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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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December 20, 2004

Applying argument to me

A reader writes:

Denny Stern made a great point in the letters to the editor today. I'm sure there are many writers in India or some other country who could write your column as well as you do for a fraction of the cost, say maybe $12,000 per year.

As someone who subscribes to the Sunday Times, and weekly P.I., I would like to see both papers survive. Lowering the labor costs of both papers would give them both a better chance of surviving. Replacing the current, relatively high-paid columnists with lower-paid foreign writers is a win-win proposition for the papers and their readers.

Of course, this may hurt you a tad, but so what? You don't mind making a minor personal sacrifice for the benefit of the many, do you? Free trade is a wonderful thing. Gets rid of overpaid people, like yourself, and lowers costs for consumers. Or, maybe you could keep your job if you were willing to compete on salary with writers in India. You would not mind a little pay cut, would you?

My reply:

It is not a great point. All it amounts to is this:

1. I recommend a policy in which some persons lose a position they have now.

2. Your reply is: 'Well, Ramsey, what if you lost your position?"

3. Therefore -- what? That my argument is wrong? (Why?) Or that the argument might be right but that I shouldn't make it? (Why not?)

Your "great point" can also be made this way:

1. I recommend a policy in which some persons come out ahead. (A tax cut, let's say.)

2. Your reply is: "Well, Ramsey, I bet you'd come out ahead, too."

3. Therefore, I'm writing a column in order to feather my own nest, or at least it looks as if I am doing this, and therefore I shouldn't write that column.

So what do I get to write about? What is the rule? Do you apply this rule to all columnists or only the ones who annoy you?

As for India, as far as I know, The Times is free to hire columnists from India. But what would they write about: Sound Transit? the Monorail? Prisoners at Monroe? King County's Critical Areas Ordinance? State of Washington ballot initiatives? That is what I have been writing about recently. Pretty difficult to do that from India.

In that respect, I figure I have a competitive advantage. If I don't, then I don't, and I will have to sustain myself some other way than by writing columns for The Times.

Respond to Bruce

Read his latest column

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at December 20, 2004 11:56 AM



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