Citizens draws fire at hearing | Sept. 21
Insurer's goal is becoming clear
It becomes more obvious with each new revelation about Citizens Property Insurance that the people running it and the people who run them have a clear goal: to weaken Citizens in order to force policyholders out of Citizens and back into private market policies. Insurance companies don't like risk; they only like a sure thing. Citizens is systematically raising rates for the benefit of the insurance companies that now want back into Florida after thumbing their collective noses at us five years ago.
I'd be willing to bet that in a few years CFO Sharon Binnum, cited in your article, and others at Citizens will be working for insurance companies once they have finished dismantling Citizens. The insurance industry has realized that it was a mistake to let us see the possibility that we could insure ourselves and thumb our noses at them.
Kyle Elliott, Bradenton
Straying from facts on fluoride Sept. 21 editorial
Lies and damned lies
Commissioner Neil Brickfield may, as you put it, have strayed from the facts in the case of fluoride in the drinking water.
It may have been inadvertent, and that is too bad.
But worse than inadvertent straying is outright distortion of facts and intentional misrepresentations. These are so common nowadays that my friend assures me that everybody understands not to take seriously book or theater reviews, that critics always spin the material to make the subject look better than it really is.
Distortions now referred to as "spins" may dress up the appearance, but when laid bare, the lying becomes evident. On the current political scene this seems to be the standard.
It is doubtful that the truth shall ever catch up.
Mortimer Brown, Lutz
He meant freeloaders like this | Sept. 21 letter
Painting with a broad brush
Reader John Masterston told the tale of a 51-year-old "ex-friend" who lives off a disability check while playing softball three nights a week, and cited him as "the people Mitt Romney is talking about."
First, while many of us may know a person like that, it is quite a leap to take isolated examples and equate them with 47 percent of the American people. Maybe one in 100 Americans, or two, are abusing the system, but 47 out of 100?
Second, as President Barack Obama recently said, while there is no doubt some people on the lower end of the income pool cheat, is there any doubt many people on the higher end cheat as well?
If there is, there shouldn't be. Just look at the facts. Under the Obama administration, the IRS enacted two programs, in 2009 and 2011, allowing tax cheats to declare their assets overseas, pay back taxes, interest and reduced penalties, and avoid jail time. As reported in the Christian Science Monitor in September 2011, between the two disclosure programs, a total of 30,000 tax cheats have come clean, paying $2.9 billion in back taxes — an average of almost $100,000 per cheater. These 30,000 people are far more likely to be the Mitt Romneys of the world than 51-year-old "ex-friends" living off disability.
The point is this: There are people who seek to take advantage of the system, and they are to be condemned for their lack of patriotism, whether they are rich or poor. But to accuse 47 percent of the American people, especially the working poor, those struggling to remain in the middle class and senior citizens, of being moochers who are unwilling to take personal responsibility for their lives? Goodness. That is both deeply offensive and completely wrong.
Tal J. Zlotnitsky, Trinity
Reactions from some 47-percenters | Sept. 21
An illogical view
I found some of the interviews in Hillsborough County by the so-called 47-percenters baffling. One elderly woman said she collects a pension paid by the government for her dead husband who retired from the military. She also stated she collects Social Security and is on Medicare. Then she said she is voting for Republican Mitt Romney because she is antigovernment. This defies logic and reason.
Jack Levine, Palm Harbor
Romney embraces 'the 100 percent' Sept. 20
Good government dollars
The difference between the price of consumption and the cost of production is profit. Hence any programs that raise consumption, such as food stamps and other entitlements, are profit boosters.
As mass production reduces unit cost, a moderate governmental largesse to the needy yields a sustainable maximum profit. Economic logic negates Romney's 47 percent remark. It seems that the would-be emperor marches without clothes.
Samuel Rothschild, St. Petersburg
Women's sports coverage
Don't they merit front page?
Almost every day if I go to the front page of the sports section of your newspaper I read about the Bucs, the Lightning, college football, what Tiger Woods did or didn't do. The next few pages, more of the same. I'm interested in finding out how my favorite female golfer, volleyball team or the WNBA fared the previous evening. How about just one article on the front page of the sports section once a week to show you are an "equal opportunity" newspaper?
John Osterweil, Tampa
Good outcomes | Sept. 20
Hospital gave great care
Buried on the interior pages of your paper was a story on two of HCA's Pinellas County hospitals being named top performers on measures linked to positive patient outcomes — despite all of the bashing the Tampa Bay Times has done of these "for profit" monsters. I'm not surprised. I suffered a heart attack and was treated at Northside Hospital & Heart Institute. From the emergency room to the operating room and postsurgery care, I had wonderful care from doctors, nurses and support staff.
Richard Carey, St. Petersburg
Nothing but a form letter
I wrote my U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis and asked if he would sign a pledge to not take a job as a lobbyist if he is not re-elected or leaves office voluntarily. He sent me a form letter thanking me for my thoughts without referencing the question. Perhaps we need to pay members of Congress millions a year to stop them from the lobbying lure. Or, more people could write and ask the same sort of questions.
Brian Marc Schatz, Tampa