Immigration fix is key to growth
What's the biggest policy Congress might actually pass this year to help small businesses and grow the economy? It's a trick question with an answer you probably won't expect: immigration reform. Not a budget. Not a stimulus package. Not tax reform. Immigration.
Immigration reform, if we do it right, has the potential to create economy-boosting jobs, strengthen families, and boosts consumer demand on Main Street. What does "do it right" mean? It means reform with a road map to citizenship for immigrants who aspire to be American citizens.
Immigrants are more than twice as likely as U.S.-born citizens to start a small business. That means immigrants are making jobs — not taking them.
Two thirds of small business owners in a new poll support a road map to citizenship for current immigrants, including 2-1 support among Republicans. Reform with a road map to citizenship is estimated to add $1.5 trillion to U.S. GDP over 10 years. That's something politicians from all parties should be able to get behind.
Malik Aziz, Tampa
Scott to get Pro-Life Award | Oct. 2
It's not just about abortion
It is hard to think of anything more ludicrous than giving Gov. Rick Scott a prolife award — in between two executions and his refusing any federal help for the poor. Yes, he is against abortion, but that does not make him prolife. Prolife means to be for all life from conception until natural death.
Since Scott is supposedly so prolife, what has he been doing to make sure that poor women do not choose abortion because of the difficult financial situation he has put them in by denying them help?
Give that award to someone else.
Lucy Fuchs, Brandon
Welcome support for ending the shutdown Oct. 4, editorial
Conservative they're not
Your editorial about more moderate House Republicans such as Rep. C.W. Bill Young now being open to more pragmatism was on point. However, you and most of the media are not accurate in using the word "conservative" to describe the minority tea party extremists.
Their apparent willingness to bring the American economy to its knees, to use a government shutdown to invalidate a public law already upheld by the Supreme Court, and their irrational hatred of President Barack Obama hardly reflects the truly conservative American tradition of Eisenhower or even Reagan. Please use the word reactionary or extremist or even ultra-conservative to describe them.
Tony Branch, Madeira Beach
I have been reading the Times for over 50 years and increasingly see a bias against the Republican Party that violates journalistic objectivity and fairness. Your opinion pages assume that the Democratic Party leaders are faultless in our country's problems and the Republicans are obstructionist and extremists. How extreme is that rhetoric?
You have lost your balance by neglecting conservative opinion writers.
Patricia Jenkins, St. Petersburg
The partial government cutback is not really a government shutdown, and that is the problem. Because all of the essential parts of government basically remain intact, the partial shutdown is doing exactly what the extreme faction of the Republican Party wants — paring down government functions, which demonstrates that there really is no effect of less government because as we are seeing, life goes on.
However, if we had a true government shutdown — with a complete shutdown of the military, FAA, Homeland Security, FDA, Medicare, Social Security checks — everyone would quickly realize how essential government is and this political grandstanding would end in a matter of minutes.
Jim Hartnett, Tampa
Call the vote
I am appalled to realize today that the House has enough votes to pass a clean continuing resolution, but Speaker John Boehner will not bring it to a vote.
What could possibly justify not voting on a bill supported by a majority of the House, the Senate, and the president, as well as the American people? It is especially unpatriotic considering the huge harm and expense the shutdown causes.
The real patriots put the welfare of the country far above petty politics and appeasing wing-nut radicals.
Guy Hancock, Largo
United to halt flood of misery | Oct. 2
Lack of leadership
When Gov. Rick Scott expounds that it only takes leadership by President Barack Obama to end the government shutdown, and offers his "success" at working with the Legislature in Tallahassee as a model, I can only shake my head at the alternate universe in which he seems to live.
For most of his tenure, he has been pushing at an open door with the Legislature; in the one instance where he might have shown a modicum of leadership — Medicaid expansion — he was nowhere to be found.
James B. Bond, Valrico
Church, state, gridiron | Oct. 3, editorial
Prayer in private
I am curious about the agenda some public school coaches have that causes them to lead (require?) their athletes to pray before and after games. Is it a true sense of honoring God? The need to control all aspects of their athletes' lives? The belief that God might be persuaded to favor their teams? I do not know.
I do know that a Jewish carpenter once said, "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret, will reward you."
Dan A. Sparks, Redington Beach