Government vs. business
Government's job is to protect citizens
Regardless of your political orientation, it is hard to argue with the proposition that the main reason for government is to protect the members of a society against the greed of their neighbors. Simply put, government exists because we are not content to live in a "survival of the fittest" jungle. Government protects each of us against those who are stronger, cleverer, greedier or simply meaner than we are.
The function of a business is exactly the opposite. It is to accumulate wealth either by creating it or taking it from others through trade. A business survives, in large part, by being bigger, richer, smarter or more ruthless than its competitors. It will resist any limit on those impulses that contribute to its own success.
That is why, when politicians brag that they can "run the government like a business," we should all beware. They are saying, in essence, that they can return us to the law of the jungle — the so-called state of nature, in which, as Thomas Hobbes observed, our lives would be "nasty, brutish, and short."
Gregg Niemi, Tampa
Historical amnesiacs | April 8, Daniel Ruth column
Confederate veterans are entitled to respect
Confederate veterans were afforded status equal to that of any other U.S. veterans by an act approved by Congress in 1958 and signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower, paving the way for national monuments to Confederate soldiers and appropriate memorial services at their graves in both public and private cemeteries. It is just as "American" to hold a service at a Confederate soldier's grave or place a wreath at a Confederate monument on Memorial Day as it is to do so for any other soldier who fought for "America."
From the late 1800s through the middle of the 20th century, the Confederate dead were duly honored whether they died in the war or long years after the guns fell silent. In fact, a period of true reconciliation and reunion arose during that time in which old soldiers in blue and gray dined together on the field at Gettysburg and Southern heritage and heroes were embraced and celebrated. But that period of harmony has been replaced by a new historical methodology — revisionist in nature and Marxist in cant — stirring up once again the sectional hatreds that had been previously laid to rest. Now, all things Confederate are considered worthy only of oblivion.
The men who died in defense of their homes against a foreign invader did not forfeit the right to civilized treatment when they chose to make that sacrifice, win or lose. If we are going to honor the victor because he fought honorably in what he believed to be a noble cause, then we can do no less for the vanquished who fought with equal honor for what he saw as a noble cause. To judge the past by the present is to abandon reason.
Michael Herring, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Brandon
Driven out by high costs
I am a lifelong resident of Florida. Unfortunately, I may soon be among those considering leaving the state.
Recently, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. got the green light to increase already sky-high windstorm insurance rates by 25 percent. Last week, shocked at my recent auto insurance bill (double what it was four years ago), I was advised that, while my driving record is spotless, the "simple" reason is, "You live in Florida."
Then I received a notice from AARP that I should contact my legislators regarding a bill in the Legislature to allow phone companies, at will, to increase land line phone rates. I contacted them. Not solely to protest, but also to advise them I probably won't be voting for them again: Retired and on a fixed income, I just can't afford to live here anymore.
Probably our government's biggest crime in my 68 years in the Sunshine State is allowing developers to pave over the peninsula. But behind that asphalt cloud, there is a silver lining: a quick and easy way out of here.
Duke Miller, Anna Maria
Gov. Rick Scott
I abstained from voting in the last gubernatorial election, but Florida is broke and can't print money like the feds, so painful cuts have to be made.
Public employees are a part of the budget. Along with cuts in many budget items, public-sector employees are called on to sacrifice as many private employees have had to. Jobs, economic growth and increased tax revenue come from private employers who look at every expense before hiring new employees. Higher taxes and burdensome regulations are expenses that retard job creation.
For the sake of our state's financial health and for the sake of workers, blue- and white-collar alike, don't we want Gov. Rick Scott to succeed in balancing our budget, without raising taxes, and thereby creating job growth?
Kerry H. Brown, St. Petersburg
Condition of statehood
Fair-minded Americans will oppose any recognition of a Palestinian state which does not even recognize Israel and the historic connection of the Jewish people to Israel.
Norman N. Gross, Tampa
GOP leaders push unions hard | April 14
Watch corporate money
If unions are required to obtain permission each year to spend their dues for political activity, wouldn't the same logic follow that corporations ask permission each year from their stockholders (owners) to spend their dividends for political activity? Or is the GOP's supposed goal of "less government" a poorly disguised sham of majority-rules politics?
David Sutherland, Spring Hill
Deputy whip loses GOP job after vote April 14
Price of principles
State Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, was stripped of his deputy majority whip position by state Republican Party leaders. His offense? A day earlier he had voted to retain state funding for cancer research, against the party line. In other words, Grant did not "support the team position."
So there we have it. The party of Abraham Lincoln, at least in Florida, does not respect a fellow Republican voting his own mind and his own heart or representing his own district.
Fred Jacobsen, Apollo Beach