Invasive, expensive, wrong | Sept. 12, editorial
It's welfare system that's wrong
If testing is not required, then the welfare system is invasive, expensive and wrong — but not to the recipients, to the taxpayers.
If someone I care for is unable to work and provide for his family, and he asks for my assistance, my answer would be "no" if he were taking drugs or any other illegal substance. This would not help his family, and I would be wasting my money. So why can't I and other taxpayers expect our tax dollars to be treated with the same vigilance?
This is not about Big Brother. It is about all of the other people who are working hard and paying taxes and trying to put food on their own tables. We are asking the government to assure us that the money is going to help those in greater need.
Caroline Mortell, St. Petersburg
Tea party debate
A new political low
Just when I thought we as a country could not go any lower, the tea party discovered a new low. At Monday's debate the tea party mob cheered and applauded when it was proposed that a 30-year-old man without medical insurance be allowed to die as opposed to having the surgery performed. What a despicable, nauseating and frightening display. The tea party movement needs to be stopped.
Spencer Blank, Ocala
Tax reform is essential
After watching the Republican debates this week, I have come up with my own plan for tax reform.
First, double the taxes for every company that has outsourced its jobs. This would serve a double purpose, in that those jobs would probably come back into the country and put our people to work.
Second, I would tax all advertising. Right now companies are getting a free ride since it is an expense, and expenses are deductible.
James Bardsley, St. Petersburg
Public sector favoritism
I couldn't help but notice that those standing next to and behind President Barack Obama as he spoke of his newly proposed jobs bill were all from the public sector. Teachers, firefighters, police, and sundry local, state and federal workers. Nary a private-sector worker could be seen.
Could there be any more evidence showing where the president's allegiance is? Public union jobs paid for by the American taxpayers are the hallmark of this presidency.
Earl A. Myers Jr., Tampa
On roadsides, too many reminders of lives lost | Sept. 13
Signs are distracting
If memorial sticks were placed on the roadside for every death caused by an accident, our roadsides would become a littered mess and indeed, an eyesore. It could also be a distraction, as we may turn our head and eyes away from the road — which in turn may cause an accident.
I'm not sure when roadside memorials became popular, but I for one have never been an advocate. If folks want their loved ones to be memorialized, my suggestion would be to do so in a cemetery or in the yard. Roadsides and roadways are for the living. And, besides, there are already enough distractions to divert our attention as we are driving. We don't need any more.
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater
School payouts persist | Sept. 12
Incentives part of the deal
Why is it that the tea party and conservative Republicans, who believe so strongly in free-market economics, are so opposed to public employees receiving incentives as part of their pay package? It happens all the time in the private sector.
I understand that the funds for these incentives are tax dollars. I pay taxes the same as anyone else. However, I would like to send my child to a school where the teachers are highly qualified, capable and excited to help unlock my child's potential. One way to get these highly qualified individuals is to offer incentives, especially since the base pay being offered, on average, is far less than a private-sector job requiring similar education and experience.
Joel Melvin, Clearwater
Cultural education key in our global economy | Sept. 6, commentary
Culture can transform
Professor Scott Nygren's brainy call to reconceive cultural education could not be more timely. Nygren writes that the key to success in our globalized knowledge economy is skill sets from both science and cultural contexts such as journalism or the ability to write an essay. I can think of two contemporary exhibits to support Nygren's thesis.
A recent This Week on ABC featured an interview with the cousin of accused 2009 Fort Hood, Texas, gunman. The takeaway from the segment was a nascent willingness of American Muslims to step up, embrace patriotism comfortably and publicly disavow the political ideology behind Islamist violence. A war-wounded journalist, Bob Woodruff, collaborated in this emerging cultural transformation.
In economics, the recent essay by Yuval Levin, "Beyond the Welfare State," outlines a convincing and principled argument in favor of democratic capitalism over statism. Anyone reading the essay might see a reasonable solution to an intractable social problem — joblessness. Levin and Woodruff are Exhibits A and B underscoring Nygren's confidence in cultural education.
Gary Harrington, St. Petersburg
Guarding rights, fighting terror | Sept. 12, commentary
Graveyard of empires
If we want to guarantee women's rights in Afghanistan, we would have to remain in Afghanistan indefinitely. Afghanistan is a violent tribal society with social rules which are extremely difficult to understand, let alone modify. Given our serious domestic economic problems, we cannot allow Afghanistan to continue to bleed us.
The 2001 government of Afghanistan provided a base for terrorists. We needed to invade Afghanistan to destroy this base. We had to remove and preferably kill those leaders who supported terrorists. We did not need to build Afghanistan into a Western-style democracy.
Sorry about the women of Afghanistan. But Afghanistan is where empires go to die. No one has ever been able to transform Afghanistan — not the British, not the Soviets and now not us.
Arthur Volbert, St. Petersburg