Hoffa's got it wrong
Re: The Detroit News' March 13 column "America's decline: It's the trade deficit, stupid": James P. Hoffa says that "our trade imbalance is masquerading as a debt crisis," and is the "root cause of the nation's budget crisis." He has it exactly backwards. The trade deficit is a direct result of our government's overspending.
If the U.S. government balanced its budget, then foreign manufacturers would be forced to move more of their operations back to the U.S. because they would have no other way to "spend" those exported dollars. It really is the budget deficit that is causing the decline of U.S. manufacturing.
Philip Seamon, Birmingham
Keystone debate continues
Re: The Detroit News' March 16 editorial quick hit, "The keys to Keystone, please": One of the salient points missed by The Detroit News on the Keystone pipeline issue is that the State Department primarily approved of the pipeline because it won't affect climate change.
In fact, not building the Keystone pipeline may be more harmful to the environment than building it.
Pipelines create no emissions. The trucks or trains or ships that will be used to transport the oil without one do.
Stuart Doherty, Royal Oak
Tax liens more than oversight
Re: The Detroit News' March 16 report, "Records show Detroit's emergency manager has tax liens on Maryland home": I believe the history of tax liens on Kevyn Orr's residence in Maryland speaks volumes on his character.
If a lien had occurred one time, that could be attributed to an oversight, but this has now occurred four times, in each year from 2009 to 2012. His excuse that his taxes were done by an outside tax accountant is not credible, especially for the past two years.
What I see here is a rich person of privilege trying to shirk responsibilities and not pay his fair share of taxes. Detroit deserves somebody better to help it out of its problems.
Thaddeus W Krolikowski, Grosse Pointe Woods
Get your own house in order
If someone can't handle his own finances, how can he handle the finances of the city of Detroit?
Wayne P. Waller, Rochester Hills
A downside to dredging
Re: The Detroit News' March 16 editorial quick hit, "Acting to save the lakes is wise decision": Not that I'm against dredging harbors, but that isn't going to "help preserve the Great Lakes."
Dredging will open the Great Lakes up to more powerboat use — and many powerboats use gas oil mix engines, which pollute the waters; more powerboats, more pollution.
And many boaters will be coming from out of state, which will only increase the chance that more destructive invasive species, like the Asian carp, will be introduced to the waters.
Stuart Doherty, Royal Oak
Learning is a journey
Re: The Detroit News' March 18 report, "Michigan may drop foreign language rule for schools": Now there is a movement to eliminate foreign language as a requirement for high school graduation. Because the educational system is so focused on test scores and other data, whenever students struggle to achieve, the answer is to adjust the requirements.
Learning is about the journey and process and not always the statistical measurement. For example, Algebra 2 is a tough subject, but it requires and develops a thinking process about solving problems. This is a good thing regardless of the letter grade a student receives. We should encourage students to embrace the struggles in education as a positive that makes them stronger instead of focusing on the immediate success.
John Ruhlig, Canton
Foreign languages are useful
I think it's worth noting that almost all colleges now require at least two years of foreign language in order to graduate, and some just to gain admission; so essentially this law will result in many students putting off the coursework until it's actually harder to learn and they have to pay thousands of dollars for it.
I understand there is a need for flexibility, but that is why we take many hours of electives in addition to the core requirements, and this is asking for a pretty small commitment. In the past, we thought everyone just had to be literate and able to balance their checkbook. Now that we live in a globalized, technological society, people also need a comprehensive introduction to both computer science and life outside the United States — these are just things everyone needs to know now, like math and grammar.
Kristin Evans, Detroit