Health cost is the problem | May 6, letter
Use tax money for greater good
This letter writer's assertion that Obamacare is equated with "bloated bureaucracies, rationed care and long waiting times for life-saving procedures" is simply not based in fact. It is the old argument and scare tactic that the uninformed have been taught to associate with all agencies run by the government. It is a ploy used by those who resent the use of taxpayer (read, their) money for services for the less fortunate among us.
Recent studies have pointed out that Medicare gets more "bang for its buck" than private institutions and that the Scandinavian countries, which provide cradle-to-grave health care for their citizens, have far better health statistics than the United States.
Let's stop denigrating everything the government runs and realistically look at the facts and figures. The mortgage companies, the banks, the insurance companies and the energy companies are just a few of the private industry giants responsible for the recession we've experienced.
Using taxpayer money for the good of society as a whole should be welcomed by our citizens. And by the way, the next time we are at war it's my hope that the antigovernment naysayers don't want to have our armed forces in the hands of private industry that they so admire.
Coralie Lang, Tampa
Phosphate study faulted | May 6
I'm glad to hear that "mitigation" might minimize the effects of scraping the top 100 feet off the forests, fields and streams of Central Florida. That's like your neighbor bulldozing your grandmother's house so he can build a new garage. Don't worry about the family home, the antiques or the memories, because when it's over he'll hit a few yard sales for old furniture, put a blue tarp on the roof and leave a pallet of sod near where the garden used to be. That's "mitigation" as we've known it.
It is possible to responsively mine phosphate, but staying away from water sources limits acreage, and paying for real mitigation is expensive. Any new permits should be extensively and publicly reviewed. Once the phosphate runs out, the mining companies will be gone, but my grandchildren, and their grandchildren, will be in Florida forever.
Rich Brown, Tampa
Boon for the wealthy
The proposed U.S. Senate immigration reform will provide another "quantum leap" in the decadeslong process of wealth redistribution from the legal U.S. middle class to ultrawealthy individuals and corporations. These corporations will continue to simply replace good-paying working-class jobs with benefits, performed by U.S. citizens, with jobs performed by foreign nationals who will work for substantially less pay.
There will be no escape from this exploitation as even U.S. citizens who have obtained professional licensure will be replaced by foreign nationals via an influx of a large number of new H-1B visas. This is because a professionally licensed foreign national is paid at a much lower rate than the reasonable rate earned by a similarly licensed U.S. citizen.
The anemic net-new-job-growth U.S. economy can ill afford this "reform" as far as legal U.S. citizens go. However, ultrawealthy individuals and corporations will continue to employ the graft of big money in political campaigns to "pay off" the Republican Party (almost) as a whole and some Democrats. This is a practice serving as a catalyst in the continued redistribution of wealth — wealth flying out of the hands of the vast majority of U.S. citizens and into the hands of those who have bought the actions of way too many politicians in Washington.
John I. Campo, Tampa
Overcome school discipline hurdles May 7, editorial
Discipline, not suspension
Your editorial on school suspensions was right on target. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a report asking school districts to avoid out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, due to many adverse effects they have on a child.
"The adverse effect of out-of-school suspension and expulsion on the student can be profound," the experts write in the journal Pediatrics.
According to the report, students who are suspended or expelled from school can potentially be left unattended, which in turn can lead to negative or even criminal behaviors. Furthermore, students who are subject to multiple suspensions are more likely to drop out of school.
Unfortunately, suspensions are used as an alternative to discipline. It is expedient to simply punish a child by removal rather than trying to help the student understand and deal with the causes of misbehavior. Discipline is more time-consuming and places additional demands on teachers and administrators that they would prefer to avoid.
There is ample evidence that behavior management strategies that focus on discipline rather than simple punishments have sharply reduced suspensions and have changed the culture of a school.
Richard C. Horowitz, Palm Harbor
The danger remains
An officer on patrol spots a driver texting. The driver is within the speed limit and he is not driving recklessly. His license tag is up to date, and he's wearing his seat belt. The officer follows, looking for any infraction that would warrant a stop. But there's nothing … until a mile down the road, when the officer's perseverance is rewarded.
The driver, still texting, runs a red light, causes a deadly crash and makes another statistic for an ineffective and useless law that makes texting while driving a secondary offense.
Jim Nuhn, Gulfport
Dear Rick Scott: You're the governor May 7, Daniel Ruth column
I thoroughly enjoyed Daniel Ruth's column. I must admit though, after reading it I became quite confused. I couldn't tell if he was writing about Rick Scott or Barack Obama.
John Waitman, Palm Harbor