Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Shutdown frustration, losses spread across nation

Contrary to what lawmakers would have Americans believe, the government shutdown is not about Washington. The chaos is being felt in every community across the nation, as hundreds of thousands of federal workers have been ordered to stay home. There were faint signs of a thaw Thursday in Washington, as House Republicans proposed raising the debt ceiling for a few weeks in exchange for negotiations over spending cuts. But that is too little, and it does not end the government shutdown that is becoming more frustrating by the day. Here's a snapshot:

• Furloughs severely hit the Department of Veterans Affairs' effort to eliminate a backlog of more than 400,000 claims. These veterans served their country and deserve a timely response to their needs. The agency has also suspended the processing of claims appeals, leaving veterans and their families in the lurch and almost guaranteeing a new backlog when things return to normal.

• A conference in Tampa of security professionals was put off this week, taking $5 million from the local economy and costing Tampa city taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost rent for the convention center and other revenues. The move means that 4,000 conferees will not be in the Tampa Bay region for several days spending their money in area restaurants and shops.

• The shutdown has kept more than 7 million people out of American's national parks, with an estimated $750 million lost in visitor spending. At Everglades National Park in South Florida, the impact includes 25,000 lost visitors and an estimated loss in revenue of $4 million. This is the same watershed that the state and federal governments are spending billions of tax dollars to improve.

The shutdown has brought the country to a grinding halt in many other ways. Employers cannot access the government's E-Verify system to assure they are hiring only legal residents. The nation's research centers cannot process grants for public health projects. Nonprofits that serve the poor and the homeless are burning through their cash to ensure that families are not without shelter or other basics. Some $100 million in military contracts are frozen in the Tampa Bay region alone.

The stalemate in Washington is leaving a mess on every Main Street in America. Partisan politics has real-life consequences, and it is time to end this manufactured crisis.

Comments

Editorials of The Times

The Chutzpah of These MenA new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming cl...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

St. Petersburg’s 3-year-old recycling program has reached an undesirable tipping point, with operating costs exceeding the income from selling the recyclable materials. The shift is driven by falling commodity prices and new policies in China that cu...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18