TEXT OF LETTERS
KAI RYSSDAL: It's time to hear your thoughts. . . . So many e-mails, so little time.
Last week after the election we aired a story about how President-elect Obama plans to create new jobs once he's in office. We suggested that one of the ways he might do that would be by funding infrastructure and public works projects. Critics in our story said that would take too long -- that it takes forever to get people actually working on those kinds of projects.
But Ben Morton from Rhode Island said we got nothing but time.
BEN MORTON: It is surprising how often I here that large projects take a long time to begin and thus won't provide jobs for years. During those years before ground is broken a huge number of architects, engineers, planners, surveyors, and even landscape architects like me are given well-paying work. Put us to work now, and build our cities and towns to thrive through mid-century. This seems like a pretty simple solution to me.
In terms of getting Americans back to work now, Bridgit Waterman from St. Paul, Minnesota offered this idea.
Bridgit Waterman: As far as infrastructure development goes, why not put a special part of it into "green infrastructure?" This would be cleaning up lakes and rivers, buying electric cars for governmental use, special projects for planting trees and restoring wildlife habitat. Why not do short-term projects that would use governmental debt?
Government debt. That's what you call a convenient segue right there. With all the talk about loans and bailout for the mortgage and banking industries, Linda Evens from Kingston, New York, wants to know why there's not more attention being paid to student loans.
Linda Evens: Our economy cannot endure college graduates being forced into this downward, out-of-control spiraling of debt. Enough with the top-heavy compensation packages and making money off college graduates who owe money.
The Obama transition team unveiled some new lobbyist rules today. After campaigning hard against 'em, the president-elect's people now say lobbyists can help in the transfer of power -- just not in the areas in which they do their lobbying work.
We addressed the lobbyist issue last week, wondering how you fill a government if you don't use some of the people who know it best. Dana Meyer from Omaha, Nebraska, rejected our underlying assumption there.
Dana Meyer: I cannot believe that lobbyists are the only people who can figure out how to run this country. We can only hope that President Obama will seek out capable people from a variety of sectors to serve in his administration. Lobbyists? Who needs 'em.
How about pronunciation checkers? It seems that we need them.
With apologies to all the residents of South Dakota who wrote about our commentary yesterday, the capital of the Mount Rushmore State [Pierre] is actually pronounced "pier."