Competition drives the economy
In a recent speech, President Barack Obama accused Republicans of advocating "economic Darwinism." I think he has unknowingly put his finger on the main difference between Republican economic ideas and his own.
Darwinism. Adapting. Getting stronger. Getting bigger. Growing. Surviving. Evolving. I'll take some of that.
Every business in America, whether it's the shop on Main Street or the large corporation, is engaged in economic Darwinism. If they aren't getting up every morning and working on improving their products and services, and reducing costs, they know their competitors are, and their survival is at stake. And who is the beneficiary of this intense competition? The consumers who vote for winners with their wallets. This competitive system has more than any other single characteristic accounted for American exceptionalism.
This is contrasted with President Obama's economic plan, which appears to be based on a redistribution of wealth.
Michael Green, St. Petersburg
Good for some, good for all
I'm an old woman, and Paul Ryan insults me when he tells me I don't need to worry about his plan to end Medicare as we know it because it won't affect me. If it's such a great plan and better for my country, why wouldn't I want it to affect me?
Furthermore, I'm outraged by the implication by any politician that when I vote my main concern might be whether I'll have to change doctors. For over 30 years, as an American military wife, I used a form of socialized medicine provided for our troops and their families: I felt fortunate to see the same medic twice. Yet I was the envy of most civilians for having this care.
Beverley J. Combs, St. Petersburg
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan spent last weekend talking about "restoring the promise of America" and "restoring America's greatness." Fantastic, I thought. Someone gets it. Someone finally sees that the Citizens United decision, the Patriot Act and the Guantanamo Bay prison are all concepts that are foreign to our American ideals and heritage. Someone finally sees that these types of policies are taking America the wrong way and need to be reversed to bring America back to greatness.
So are they pushing to let the Bush tax cuts expire and thus "restore" our tax rates to 1990s' levels, when our government deficit was shrinking and our economy was booming? Are they talking about "restoring" our privacy and civil liberties by repealing the Patriot Act? How about just restoring common sense by clearly stating that corporations are not people and money is not speech? No, the only "restoring" they seem to want is restoring the same ridiculous lawless environment that got us into this mess in the first place.
Lee Kasner, Tampa
A sense of entitlement
How ironic Mitt Romney has selected Rep. Paul Ryan as his choice to advocate an assault on the country's social aid programs. Ryan has served 13 years in a body that epitomizes a sense of entitlement — the right wing of the House of Representatives, which has flatly refused to do the country's business since President Barack Obama's inauguration (yet whose members have a better health care plan than 95 percent of the American populace).
Michael Henry, Bradenton
Your paper's headlines and the Democrats you support try to scare retired people like me with the thought that we will have our benefits cut by Paul Ryan's budget plan. That is "pants on fire" by your PolitiFact measure.
The goal, Ryan wrote in his budget's preface, is to modernize Medicare for "the realities of the new century." His aim is "not to retreat from the commitments made over the past eight decades, but to fulfill them." In short, to preserve retirement security and the social safety net.
The core problem is that open-ended Medicare buys services whose costs are rapidly increasing. It is a "defined benefit." Ryan wants to move to a "defined contribution," where seniors would get a fixed-dollar subsidy to buy private insurance. Seniors who desire more generous benefits would pay at the margin. This shift to "premium support" would change the incentives in health care and make medicine more accountable to patient choice.
Today, Medicare's arbitrary fee-for-service price controls pay the best hospitals and the worst hospitals equally, regardless of quality or value. Under premium support, networks of providers would be competing for consumers and become more efficient over time, instead of billing taxpayers for negative productivity.
Eugene Belote, Dunedin
Where's diversity in debates? | Aug. 14
Diversity not just skin deep
Please tell Eric Deggans that there is more to diversity than just skin color or gender. The scheduled moderators for the debates includes one left-of-center moderate (Jim Lehrer) and, arguably, three liberals. Where is the conservative or libertarian? True diversity would represent several different viewpoints regardless of the physical characteristics of the moderators.
Peter J. Dawson, St. Petersburg
Time for debate over; time to act Aug. 13, letter
Technology has answers
We can act now to reduce climate change by modifying our coal-burning power plants.
Instead of shutting down coal power plants like Big Bend, it may be possible to modify them so they will become our most important ally in the fight against global warming.
The Chinese are developing a fire-hot thorium-powered reactor that has the potential to replace the coal-burning boilers in mega-power plants like Big Bend. Big Bend's coal storage yard is large enough to accommodate high-capacity atmospheric carbon dioxide scrubbers. These temperature-swing gas separation scrubbers can use cheap, safe baking soda dissolved in water to draw carbon dioxide from the air for safe injection into the ground.
Using energy from the thorium reactors, the plant's extra nonpeak electricity can be used to power these scrubbers to remove carbon dioxide from the air.
If all the world's 1,200 mega-power plants are modified this way, it may be possible to remove all of global warming's carbon dioxide from the air in perhaps 50 years.
Jim Holm, PE, Sun City Center