Obama makes America a better place
It isn't necessary to review in detail the five years since our new president arrived on the national scene until Inauguration Day. Suffice it to acknowledge the 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention, the Springfield, Ill., announcement in 2007, his words in Iowa a year ago, "They said this day would never come," the Denver stadium speech, and his monumental words in Grant Park on Nov. 4.
It is more than his articulation, intelligence and savvy. It is his dignity, calm and humility. It is his obvious character and nobility. It is the glaring evidence in his family of decency and morality. It is because what he is is what we all wish we could be.
On Tuesday, I shed a tear. I breathed a breath of hope. And I can't help observing that because of Barack Obama, my country became smaller, because "on this day," each and every American grew bigger.
J.R. Ford, St. Petersburg
Get behind Obama's efforts to bring us all together
Okay, so I didn't vote for Barack Obama. At the time I convinced myself that he was an unknown, that he had no experience, while John McCain was a proven soldier, politician, family man and an overall good man who would unite the country.
As I watched the festivities in Washington, D.C., leading up to the inauguration of our new president, I saw that, true to form, I voted for the wrong man. Not that John McCain wouldn't have made a good president, but that Obama has, in two months, proven that he can unite the world.
President Obama has a large burden to carry, larger than that of any previous president of the United States. He has to make certain that everything he does is as close to perfection as possible, because the eyes of every single person in the world are watching him — especially, those of the young boys and girls who one day will be in charge. The futures of these boys and girls — black, brown, white and every in-between shade — and indeed the future of the world, will be molded by President Obama's actions. And there is no greater responsibility than that.
I urge every American to support this president. This is a historic moment in our lives. Never has there been a more important time for us to change the direction of the world.
It is not too late. With the election of this man, we have been given the way. Help him be the man he could be. Help him be the president he could be. Help him be the one who unites the world.
Robert Cuellar, St. Petersburg
Time to set things right
I was home alone, watching the glorious transition of this inauguration. Much to my surprise, I began to clap and to cry as Barack Obama and George W. Bush walked out the White House door.
President Obama has all my hopes and prayers that the path of death and destruction of the previous regime will now give way to a calmer and more unified country. It is truly time to put aside partisan politics and allow President Obama the opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past.
JoAnn Zinkand, Gulfport
Presidential library | Jan. 18
Read Adam Smith
This column by Colette Bancroft was most interesting. However, what the new president needs to read is The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. This philosopher of the 18th century, along with others such as John Locke and John Stuart Mill, was a founder of the study of economics as we know it. He is hardly mentioned today compared to John Maynard Keynes.
Keynes' philosophy has some merit, although it may apply provided the swing to a depression is not so far that government action is useless. Even FDR's policies under Keynes resulted in a secondary depression in 1937. For the longer approach, we need to look to Adam Smith, who championed low taxes and fewer regulations with an intelligent use of government controls to prevent "cheating."
The approach must be to increase the wealth of the nation and wealth per capita. Taking money from the "rich" and giving it to the "poor" does not and cannot increase national wealth. It is like switching your money from your right pocket to your left pocket and being just as poor.
Charles E. Mac Neill, Crystal River
Florida's priorities for the new president Jan. 18, editorial
A new mission for NASA
The listed priorities are pretty much no-brainers, except I'd like to suggest that NASA be reconfigured to more realistically reflect our needs: modern air traffic controls, automotive battery technology, photovoltaics, etc. Those engineers could stay on the payroll but solve some of our pressing problems at the same time.
Internet sales tax seems to be a favorite of one or more of the Times editors, but the other side of the coin is that an Internet sales tax would shut down many very small businesses nationwide and lead to a new tax-collector bureaucracy. Internet buyers generally have to pay shipping, which is usually more than sales tax. The two combined would kill many sales. Further, those, like me, who live in the sticks, would have to spend much more time and gas to find many of the items we buy over the Net that just aren't available locally.
Walter Roberts, Inverness
Troubling choice for Treasury | Jan. 19, editorial
Geithner should go
I am so very disappointed. I have been a staunch supporter of Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency.
The disappointment is from the lack of candor and lack of an immediate resignation by the nominee for treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner.
He alone should take responsibility for the nonpayment of his taxes. Surely everyone makes mistakes, but considering both his past and future positions, he should take responsibility and decline the nomination.
Please don't let us start this hopeful new administration with this impossible situation.
Evelyn Osterweil, Tampa
Tears and cheers at Obama concert | Jan. 19
A dream omitted
This story stated that U2's Bono "injected the only seemingly unrehearsed political note" into Sunday's inaugural festivities. The story reported that "Bono said Obama's election represented 'the American dream, the European dream, the Asian dream, the African dream and the Palestinian dream.' "
What you failed to mention was that Bono also included "the Israeli dream" in his quote. If you are going to micro-study the Barack Obama presidency, at least be truthful in your reporting.
Daniel Spencer, Clearwater