HIGH GAS PRICES? How does it feel?

There are more than 2 million people incarcerated in the United States. Prisoners and their families routinely pay exaggerated prices for goods and services. Although the matter has been repeatedly brought to the attention of lawmakers and the public, nothing has been done to curb it.

In an age when you can call China for 2 cents a minute, prisoners and their friends and families are being charged anywhere from 50 cents to $1 per minute for an in-state phone call.

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, the public wants to cry that gas prices are too high.

I say that the gas prices should keep getting higher until laws are passed that will protect everyone from predatory pricing.

Had the public demanded that laws be made to protect prisoners, their friends and families from predatory pricing, those same laws would have protected the public from the fuel companies.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

George S. Bussinger

Somerset (Pa.) State Prison

Blame Congress for gas prices

It is ironic that our Democratic-controlled Congress held hearings with America's oil companies principally to blame them for our rapidly increasing gasoline prices.

These Democrats conveniently can't remember that the United States now imports about 63 percent of its oil, and that the ability to tap into our own reserves has been severely limited by them and their environmental contributors.

The world's oil reserves have not kept up with increasing demand from such countries as India and China. Also, this makes our country more dependent on countries that do not like our freedom and democracy.

Another factor is the lack of sufficient refinery capacity for all of our gas-blending requirements now, much less than that for new production. No new refineries have been constructed during the last 30 years in the United States. Interdependency on existing refineries has been so great that every time there is a fire or broken pipe, up goes gas prices.

For various reasons, the relative value of a dollar internationally has been declining for more than 10 years. Our congressional Democrats don't appear to recognize the free market's law of "supply and demand" or to take responsibility for the long term ill-effects of their actions. They would rather blame the gasoline prices on the oil companies, place an excess profits tax on them and make less money available for oil exploration.

There were lots of warnings about the increases from President Bush and the oil industry.

The near-sighted Democrats are only looking to the next election and not interested in the good of the country.

No wonder Congress' approval rating is only 17 percent.

Donald C. Dunn, Turnersville, N.J.