‘General welfare’ includeshealth | Letter, Sept.15
Someone will pay for it
Many politicians are making Medicare for All the cornerstone of their campaign. Many think tanks even say the government will save money, but they neglect to say how.
Medicare premiums are based on actual annual program costs, and since medical costs are so high, the only way to keep premiums at the low levels most seniors pay is to raise payroll deductions to FICA to prohibitive levels. This is because without eligibility requirements and the lifetime payroll deductions from workers, there simply will not be enough money to fund the program. In addition, enrollment for every family member will need to be mandatory, and a separate premium will need to be paid for each person since there is no family plan.
The only real solution is the United Kingdom model, the one most often mentioned. They fund their "free" medical care with a national 20 percent sales tax and a 5 percent home energy and renovations tax. These are in addition to income and other taxes that are often higher than in the United States. Like the old saying goes, nothing is free.
Richard Golden, San Antonio
Rich doesn’t mean ‘moral’
With elections coming up, I am reminded of how many of those seeking high public office are wealthy and influential individuals. I’m also reminded that if a person is successful because they achieved great wealth and influence, it does not make them moral or intelligent beyond their ability to accomplish such earthy pursuits.
Robert Emery, Tampa
Will Trump, GOP create more debt in one year than in first 200 years of U.S.? | PolitiFact, Sept. 12
$1 trillion here and there
It is hardly the fiscal conservatives’ finest hour. The federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, and the national debt will increase $1 trillion by that date, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Eric Elder, Palm Harbor
Get your algae straight
I have taught oceanography for over 50 years. Back in the early 1960s I was a graduate student at Florida State University. While my thesis research was on artificial reefs, my job in the oceanography department was working under Bill Wilson on Red Tide. He was the first person to raise the Red Tide algae in the laboratory in the late 1950s at Texas A&M. From 1963 to 1966 we did experiments where we added various chemical nutrients to artificial sea water and found the only chemical that would stimulate a Red Tide "bloom" was chelated iron. We could never find any natural source of chelated iron washing off the land or in any pollution source. Then in 1992 a graduate student at USF found the correlation between Red Tide blooms in the Gulf of Mexico with dust particles from North Africa containing chelated iron. The simple fact is, Red Tide blooms have occurred for hundreds of years in this part of the gulf, and it has absolutely no connection with man’s activity. I get a bit upset when I see campaign adds blaming the red tide on Gov. Rick Scott. But I also get upset when people don’t distinguish between the current Red Tide blooms and the blue green algae problem from South Florida. The blue green algae problem is in fact manmade. That we can blame on the Army Corps of Engineers when they built the wall around the south side of the lake and changed the "sheet flow" that formerly carried lake overflow through the Everglades and into Florida Bay. While I like idea of committing lots of new research money, don’t expect it to make Red Tide go away.
Heyward Mathews, Clearwater
Ballot draws outside interest | Sept. 12
No to strong mayor
By a single vote last month, the Clearwater Council approved a referendum that could dramatically change the government if voters approve. People can begin mailing in ballots in a few weeks. Mayor George Cretekos and council member Hoyt Hamilton oppose the changes. Cretekos warned that the strong mayor initiative is being pushed by a small group of downtown special interests who "... are trying to fool us, to bamboozle us into thinking that this is a groundswell to change our form of government." There really is only one choice — and that is no. Clearwater is in excellent financial condition and run by a professional and qualified city manager. Do Clearwater voters want to gamble on a non-professional, politically elected single boss mayor? Do you want to gamble that the council in just a few months has adequately rewritten our charter? This discussion was given to us in a rush by a few influential people.
Howard Warshauer, Clearwater
Florida is No. 1 in freedom | Column, Sept. 4
Many laws increase our liberty
This notion of an inverse relationship between the amount of government and the amount of liberty is pure fantasy. Do all laws reduce our liberty? Of course not. Many increase our liberty. Do government roads and government traffic laws limit our freedom or do they in fact expand our liberty to travel safely? Do the First and Second amendments reduce our liberty or do they expand and protect our liberty? Did compulsory government public schools limit the liberty of generations of Americans or did they expand our children’s liberty to grow and prosper?
If government does not make authoritative decisions does that mean we are more free? If government doesn’t set workplace health and safety standards, guess who will? If government doesn’t decide how much a factory can pollute the environment, guess who will? Okay, let’s let the market economy make these decisions. But remember: A market economy is a government program. Contracts are a government program. Private property is a government program. Money is a government program.
You might keep this in mind next time someone repeats the "as government expands, liberty contracts" dogma.
Lawrence Farley, Dunedin