, State College
The writer is an unpaid volunteer for the congressional campaign of Democrat Marc Friedenberg, who is running against Fred Keller.

‘No one more devoted’ to PSU than Oldsey

I heartily endorse Bill Oldsey for a third term as a Penn State alumni trustee. I have known Bill for almost 50 years. There simply is no one more devoted to Penn State than Bill.

His experience as a trustee and former executive in the publishing industry provides him with the tools he needs to be effective.

Combine that with his work ethic and his track record over the last six years, and you have a winning combination.

I am proud to have him as my friend and one of our trustees.

Ronald F. Saupe, Pine Grove Mills
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