Letters to the Editor

Cheaper yes, better no

Steve Kelman's article praising NASA's "risk-taking" administrator missed the point ["Don't pounce on failures," April 24]. The question is why it took three successive mission failures before an "independent panel" was brought in to review the situation.

One wonders if top NASA managers were so busy basking in the glow of the "faster, better, cheaper" limelight that they forgot to listen to their people. Lower echelon folks are the first to know when frugality has pushed the project to the ragged edge and beyond. That begs the culture question: Would anyone who raised early concerns still be considered a team player by the administrator?

If Kelman's math is correct, the "new age" NASA leadership has been unable to improve on the mission success rate achieved by the old NASA "bureaucrats," despite having far better technology and ample data from the successful missions. That's food for thought.

Michael D. May

General Services Administration

Get rid of the e-filing middleman

I'm glad Jim Wyant had a good experience e-filing using TurboTax [Letters, April 17]. However, I think Intuit has a way to go. Actually, I think the Internal Revenue Service should eliminate the middleman and permit taxpayers to e-file directly with them.

I tried e-filing with TurboTax. For the federal return, Intuit indicated the transmission was successful. However, I never got a receipt that the IRS accepted the return. So after several weeks with no receipt, I filed to the IRS using paper. Intuit's failure to process my electronic return thus resulted in a delay of my refund.

I also tried filing my Maryland return electronically with Intuit. I got an error message, which seemed to indicate to me that Intuit had programmed the state tax for Maryland incorrectly for electronic filing. So I filed my Maryland return the old-fashioned way, too, but didn't have the delay I had with the IRS since I knew immediately that Intuit wasn't processing it.

Intuit batted 0 for 2. Get rid of the middleman!

Bill Samuel

Environmental Protection Agency

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