Don't Champion a 'Command and Control' Economy

RECEIVED Mon., May 5, 2008

Dear Editor,
    The good news is that, after taking a gamble on installing a timer on his water heater, Jim Lacey found that he saved a lot of money and wrote the Chronicle to report his findings [“Postmarks,” May 2]. This sounds like a great idea … I might try it on my own water heater, with thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, comrade Lacey's next thought is to force all water-heater manufacturers to include a timer on all their water heaters and to beg "someone in authority [to] investigate this [proposed mandate] further.” How about just leaving it at reporting the facts, Mr. Lacey, and let the manufacturers and their customers decide what features they'd like on their heaters? Russia had a nasty experience with a "command and control" economy that collapsed about 20 years ago, and I'd rather not repeat their error here.
Alan McKendree
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