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Readers' comments on business news

Florida might reject $1 billion | March 26

Extended benefits good deal for Florida

The reporter makes use of the phrase "on the hook" on two separate occasions in his purposely misleading article regarding extended benefits in Florida; the phrase is used to conjure up a negative connotation without regard to the facts.

The facts are the feds will pay 100 percent of the extended benefits; after the program, the state can end its participation.

I don't know of a single company in the state of Florida that bases its hiring on the unemployment tax charged to its payroll account. It is an insignificant cost of doing business. The same people who worry about this worry about avoiding workers' compensation taxes to protect those who work for them. Those companies are not worth saving.

Ron Anderson, Sarasota

Mortgage giants to give big bonuses | April 4

Where's Fannie, Freddie outrage?

When it was reported that the banks, financial institutions and large corporations were giving bonuses to executives after the companies received bailout money — which is wrong, bonuses should be paid only when profits are made— the media, Congress and the president made them into public enemy No. 1.

This even though the bonuses were approved in the bailout bill and known by President Obama, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Sen. Christopher Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank.

These executives were harassed on the front pages of newspapers and on news programs, and people were bused to their homes, where they marched until some gave the bonuses back.

Where the buses and people came from is in question. Some have suggested ACORN.

Now Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced that they plan to pay out $210 million in bonuses to about 7,600 employees so they will remain at the government-controlled companies.

Where is the outcry from our politicians, newspapers and broadcast media? It wasn't even front-page news; it was inside the Business section.

These are the two companies, established and controlled by the government, that started the downfall of the mortgage and housing industries and economy.

They certainly shouldn't be receiving bonuses, and if they want to leave, where are they going to go? Each company has received bailout money and will continue to receive more bailout money.

Again, where are newspapers and the other media? Where is the outrage by Obama, Geithner, Dodd and Frank? And where are the buses and marchers? Could it be they all have received a lot of money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

We the people should be outraged with the whole bunch — media, politicians and newspapers. We need change, but it is not going to come from the Democratic or Republican parties. It needs to come from the people.

Remember, we are a government of the people, for the people and by the people, not a government of the lobbyists, for the special interest groups, by the politicians.

We the people may need to march on some homes and in Washington. They need to hear us. We pay the bills and they are going up each day!

Bob Balogh, Homosassa

Fixes for the fix we're in Feb. 8

That's one pricey economic 'fix'

From the Internet, I hear you had a contest for good solutions to our current economic problems. Heard some guy suggested a plan to give 40 million people a million dollars each. Said it would cost less than the bailout. That's wrong. It would cost $40 trillion. He was in error. Did you have other people figure that out, too? Thanks.

Dee Anna Thomas, Frisco, Texas

Here's some better fix-it math

I have just received, in two days, from two widely separate sources, the following item attributed to publication in your newspaper.

Your Web site calls you "analytical." The mathematics in this item needs correction, and the analysis of the staff that printed it without getting it corrected is not up to the proclaimed standards!

Forty million retirees at $1 million is 40 trillion dollars, not four! This is three times the national GDP! Even $4 trillion exceeds the entire national budget as proposed and is around one-third of the GDP.

It is also shockingly unfair to 260 million other Americans! Humorous? Yes. Useful to America? No.

But maybe not a bad idea at $10,000. Only half the current bailout cost, and probably 10,000 times as effective! But still unfair. How about $3,000 per taxpayer without the strings? Millions of credit cards paid off equals billions of dollars available for new credit. Millions more paid down equals more dollars for new credit. Many, many new cars, new housing starts (like my daughter), and equal treatment to all taxpayers.

Darryl Petrak, retired math teacher, House, NM

Editor's note: In February we published reader suggestions — serious and otherwise — for how to fix the economic crisis. This was one of them (not "the winner" as some message boards have suggested):

"There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force … pay them $1 million apiece severance with stipulations. They leave their jobs. Forty million job openings — unemployment fixed. They buy new American cars. Forty million cars ordered — auto industry fixed. They either buy a house or pay off their mortgage — housing crisis fixed."

We didn't print that it would cost $4 trillion, or less than the bailout. But readers are right that this would cost $40 trillion — nearly three times the national gross domestic product and nearly four times the national debt. So, a fun idea? Sure, just like making pro athletes foot the bailout bill, investing in a national bullet train system or legalizing marijuana — all ideas our readers suggested. An effective one? Not at all. Of course, world leaders' ideas haven't been terribly effective yet, either.

It's not too late to share your ideas at


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Readers' comments on business news 04/11/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 2:16pm]
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    CLEARWATER — Just then you thought it was safe to go back into the water, a boating business leader issued a small craft warning.

    Bill McGill Jr., CEO of Clearwater's MarineMax, the country's biggest recreational boat retailer. [Courtesy of MarineMax]
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[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]

  5. McMansions, state sewage order on tap at St. Petersburg City Council

    Local Government

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    Two big, blocky homes on the 2300 block of Dartmouth, Ave N under construction in April. Several new homes under construction.
in St. Petersburg's Historic Kenwood Neighborhood are too big, residents complain. The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday is set to consider ordinances aimed at curbing the construction of big "McMansions." [LARA CERRI   |   Times]