Stimulus must start with job creation
The first focus of a stimulus bill should be to save current jobs, restore lost jobs and create new jobs quickly. A $15,000 tax credit on a home purchase does nothing for the 3.6 million people without a job. No bank will lend money for a home or auto purchase to a person without a job. People who still have a job will not buy a home or an auto when they fear losing their job.
Investment in infrastructure, renewable energy technology and a smart grid system will provide immediate employment across many skill levels and fields, as well as provide long-term financial benefits to both government and the private sector.
Fiscal relief to state and local governments will allow communities in every state to restore much-needed services by rehiring teachers, librarians, park employees, clerks, firefighters and police officers. When those folks have a paycheck, they will go to stores and buy things, so stores can rehire sales clerks, stockers and janitors. Stores will order more goods, so wholesalers can rehire shipping clerks, warehouse workers and truck drivers. Wholesalers will order more goods from manufacturers, who will rehire workers, and so on throughout the economy.
Prosperity starts with production. Like fertilizer and water to a plant, the stimulus needs to be applied to the roots of the recession, so the economy can grow from a healthy base, flower and produce the seeds of recovery. Give us the tax breaks next year, when we all have a job and can think about buying a car or a home.
Sharon Kane, Clearwater
Senate deals on stimulus | Feb. 7, analysis
Don't gloss over the waste in stimulus
There are a lot of us who would like to see your articles just plainly written with facts, not your biased slant. For instance, in this story you constantly make it seem that Republicans who voted against the stimulus package were negative while Democrats were "for the people." You used phrases like "Republican obstructionism," "conservative critics," "Republican sniping," and "too easy for Republicans … to distract people."
Actually, what the Republicans were doing was trying to cut the needless waste built into the package by liberal Democrats, thus saving the people billions of dollars. Your article described some of the waste the Republicans were "sniping" at, but if the American public saw how much was actually "pork," they would be appalled.
Personally, I'm glad some people in Washington still care about those of us who pay the bills they create.
Donald Light, Dunedin
Aim aid at the people
Bailouts are just that: bailing out (with tax dollars) companies that have mismanaged themselves into bankruptcy. The idea that any corporation is "too big to fail" is nonsense: Let them go into bankruptcy like everyone else. They'll either emerge leaner and smarter, or die a natural death like the rest of us.
Stimulus packages are a fine idea — depending upon who's being stimulated. We've stimulated corporations and the wealthy for years, and now we're seeing the results. Those needing stimulating are those without jobs; the first massive infusion of tax dollars should go to the states to renew unemployment benefits so that citizens' basic needs — housing, food and transportation — can be met.
After that should come stabilization of the mortgage market, and that doesn't mean bailing out rapacious lenders. It means giving a lifeline to overextended home buyers by subsidizing borrowers within limits tightly restricted to affordable housing.
Scott Mock, St. Petersburg
In crisis, no time for quibbling | Feb. 7, editorial
No need for haste
Your editorial supporting speedy approval of the "stimulus package" tells us two things: You will eagerly drink the big government Kool-Aid, and you have mastered the cliches du jour, including "change," "a crisis could become a catastrophe," and "the perfect cannot be the enemy of the good."
What you fail to grasp is that the vast majority of this pork package will be doled out in years to come, not weeks or months. Approving the plan in late February or March will cause no greater harm to our economy; but it would give Congress, which is meant to be a deliberative body, a chance to deliberate.
Suspicion arises when arbitrary deadlines are imposed on weighty decisions. Here is another cliche to consider: "Haste is the enemy of prudence."
John Carlson, St. Petersburg
Let me get this straight. Banks and other lending institutions have already received $350 billion and are about to get a second mega-bailout. The first bailout did not result in more loans to spur the economy. Will the second mega-bailout result in this?
Can anyone tell me how the multitude of homeowners facing foreclosure will benefit from these bailouts of the lenders? Are these bailouts going to help prevent more foreclosures?
Why didn't we let the free market determine the success of the banks? It's apparent that some banks need to fail. The FDIC is already in place to protect deposits up to $250,000 so the customers are protected. If this protection isn't enough, then the bailout should go to increase this insurance.
The government is stepping in to save inferior banks that will still be in the position to confiscate houses that go into foreclosure. The "homeowner" will not only pay for this by losing a house, their tax bill will increase due to this bailout of the bank taking the house away.
Rand Moorhead, St. Petersburg
Consider illegal immigrants
It seems during our financial crisis, illegal immigration has taken a backseat. Prior to the election, and certainly during the last two years, it was a hot topic for both parties. During a time when local, state and federal governments are having tremendous shortfalls in funding for social programs, little is being done to remedy the drain put on these agencies by noncitizens. Certainly education, health and welfare are being strained along with the penal system.
With unemployment rising, millions of people infused into the job market cannot be overlooked as part of the problem. I have seen no effort to address this situation while passing out the billions in bailouts and stimulus. While perhaps not the priority, it should still be a major concern.
Don Niemann, Seminole
The real jobless rate
Every day we either read or hear that the present unemployment rate is a specific percentage "to the decimal." The number now is 7.6 percent, and most Americans believe that is the actual rate.
Unfortunately, that number is not correct, because it only lists the percentage of people who are currently on the unemployment rolls collecting unemployment insurance funds.
There are millions of people over the last few years who already have collected unemloyment, used their entire benefit, and are no longer counted. These people need to be counted, because they remain unemployed.
This information the government gives to us is neither fair nor accurate. What is the real number? Is it more like 12-15 percent and does that really bring us closer to the scary "D" word, depression? We as Americans have a right to know the truth, regardless how good or bad it is.
Ron L. Garraffa, Odessa
The people of "Olde Hyde Park Village" should be reminded that the Gasparilla celebration has been a fixture in this city since before their area was a virtual slum.
If they bought into the area they must have seen at least one. Give me a break! We're talking one day a year. If they don't like it , let them move to Detroit or Cleveland or somewhere and leave our city alone.
Michael D. Mitchell, Tampa
Ethics and choice
As a prolifer I have my own issues with invitro fertilization, but I think this whole issue really shows that the "prochoice" side isn't about "choice" but only about aborting babies.
Why aren't they rallying behind this mom, saying how it's her body and her choice? And why is the medical board investigating the doctor who implanted 14 embryos into this woman? Would the same investigation occur if she had 14 abortions instead? No.
But if she had, the public would probably be just as concerned about her reproductive choices and the ethics of them. If it were 14 abortions as opposed to 14 invitro live births the "prochoice" side would be making a lot of noise saying it's her reproductive right!
Kathy Alexander Piscitelli, Clearwater