Death of a fairy tale | April 30, commentary
Bringing down the debt is critical
Noted economist Paul Krugman states in regard to Europe that "austerity measures are not working." With Britain and Spain having gone into recession in the past week and the Dutch government collapsing in the past week over a budget crisis due to austerity measures, there is no doubt that there are troubling issues in Europe. Greece will vote Sunday, and it looks like antiausterity parties are gaining traction there.
The main issue that Krugman did not point out is that the Netherlands, Germany, Finland and Luxembourg have AAA credit ratings. My point is there is a high level of variability within the eurozone and Europe as a whole in regard to economic development and fiscal austerity. Krugman is a proponent of Keynesian economics, which is not a panacea for all economic ills.
Europe has taken a different path from the United States through austerity measures, tax increases and pension reform. In the United States, the impetus has been on various stimulus measures. The programs like TARP and Federal Reserve quantitative easing have worked to some degree. The problem is that many of these stimulus programs have grown the national debt. Standard & Poor's downgraded America's credit rating last year.
My suggestion is that the United States should engage in austerity measures to bring down the debt, which is unsustainable.
Patrick Dowd, Palm Harbor
Bin Laden raid presents challenge for Romney | May 2
Romney's lack of civility
I was appalled at Mitt Romney's inappropriate comment regarding the raid that culminated in the death of Osama bin Laden. When questioned as to whether he would have made the same decision as President Barack Obama, his response was: "Even Jimmy Carter would have made that decision."
This statement not only appears to make light of what was a critical executive judgment by Obama, but, further, is a clear and unwarranted assertion against a former president.
Such off-the-cuff statements are insulting to the office of the president, irrespective of the occupant, and continue to show the lack of civility we have learned to expect from Romney.
Thomas I. Hayes, St. Petersburg
Curbside recycling service fails | April 27
Focus on businesses
I am disappointed that WSI is not renewing its contract with St. Petersburg.
What struck me as odd was using residential subscriptions as a barometer for success of the city's recycling program.
Not to discount the need for all residents to do their part, but I feel there is a much larger target for the city and WSI to focus on: business.
Every day, businesses in St. Petersburg go through large amounts of paper, metal cans, glass bottles and plastics. If the city doesn't feel they want to force residents to recycle, why not make it mandatory for businesses? That would make a much larger impact and dramatically decrease the demand on the city's trash service.
Resources are not infinite. When are we going to realize that?
Christina Aikman, St. Petersburg
Florida delegates get remote digs | May 1
Let the donors foot the bill
The Florida Republican Party chairman is upset that the penalties imposed by the Republican National Committee are being enforced. The Republican-led state Legislature ignored warnings and broke the rules in scheduling the primary. No matter what the chairman states, the consequences were known in advance, and now he expects that they should be lifted for the Florida delegates so that they can enjoy the full benefits of the convention (a.k.a. the big party).
The Democratic and Republican conventions have degenerated into nothing but parties to reward and maybe energize the party faithful. There are no secrets about who will be the nominees, and the platforms are crafted by a tight inner circle of the faithful. The suspense of years past and the excitement of floor fights and smoke-filled-room shenanigans is long gone.
We must put up with these staged television events every four years. If the parties feel that this public performance is necessary, they should foot the entire bill for the event. No government funds from the national, state or local level should be used to subsidize these partisan parties.
Taxpayers, just at the national level, provide $100 million to provide "security" and other support. If the parties through PACs can collect millions of dollars for negative advertising, they should be able to totally fund their conventions from donors.
Dale Gottschalk, Hudson
For Florida GOP, a very humid Siberia May 1, Daniel Ruth column
Teach the kids a lesson
Daniel Ruth's long-winded rambling about the plight of the Florida delegation to the GOP convention getting "stuck" some 32 miles from the center of things is a sad commentary on our times. He seems to forget that this is deemed a punishment administered by the federal party organizers on our bully boys in Tallahassee who, having had their own way for too long, felt they could disobey longstanding rules on setting primary dates and get away with it.
As any parent, teacher or other authority figure will attest, adults cannot let children show such disrespect. When one sets rules, and clearly lays out the penalties for disobedience, offenders simply have no choice but to accept the consequences of their actions. It's time we replaced the Tallahassee "kids" with a more mature bunch who, just maybe, can understand this concept and will start to look out for the interests of the citizenry over their own cozy positions.
J.V. Spence, Largo
Edwards: I'll pay for welcome sign | May 2
The "omnipresent" Bill Edwards wants to donate $600,000 to the city of St. Petersburg to erect a 75-foot "welcoming tower." Meanwhile, the Tampa Epoch, the late Bill Sharpe's labor of love dedicated to giving the homeless a respectable way to make a living, struggles to make ends meet.
Of course, Edwards is free to spend his money as he pleases. But I, for one, did not expect to experience such extreme moral whiplash when I turned the pages of Wednesday's newspaper.
Elisabeth O'Sullivan, Tampa