More of the policies that caused the mess | Aug. 4, commentary
Tax cuts helped; spending didn't
K. Edward Renner's article insinuates Ronald Reagan's policies weren't successful. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Reagan lowered the high tax rates inherited from a failed Jimmy Carter presidency and increased federal revenue. Just because Congress went on to find a way to spend every dime of it and more doesn't mean it didn't work.
The problem our country has faced over the last 50 years is both parties trying to make people more reliant on the government. We don't have a government revenue problem; we have a lack of accountability in our personal lives issue.
Dean Walters, Ruskin
No more co-pay for birth control | Aug. 2
Pitfalls of contraception
"Tens of million of women are expected to benefit" under the health care overhaul, meaning that millions more women will fall prey to the hormonal onslaught of pills and injections, veiling a deep-seated antiwoman "contraceptive mentality." The procreative act tends to produce what it is meant to produce, and if the hearts of men and women are closed to life before their union even begins, abortion, divorce and the contraceptive cycle will only continue to skyrocket.
Contraception doesn't make women free; contraception makes women free to be used by men. And what happens to our society when we all quietly agree that women are better off sterile?
Bob Angel, St. Petersburg
Upholding Christian values
As a devout Roman Catholic, I laud the health care provision of free birth control, screening and prenatal care. This decision upholds two central Christian values: justice and life. Justice, as it affirms women's health, which has been all but overlooked in research and care; and also because it will allow the reallocation of resources to other urgent public health needs. Life, because it will prevent abortions and pregnancy complications.
As a physician interested in public health, I wish that these provisions were accompanied by appropriate warnings about the health complications of recreational sex, including HIV, herpes, chlamydia and other incurable infectious diseases.
Lodovico Balducci, M.D., Tampa
Legal costs drive prices
Several recent articles and letters refer to fraud in the areas of sinkhole damage and personal injury protection. Some ask whether the adjusters overlooking these sinkhole claims were doing their jobs; while others blame the "big, bad" insurance companies.
As a retired claims adjuster, I can assure you that, in most cases, the adjusters are aware of the fraud. We get independent medical exams (in personal injury protection cases) and sometimes do surveillance. But the companies have learned from experience that if we deny the claim, the plaintiff bar (trial attorneys) can sue the company for "bad faith."
In bad-faith cases, the award is not just for payment of the denied amount, but can include huge amounts in punitive damages (of which the attorney gets about 40 percent). And the plaintiffs' attorneys know that they can convince the jury members that it is the "big, bad" insurance company that is wrong, not the one who perpetrated the fraud.
Alfred J. D'Amario, Hudson
Candidates for pink slips
If a company was in deep trouble like our country is today, would the top management go on a monthlong August vacation, just because that's the way it has always been done? Well, that is what our country's top management just did.
While Rome is burning, Congress left for a vacation. Even the president left Washington to raise money for his campaign, which he has been on his entire government life.
I think next November some major changes will happen in Washington and the unemployment number will go up there for a change.
Ron Bowman, Dunedin
Deficit panel speculation high | Aug. 4
A better way to choose
This article illustrates how broken our political processes are. The congressional leaders of each party will predictably choose six of their staunchest ideologues to serve on the budget panel. This selection process will almost certainly result in a deadlocked panel that can come to no substantial agreement, thereby triggering a poisonous combination of ongoing business uncertainty laced with mindless automatic budget reductions to defense, social and infrastructure programs.
A far better process would be for the Republican leaders to pick six members from the Democratic ranks, and for the Democratic leaders to pick six Republicans. In this way, the centrist positions that most accurately reflect the views of the public would best be represented, and the committee would be much more likely to act with common sense and come up with a reasonable way out of the mess we're in.
Robert Silverman, Wimauma
Don't seal the lips of my doctor, gun lobby Aug. 5, Sue Carlton column
For children's safety
As a physician, I find it unbelievable that our legislators passed a bill that does not allow a doctor to ask if a patient owns a gun, and if it is secured, for fear of significant financial penalties.
When parents are asked if they own a gun, the intention is not to encourage families to dispose of their firearms but to offer an opportunity to teach them how to store and lock their guns safely and out of the hands of inquisitive children.
Every day this law is on the books is one day closer to the next preventable, accidental gun death.
Mona Mangat, M.D., St. Petersburg
Advice group didn't pay tab | Aug. 3
Curious. A group of Florida's elite, business leaders all, stalwarts of conservative financial practices, have to face an embarrassing lawsuit to force them to pay legitimate debts.
It's all the more interesting as the unpaid bills were racked up for luxurious meals and shelter while ostensibly exploring ways to improve business profits.
More thought-provoking is the admission that the main cause of the Florida Economic Development Council's busted budget was overestimating the number of people available to pay for it.
But hardest of all to fathom is why the Intercontinental Hotel just didn't see fit to lower its bill to accommodate the council. Isn't that what Congress would expect?
Roger Crescentini, Tampa