Optimistic report on Obamacare | Feb. 6, editorial
Discouraging work isn't positive
It takes a lot of spin to make the loss of 2.5 million full-time equivalent workers into something positive. The positive, allegedly, is that people now have a choice of working fewer hours. Should the Affordable Care Act be about allowing or coercing people to work fewer hours?
The Times has also pointed out the perils of the widening wealth gap between the poor and the top 1 percent. Under the Affordable Care Act, if lower-income people are working fewer hours, they will have a smaller income. The wealthy will still be wealthy. How will this not widen the gap?
People should be encouraged to work as hard as they can and want to. The CBO report says that, even if I can, perhaps I won't want to since the added income will be offset by unsubsidized health care. How is it good to give people a disincentive to work as hard as they can?
David Hagan, Tampa
Obamacare's toll on jobs | Feb. 5
Emancipation of workers
This front-page article gives a narrow picture of what the real impact of Obamacare will be for workers and corporations going forward. The real story is that this is probably the largest emancipation act since 1863. The Congressional Budget Office report suggests the workforce will shrink by an equivalent of more than 2 million, but what is the CBO measuring? It is measuring the millions of people who will quit jobs or reduce working at jobs they hate, that suck the life out of them, that offer little in the realm of psychic value but that carry insurance. For decades employees have been enslaved by the need for insurance for themselves and families offered by companies. We all know someone who works at a job he or she hates but does it for the insurance it provides.
Now they are free — free to choose to labor at what they love, to be entrepreneurial, independent and creative. Employees have just gotten a major win in the battle for a workplace that serves the needs of employees as well as corporations. The option for people to get health care other than at work opens up a huge opportunity. These people are not necessarily gone from the workplace. They will probably be working even more hours but they will be doing something they love and that provides more than just a paycheck and insurance. It's a win-win.
Deborah Talbot, Tampa
Action, not excuses, on flood fix | Feb. 7, editorial
Fighting for a fix
I could not agree more with the headline of your editorial, but the content is, at best, misleading. The truth is simple: There have been no votes on flood insurance in the U.S. House of Representatives this past week. Therefore, unfortunately, no members of the delegation have had an opportunity to cast a vote in favor of reform. To say otherwise is to perpetuate a cheap political ploy designed to insert partisanship and politics into this important matter.
You are correct that Floridians deserve action, which is exactly why fixing the flood insurance problem has been my top priority. I have been working tirelessly to address the flood insurance crisis facing my constituents. I remain committed to finding a long-term solution, such as the one I proposed in my legislation, and I am supportive of all serious attempts to pass a short-term delay because my constituents deserve immediate relief. In addition to a legislative fix, I have held FEMA accountable for their poor implementation, bringing them to my district for a town hall meeting and following up with FEMA's actuarial staff to address rate calculation concerns.
My constituents cannot afford for Congress to kick the can down the road on this time-sensitive issue. Additionally, petty parliamentary gimmicks that only serve to generate distracting headlines instead of solutions are not helpful during this difficult time. My constituents deserve timely action and thoughtful attempts to solve this very real problem.
Based on my discussions with House leadership, I remain hopeful and confident that we will be able to solve this problem in a timely manner. My constituents can be assured that I will not rest until we do.
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor
FEMA required to delay some flood rate hikes | Feb. 7
No relief in sight
So Congress delayed higher premiums until 2015, for temporary relief and to work on a more reasonable solution.
If you bought your home in October 2012, for example, this was before anyone knew about the Biggert-Waters Act. Neither Realtors, insurance agents nor mortgage brokers mentioned it when a home was purchased during this time period.
Yet the flood rates went from $900 to $9,000 and have already taken effect. They are not talking about "those" people. They don't count. It only works for people who bought their home more recently when they knew about the steep increase. They get the relief; we don't. Do they have any idea what they are doing up there?
Diana Legore, Treasure Island
Here's another slant on cursive writing Feb. 7, Daniel Ruth column
Never goes out of style
Being of the same vintage as Daniel Ruth, I agree with his support for the reintroduction of teaching cursive. Here are two more reasons.
People who become interested in their family history are now greatly aided by online sources of data. Nonetheless, many documents they look up online are public records of birth, death and military service which, up through the 1950s, were often handwritten by employees utilizing cursive.
Another area where knowledge of cursive will continue to be important lies with young folks who mature into authors of history or biography where much data comes from diaries, journals and preserved letters.
Where would Stephen Ambrose and others have been were it not for such items as the letters between Adams and Jefferson and/or letters from husbands and sons writing loved ones at home during times of war?
Thomas F. Fredrick, Port Richey
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