Sizing Up Metric Conversion Bill

* In response to your recent articles on May 19 and May 21 regarding metrics, I feel the report on the legislation of Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach) to modify how the federal government converts construction to the metric system completely and totally missed the effort of Cox’s bill.

Federal bureaucrats often are quietly forcing American industries to use the most punitive and costly method possible for converting to the metric system. This method, which requires very expensive retooling, will prevent many American businesses--especially small, family-owned firms--from bidding on federal projects funded by their own government.

The government action wreaks of irony and insult. The irony is that the severe conversion method is simply unnecessary from a technical standpoint. The insult is that the congressional legislation that gave rise to metric conversion specifically stated that this kind of economic disruption was to be avoided.

The Cox bill will force the government to do what it was supposed to do in the first place: use less costly methods for many industries when it makes sense to do so. Cox isn’t trying to backtrack on metric conversion. He is trying to make it easier and less costly to convert. The Times and its readers win less costly conversion and fewer taxes.


Unfortunately, the Times articles merely restated the canned printed testimony of some government officials whose policy is being forced into the open for debate by Cox. I congratulate Cox for standing up and challenging a metric conversion program that runs afoul of its own stated congressional intent to avoid disruption and huge costs to the taxpayers.