Monday, February 19, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: M1 tanks? No thanks

The addiction to pork in Washington is coming in 70-ton servings — the M1 Abrams tanks the U.S. Army says it can't stomach but Congress keeps serving. This is bipartisan spending run amok to preserve jobs back home, and it reflects what is wrong with a Congress that talks tough on reducing the fiscal deficit but wastes taxpayer money on military equipment the Army doesn't even want.

The Army wants to stop the ongoing refurbishing of Abrams tanks, which would largely idle a General Dynamics plant in Ohio until 2017 and save roughly $3 billion. After the Pentagon first announced its plan two years ago, the company estimated more than 500 subcontractors employing up to 18,000 people could be affected.

The predictable pushback from Congress came amid aggressive lobbying and campaign contributions from General Dynamics' employees and political action committees, according to the Center for Public Integrity. As the donations rolled in, Congress reauthorized the tank spending in fiscal year 2012, and last year 173 Democratic and Republican House members signed a letter urging the Defense Department to continue tank production to "preserve the industrial base.''

The Army has 2,300 of the M1 Abrams tanks deployed and 3,000 more sitting idle at a military base in California. The Army has said its needs for a 2,384-tank fleet can be met by the end of this year, but Congress wants to spend $436 million to keep refurbishing additional tanks despite the military's objections. Never mind that the Pentagon must absorb $42 billion in sequester cuts by September and cut $487 billion over the next decade. This is another waste of public money just when the pressure to cut spending is increasing.

These are the contradictions from Washington that drive taxpayers crazy and keep voter approval ratings for Congress in the cellar. Congress wants the Pentagon to cut the fat while simultaneously swallowing more political pork.

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Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Gov. Rick Scott always has been grudging and imperious about restoring the voting rights of felons, requiring them to wait for years before begging the governor and Cabinet to be recognized again as citizens. That arrogance is on full display in a le...
Published: 02/13/18
Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Immigrants brought into this country illegally as children by their parents may be wondering whom to trust. The political theater being played out in Washington hasnít settled the status of either the "Dreamers" or the estimated 11 million other undo...
Published: 02/13/18
Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

While it came as little surprise, the Tampa Bay Raysí selection of an Ybor City site near Tampaís Channel District as the best spot for a new stadium is an important milestone in the effort to keep Major League Baseball. Now comes the hard work of de...
Published: 02/09/18
Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

After pummeling public education so soundly last year, itís little surprise Republican state legislators are mounting another attack on public schools, teachers and local districts. The mammoth education bill passed by the House last week is loaded w...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/13/18