Questions About the Sustainability Director

John Hideraker ’71 posts a reader’s questions about the truthfulness of the claims made by Jim Merkel, Dartmouth’s new sustainability directortor.

Is it really possible to live on $5K/year without taking advantage of the “commons” of others? As the IRS considers “trading” of valuable things to be a production of income, was Merkel’s income, at $13.00 per day, underreported?
. . .
Obviously, Mr. Merkel is one of the oft-lamented “uninsured” who visits the emergency room when he falls off his bike, as there is no possible way in Hades he has health insurance on the 20 cents he has left over each day after paying for food and lodging. Therefore, I pay for Merkel?s health care when he busts his “sustainable” head.

Further, I am very pleased that Mr. Merkel, after his retirement, will certainly receive more dollars from the Social Security system that he has paid in. It is only fitting, after all, that we “sustain” him in his dotage, as he is such a role-model for us all.

His apparently frugal lifestyle does raise some eyebrows. It also raises another question: does he really expect Dartmouth to follow his lead? As one Powerline reader wrote, if everyone lived as he does, the world economy would come to a grinding halt, and everything we hold dear (including Dartmouth) would perish with it.