The Feb. 17 article “A tiger for government paper use” deserved its placement on the front page but not for the reason Post editors apparently thought. It is not front-page news that an organization with a citizen-oriented name is, in fact, backed by a trade group, in this case Consumers for Paper Options and the paper industry. But it is front-page news that the inexorable push away from paper will greatly worsen the digital divide.
The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project reported last year that only 54 percent of households with incomes below $30,000 have a high-speed Internet connection at home. It may save the government money to forgo mailing statements, for example, but the cost is simply shifted to citizens: One has to own a relatively up-to-date computer, a high-speed connection and a printer. Just the Internet connection is at least $40 a month, too dear for someone living on a disability check. Entering one’s personal information on a public computer is out of the question.
Industry-backed or not, Consumers for Paper Options has it exactly right.
Chris A. Raymond, Falls Church