E-mails disclose Solyndra concerns | Oct. 4
Solar scandal a sign of policy flaw
Solyndra is a metaphor for the Obama presidency: a huge investment by the American people based more on hope, hipness and hype than sense, stats and seriousness.
Just as alternative energy feels good and would certainly be great if it worked on the scale required, progressive economics and liberal politics succeed on emotion but cannot be sustained in the face of facts, figures and fiscal realities. Money seized by the government never has the opportunity to be risked (in hopes of obscene profit) and thus can never become tens of thousands of future jobs or the generator of countless tax receipts. No technocrat can supplant the market, which is like a force of nature.
I once had an old German boss tell me, "If wishes were horses, then beggars could ride." The left — hoping that everyone can ride and using the levers of government to make it so — will change us all into beggars before they figure out that horses aren't free and the liveryman's account must be settled. Witness the attempt to make everyone a homeowner; it was the detonator on the subprime mortgage bomb that blew up the country.
The market, like water, finds its level, and artificially lifting one end only lowers the other. Frightening everyone who signs the front of a paycheck is folly for those of us who sign the back of one … or would like to again someday. The left sells the oasis but seems only ever able to deliver the mirage.
I don't think the American people are ready to double down on our singular bad investment after experiencing the actual return on it.
Dwayne Keith, Valrico
Health debate pits liberty versus costs | Oct. 5, commentary
Put an end to freeloading
The GOP and tea party repeat their mantra that they want a smaller, less intrusive government and lower taxes. They vow to repeal the Affordable Care Act because it contains a "mandate" that all the uninsured must buy a health insurance policy, which would restrict their individual freedom.
The problem is that the current "mandate" requires that all uninsured are entitled to health care at hospitals, which we are told adds about $1,000 to the cost of every existing health insurance policy. Call that "mandate" what you will, the add-on is a tax on everyone that buys health insurance, to their detriment, and benefits all those who don't.
Surely, there are millions like me who don't want to pay that tax anymore. The government will be less intrusive on our individual freedom when that hospital "mandate" is replaced with Obamacare — the sooner the better.
H. B. Gonzalez, Tampa
Protest reaches Tampa | Oct. 7
Hold banks accountable
I was driving down the Selmon Expressway last week and noticed that every tall building in downtown Tampa bore the name of a major bank. It is time to wake up and recognize that these very banks are the root cause of our economic malaise and record high unemployment.
They caused a fiscal meltdown in our country; we the taxpayers bailed them out; and their executives are now pocketing millions of dollars in compensation. They are slow to stimulate the economy by lending money to individuals and small businesses — the very money that we have lent them through the Federal Reserve at near zero interest rates. Why have we not witnessed a single arrest or conviction for outright fraud of these greedy vultures who feed off all of us?
This is not a partisan issue. Republicans, Democrats, independents and tea party members should all be infuriated by this fleecing of the population.
Scot H. Nichols, Brandon
Desire for democracy
Many nations ruled by authoritarian dictators have constitutions that make them appear to be democracies when they are not. And let's face it, despite our own Constitution, America isn't a democracy anymore. It's become an oligarchy.
Just look at the decisions our elected officials make based purely on how much money an individual or company spends on campaign contributions and lobbying. If that's not an example of quietly being ruled by the wealthy, what is?
If we were living in a democracy, the hundreds of people peacefully protesting in New York wouldn't have to be worried about being arrested or maced.
IMF economists put out a recent report showing how the growing income gap between the rich and poor obliterates economic growth and leads to recessions and depressions.
The Occupy Wall Street protests, at their heart, are not just about economic discontent but a desire to return to a true American democracy.
Heidi Halsworth, Tampa
Swiftmud boss starts with a housecleaning Oct. 6
First, protect the water
The new boss, and his bosses, would do well to recall the reason Florida's water management districts were created. It was to protect both the quality of life for Floridians and the ability of Florida's resources to support further economic development in the long term.
Leaders at the time had already seen that without controls the quality and quantity of usable water were seriously at risk. They didn't want to see a Florida version of the "cut out and get out" that decimated the forests of the lake states for generations to come.
Yes, that meant limits on what landowners could do on their own land. But while digging out cypress ponds and drilling artesian wells didn't have much effect on the neighbors when there were only a relative few of us, add in 10 million or so more people living off the same resources and the impacts of a landowner's project could be very serious indeed.
Finally, why should these employees be criticized — and fired — just for doing the very job the state asked them to do? Better to consider again the long-range effects, adjust the rules, then let these same experienced people do their jobs to protect our environment for both current citizens and for future development.
Kenneth McLaughlin, Zephyrhills
A matter of degree
According to September's AARP Bulletin, only 74.7 percent of state lawmakers have bachelor's or higher degrees. Of course, 100 percent of teachers have bachelor's or higher degrees. Which group do you think should be in charge of educating our children?
John E. Darovec Jr., Bradenton