End subsidies for the slacker states | May 19 column
Problem is government spending
Harold Meyerson doesn't get it. It's not that the government doesn't have enough money. It's that it spends too much. Using his example about the 400 richest Americans, they each paid (in 2008 dollars) $6.81 million in 1955 and paid an average of $48.69 million in 2008 — an increase of $41.88 million each. So the problem isn't that they are not paying as much in 2008 as in 1955, the problem is and always will be the government is spending too much.
The more government gets, the more it spends. The only way to curb its spending is to reduce its input. His point about "sponger states" is well taken. We should not be sending back more then they "contribute."
But I have a better idea. Why don't we let the states keep all the money to start with and spend it the way they want? I know there are many things the federal government needs to do, such as the military and interstate roads. But while we're at it, how about stopping the subsidies to other countries? We send billions to almost every country in the world, many of which are in better shape than we are. Take all that money and apply it to the deficit.
Tom Bennis, Sun City Center
It's now tougher to vote | May 20
Headline shows bias
Your headline in Friday's paper, "It's now tougher to vote," does not represent news but opinion. Opinions are not for those seeking news. Yes, it's tougher to vote. It is also tougher to cheat while voting. I know you represent the "left." However, it would be far more effective for you if you at least pretended to be fair. Try "Voting tougher but more secure." If you want to be taken seriously as a purveyor of the news, you need to be honest.
William Thompson, Clearwater
Flooding is yet to peak, but costs keep rising May 18
Make flood victims whole
I can sympathize with the people along the Mississippi and its tributaries. Floods can be devastating and cover a much larger area than hurricanes and tornados. What disturbed me the most was when the engineers deliberately opened the levy gates that were protecting homes and farmland. These people were protected, and their protection was destroyed.
I sincerely hope that the government will reimburse all these people for their losses. No amount of money can pay for their personal loss, but it can sure help them get back on their feet and rebuild their homes.
James Bardsley, Madeira Beach
Making this a friendlier place to practice medicine | May 19 column
FMA chief toes party line
Like many lobbyists, Dr. Madelyn Butler, the Florida Medical Association president, lives in a fantasy world. No nibbling around the edges of certain legal issues can save Florida from sinking further into the abyss of systemic incompetence and malpractice. The state's entire regulatory apparatus is hard-wired to ensure that corrupt and incompetent doctors thrive and prosper. When given the opportunity to speak to these issues, the FMA resorts to doing what it does best — protecting doctors regardless of the gravity of their misconduct. The FMA is at the forefront of the industry's effort to subvert meaningful oversight. It seems my haircutter is subject to more serious regulatory oversight by the state than certain incompetent doctors who are deemed acceptable by the Florida Department of Health.
Jeffrey Meyer, Tampa
Insurers' gain may hurt housing market May 19 column
Lack of insurers is real crisis
Regarding Bob Trigaux's article Thursday, I am always amused how people will blame "greedy" insurers when rates increase, but then gripe when policies are canceled because insurers aren't allowed to charge enough to cover their risks. Companies need to make money, or at least break even, to survive. Don't you think that if there was any way of making money off of you, those "greedy" companies wouldn't dump you as a customer? If there's money to be made, some company will step in and do it.
I love USAA, and would gladly have paid a little more when it requested to raise rates to cover its risks. Instead, Florida told it no, and it left the state. How does that help me? Open up Florida's insurance market to free and fair competition, and everyone will be better off. Dictate prices, and insurers will leave. It's already happening.
Chris Johnson, Clearwater
Gov. Rick Scott adds new board member to Florida Board of Education | The Gradebook blog, May 16
No teacher input
As an educator in Florida for 15-plus years, I have had to adapt to the many changes brought on by those outside of education. For the past four years, my role within Pasco County schools is to improve our school's graduation rate.
My colleagues and I can always tell when a change comes from another politician with no clue about students and what will improve graduation rates. After reading how our governor appointed a former chief executive of a sales and marketing company to the state Board of Education, I, again, am aghast. I would like to know why the governor would think his appointee would have any clue about students' needs and what is best for education ? How do I, as a teacher, explain the logic of it to our youths?
Shannon B. Mathews, Zephyrhills
Reforming reading, writing and revenues May 16 column
Profit isn't the motive
Gail Collins' concern for the fragmenting of the education system is valid. Public charter schools and vouchers are draining the funds, the talented students and involved parents out of the public school system. The privatization craze is not driven by profit. It is driven by the mess that the public schools are in. No one is going to pass up a free public education, especially one that they have already paid for through taxes, unless of course, something is seriously wrong with that free education.
Parents are choosing to opt out of the system to get what they need for their children and avoid much that is harmful. The public education system in Florida, like most states, is a "one size fits all" system.
Russell J. Watrous, Land O'Lakes
Assault on democracy | May 20 editorial
Cause and effect
On the one hand, some say Florida's new election law stops fraud. On the other hand, some say it hurts Democratic chances in 2012. Taken together, are we to conclude that Democratic chances depend upon electoral fraud?
Ernest Lane, Trinity