Obama touts stimulus plan | Dec. 7, story
Corporate tax cut would be real stimulus
Digging tunnels and shoring up bridges — is that really the best that Larry Summers and the Obama dream team can come up with? These are not the jobs that Americans are hoping for, even though the image warms the breasts of Democrats pining for another WPA.
Americans want the kind of jobs they have enjoyed for the last eight years — and the Obama plan will do nothing to make that happen. And telling the states that they must "use it or lose it" — surely we all recognize that is an invitation to waste, mismanagement and corruption.
The most direct way to restore those jobs, and make more of them possible, is to cut the costs of American companies, who employ these workers. And the fastest way to do that is to slash, or eliminate, the corporate income tax. Immediately, the cost of every product and service generated in America would be drastically reduced, with two major effects: Prices will drop, so consumers are encouraged to buy; and profits will be restored, so companies are motivated to invest and hire.
President-elect Barack Obama ran on a campaign of "postpartisan" government. Surely he should recognize that it is time to move beyond the historic Democratic oxymoron of: "We love employment, but we hate employers."
Barry Augenbraun, St. Petersburg
Daschle adopts new strategy on health care Dec. 7, story
Let Medicare cover everyone
President-elect Barack Obama and his team are asking the public for some input on national health insurance. Well, I have some simple suggestions for him and this new administration. Put the entire nation on Medicare. It has been in operation since 1965 and seems to be working well for our senior citizens.
Those who have their own private insurance should keep it as a supplement, which I am sure will have drastically reduced premiums.
The average administrative costs for Medicare is approximately 2 percent. The average administrative costs for the private insurance companies has been between 15 percent and 20 percent. The savings in premium costs would range over $100-billion by conservative estimates. Use it to cover those who cannot afford to pay the premiums. This would be a good start. Call it what you want if they do not want to use the word Medicare.
Jack Levine, Palm Harbor
Aetna, BayCare near breakup over contract Dec. 4, story
If this lack of caring for one's customers does not drive home the message, nothing will. Money is the motivating force, and our health care takes a back seat to financial gain. Thousands of Aetna customers will need stress and mental health counseling after BayCare and Aetna finish up with their maneuvering. It's enough to make you sick. I hope Aetna's benefits cover postinsurance stress syndrome.
Aetna, you're making a great argument for universal health care. This seems to be business as usual for health carriers. We keep paying the bills as insurance companies get richer. This looks like a people's class-action suit ready to happen. My advice is, "Take two aspirin and call another company in the morning."
Bill Coleman, Dunedin
There should never be a time when a lack of information is all that stands between us and getting the health care we need, but as Medicare enrollment season has begun again this year, nearly 5-million Americans eligible for Medicare prescription drug benefits have not signed up. In Florida, 14 percent of your friends and neighbors have not enrolled. That's nearly 440,000 people who continue to make unnecessary choices about their health care at a time when the cost of food, energy and transportation has increased dramatically over the last year.
Medicare Today, a national coalition of more than 400 organizations representing seniors, patients, health care groups and others is reminding seniors to take advantage of the enrollment period that ends Dec. 31. If you discover family or friends are already enrolled, encourage them to take this opportunity to review their existing plans, compare alternatives and make sure they have selected the option that best suits their needs. Our health needs change as we age, which means our prescription drug needs change, too.
There is never a time when people should have to choose between their prescription drugs and filling their gas tank or heating their home. Visit www.MedicareToday.org to learn what you can do to help those in need.
Mary R. Grealy, president, Healthcare Leadership Council, Washington, D.C.
Qualified regret | Dec. 6, Los Angeles Times editorial
So President Bush is now saying that the biggest regret of his presidency is the "intelligence failure in Iraq." How does it happen that millions of Americans including me knew very well that what we were told about WMD wasn't true, but the intelligence in Washington didn't know? The answer is that of course they knew.
George W. Bush had his mind made up that he wanted a war and he coerced everyone else around him to support reasons — which changed from day to day — to make sure he got his war. Remember how he wanted to be a "war president," thinking that that would bring him glory? Perhaps he thought that was how he would go down in history.
Well, he will go down in history as the great despoiler of so much that is good in the United States. Perhaps we can learn from history. If so, the lesson here is never again for the American people to choose as president a man who lacks intelligence, introspection and just plain common sense.
Lucy Fuchs, Brandon
Qualified regret | Dec. 6, Los Angeles Times editorial
Liberals keep repeating that Iraq was a mistake till they probably believe it, but there are many of us who believe otherwise. We had attacks on ships, planes, embassies and individuals on a regular basis before Iraq was invaded. Also thousands of terrorist killers and their supporters are no longer a threat to our families and loved ones.
What were we supposed to do, appear to be too cowardly to fight and encourage more attacks? If we had maintained a stronger image to the world there would most likely have never been a 9/11.
I believe it was a case of a lapdog showing off by attacking the peaceful Alaskan husky because they believed the risks to be minimal. I'm very glad they were wrong and I believe our actions saved many American lives. Many thinking people strongly disagree that the Iraq invasion was a mistake and believe it will go down in history as one of the most effective military actions our government has ever undertaken. Our government and military did what they were supposed to: protect America.
Gerald Doty, St. Petersburg