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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
After recent fires, smokey air hangs over Salt Lake City on Monday, July 2, 2012.

I am continually amazed by clean air proponents like Katie Riggs Hansen and Zachary Barrows whose letters were printed in the Readers' Forum. They castigate Gov. Gary Herbert because he advocates voluntary pollution reduction. I would ask them, "Why do you think Utah's unemployment rate is lower than most of the United States?" I wonder how much concern they'd have for air quality if they were living under an overpass or in a homeless shelter.

I don't understand people who think wealth is a dirty word, that money falls from the sky and that they have a right to live anywhere they want with clean water and clean air. Why do they find it so difficult to understand that our standard of living comes at a price?

Someone has to create wealth to pay for all the things we take for granted. Government does not create wealth. Wealth is created by changing raw materials into something more valuable — think farming, mining, drilling and manufacturing. Why is so much of the oil we use coming from the Middle East? Why are so many of the products we buy coming from China? Could it be because people in those areas of the world would rather have food, shelter, clothing, and transportation than have pristine air? Could it be because heavy-handed governments have driven the wealth creators beyond our borders?

George Hawkins