The List Issue: Best and Worst
I enjoyed your list issue but was dismayed that as a print subscriber, I was generally given short shrift [Dec. 22]. Instead of allowing your critics, journalists and commentators the space to back up their decisions, you gave us some lists along with cutesy drawings and clip art. You forced your bread-and-butter subscribers to sift through dozens of pages at TIME.com to read a few lists. I understand that a) you need to make money from ads on your website and b) you could not have printed all your lists in the magazine. But at least give us the chance to hear out your TV critic instead of printing his list in microscopic type on the cover.
I was surprised that your "Top 10 Scandals" did not include Taiwan's former President Chen Shui-bian, a vocal advocate for Taiwan independence who has been indicted for alleged money-laundering and misuse of public funds. Such an apparent case of "absolute power corrupting absolutely" should be a lesson to all politicians.
Thank You. I am a movie snob and very critical of everything I see, but I thought Speed Racer was simply brilliant entertainment from top to bottom. It's been at least a decade since I've seen a movie more than once in the theater, but I saw Speed Racer three times. It was sad to see it flop and be critically savaged, but I appreciate your adding it to the "Top 10 Movies" of 2008.
Riots in Athens
What we saw in Greece in the last few weeks was atrocious [Dec. 22]. Granted, a boy is dead from alleged police negligence, but that does not give license to hooded and masked anticapitalist anarchists to pillage communities and deface public and private property. These people should take a page from the citizenry of Australia and the United States, who showed their dissatisfaction with the powers that be with their right to vote. Since when has the right to an open government and democracy come from under a mask?
Paying More for Gas, Voluntarily
With his proposal for broad new energy taxes, Michael Kinsley gets my vote for insight of the year [Dec. 22]. I don't like high gas prices any more than the next guy, but I would rather put the money to good use in the U.S. than send it to OPEC. The American people have demonstrated beyond a doubt that they can and will get by with less gas if there is a compelling reason in the form of a higher price at the pump. The enormous, unstated side benefit of Kinsley's proposal is a huge step toward energy independence. Who did not enjoy seeing the OPEC ministers being forced to reduce production because of reduced demand in the U.S. and worldwide? I wonder if our elected representatives will have the courage to pursue Kinsley's idea.
Sarasota, Fla., U.S.
Kinsley's latest missive in TIME falls prey to one of the oldest traps in economics Frédéric Bastiat's broken-window fallacy. Just as a broken window creates work for the glazier at the expense of the window owner, money that Kinsley hopes to inject into the economy must first be taken out of it. Add in collection costs and the usual political malfeasance, and we have a net loss to the economy. There's more: Kinsley argues that last summer's high oil prices were essentially a tax on consumers; the money just went to oil companies instead of the government. But he forgets that oil companies do not have control over their prices. If they did, then why would oil prices ever drop? Kinsley's logic does not follow.
Ryan Young and Drew Tidwell, Competitive Enterprise Institute,
Getting Out of Afghanistan
Re Joe Klein's "The Aimless War": all the soldiers pictured with the article have the same haunting, tired, stressed, bewildered, questioning, faraway look [Dec. 22]. There is a saying, "The eyes are the portals to the soul of man." It is evident by the look in these soldiers' eyes that they are all asking, "What the hell is going on, and why are we here?" A better title for this story couldn't have been found.
C.D. Rinck Sr.,
Mission, Kans., U.S.