Take away debt ceiling weapon
We can fix the current mess by flooding House politicians with calls demanding an end to this nonsense if they ever want to be re-elected.
We can prevent this from happening in the future with two actions that take away their weapon — a flawed budget process designed to facilitate political manipulation.
Congress hasn't passed a budget for years, and in addition to shutdowns, this generally makes government operations even more inefficient. So, the first action is to ensure future budgets are passed on time by changing the law to automatically extend any budget (indexed for inflation) for another year when a new budget isn't enacted by October.
The second step is to eliminate the debt ceiling. For most of American history, we have had no debt ceiling, and only one other constitutional country has one. Clearly, it is of no use in controlling spending. For many years prior to 1995, the debt limit was increased in conjunction with spending bills that required such an increase. Creating a separate debt ceiling process in 1995 also created an effective weapon for political obstructionists. Since debt is an integral part of budget development, eliminating a separate ceiling is more efficient and also prevents the recurring crisis.
Jerry Stephens, Riverview
Affordable Care Act
Call it by its right name
I am tired of reading and hearing the word "Obamacare." It is the Affordable Care Act. It is the law. It has been voted on, signed by the president of the United States and upheld by the Supreme Court.
The term "Obamacare" was created as a putdown of the president and the law by Republicans and tea party extremists who are holding the nation hostage. I respectfully request that the journalists at the Tampa Bay Times stop using the term.
Maybe you could start a trend.
Donna McGill, St. Pete Beach
Amazon center on way | Oct. 11
Giveaways and blackmail
A national tax cheat has wrested significant concessions from the state in order to bring some jobs here. Our "jobs" governor thinks nothing of lavishing taxpayer money on corporations who could easily have been required to collect and remit sales taxes while for years they hurt local retailers. This government is "conservative"?
We have morphed from a state that looks after people with tax levies and spending to looking after multibillion corporations, hoping they will eventually repay the money given to them as blackmail. Anybody remember luring MCI to open a call center here? What did that boondoggle cost the taxpayers? What was the net loss or benefit?
Bob Tankel, Dunedin
On the road to congestion
There seems to be jubilation over Amazon selecting Ruskin as its new distribution center. However, this warehouse will employ at least 1,000 people, and since it's an online sales operation you can pretty much assume it will be a 24/7 operation.
That means you have several hundred people commuting at different times of the day and night, and that's not including the pickup and delivery trucks, semitrailer trucks, etc. You think the traffic gets congested when the snowbirds return? Just wait for this addition to traffic on State Road 674. Has everyone forgotten that in the middle of all this is Sun City Center, a senior retirement community?
In addition let's not forget those Amazon tax incentives will mean that the widening of SR 674, additional street lighting, traffic signals, etc., will need to be paid by someone, and guess whose tax bill that will be passed on to.
Bob Kelly, Sun City Center
Striking it rich
I am certainly delighted that Amazon has decided to erect a new warehouse in the Ruskin area of Tampa Bay. The prospect of new jobs, a boost to the local economy, and increased revenues for the state of Florida appear to be good things for the area in general.
However, their appears to be a huge golden parachute for somebody with the transaction reported by the Tampa Bay Times. An 80-acre parcel of basic agricultural land was reported purchased for $14.6 million. That is $182,500 per acre for this warehouse site. Similar property across the state goes for more like $3,000 an acre.
Gerald R. Bell, Wimauma
For big businesses, the tea party is over Oct. 11, Daniel Ruth column
People are not upset that the government isn't open to approve breweries. They are upset that government is involved at all. One brewery can't open because they are waiting for the government to approve their label. Here in Florida people are being told they need government permission to go kayaking in Florida Bay.
The shutdown illustrates what a bad idea it is to put the federal government in charge of such things in the first place. Privately run parks are doing just fine, thank you, and I'm pretty sure life could go on without government-approved beer bottle labels.
The Department of Education has tripled spending for a zero percent increase in student performance. Get the federal government out of these things — then politicians wouldn't be able to hold the rest of us hostage with a "shutdown."
Chris Johnson, Clearwater
Scott's budget chief says $500M tax cut could work | Oct. 2
Hallmarks of decline
Is the United States becoming a Third World country? Are we headed in that direction?
Many of the hallmarks of a poor country are readily evident, such as homeless people in the streets, deteriorating infrastructure like bridges and roads, hungry children, questionable education, people unable to afford health care, inadequate safety nets, an erratic government — the list goes on.
And our politicians' answer to these severe challenges is an ironic "more tax cuts."
Arnold Frigeri, Sun City Center