National catastrophe fund overdue | July 1, editorial
U.S. catastrophe fund a bad idea
The Times is wrong to support a national catastrophe fund. Although the idea looks appealing on the surface, a national catastrophe fund simply cannot work as its proponents say it will. Private insurance markets spread risk around the world. The more broadly they spread risk, the less an insurer has to charge in order to break even.
By concentrating risk within the borders of the United States, a national catastrophe fund would have to charge more than the private market does. Most likely, the government would systematically underprice coverage and leave taxpayers holding the bag. The National Flood Insurance Program already owes the Treasury more than $17 billion and has no way to pay it back. A catastrophe fund would be even worse. Florida's property insurance market needs less government intrusion, not more.
Actual risks should determine rates everywhere in the state, and the government should play a limited role in preserving important natural areas and helping people of modest means to retrofit their homes. Whatever Congress does, a national catastrophe fund is a bad idea.
Eli Lehrer, vice president, Heartland Institute, Washington
Don't condemn campers
The shrill opposition to a campground at Honeymoon Island has been somewhat dispiriting in its blanket condemnation of camping and campers in general. If camping is so bad for nature and the environment, then camping should by this logic be banned from all state parks.
Whether or not a campground is appropriate at Honeymoon Island, specifically, or whether it should be privately run, is of course worthy of debate.
Before moving to Florida in 2001, our family camped across the country. From our experience, we know firsthand that Florida has the best state park system in the country. We have been able to visit so many of these parks precisely because of their campgrounds.
The secret that we campers know is that the best time of day is when the park closes and the day-trippers clear out, leaving us to our campfires and the sounds of the night.
Eric Burns, Palm Harbor
July Fourth holiday
We have survived another of one of the two most dangerous nights of the year: July Fourth and New Year's Eve.
Those are the nights all of the irresponsible gun owners crawl out from under their rocks and try to shoot holes in the sky. Why don't these people realize that the bullets will reach their apex and return to earth at terminal velocity, thanks to gravity.
Two years ago, I was the recipient of one of those returning missiles. It came down through the aluminum roof of my carport. Thank God it did not hit some child or anyone else. These idiots give responsible gun owners a bad name.
Donald J. Krako, Tarpon Springs
Rotten way to celebrate
I am a regular stroller along Indian Rocks Beach, generally a pretty clean beach and a pleasure on which to walk. But I was absolutely disgusted on the morning of July 5 to see how much garbage was strewn everywhere, left by the slobby human visitors over the Fourth of July weekend.
While there were the usual cigarette butts and empty plastic bottles and bags one sees after any busy weekend, I was particularly sickened by the piles of firework debris washing in.
Thanks for that, inconsiderate beach visitors. This is how we celebrate America — by dirtying up our coastlines?
Tyler Carder, Largo
Enough already. Fireworks should have long ago been outlawed for individuals. The constant barrage of bombs in subdivisions every day and night is scaring our pets, wildlife and babies. The immature men who cannot live without their fireworks need to seek therapy.
The July Fourth weekend has ended. Grow up.
Carmen Blakely, Lutz
Ethanol claims distort picture | July 4, PolitiFact
Bad mileage, bad policy
I would like someone to scientifically explain why we should even be using ethanol, let alone corn-based ethanol, in fuel.
Several years ago, when 100 percent hydrocarbon gasoline was still available in some states, I was doing a lot of interstate driving and compared the miles per gallon of 100 percent gas vs. the 90-10 mixture.
I drove three cars a total of almost 10,000 miles and found that the 90-10 mixture reduced mileage from 12 percent to 18 percent compared to the 100 percent fuel.
The miles per gallon of my Ford F-150 dropped 13.6 percent. If I were to drive it 12,000 highway miles using 90-10 instead of 100 percent fuel, I would actually use 86 additional gallons of the 90-10 mixture. Since 90 percent of the mixture is gasoline, I would use 77.5 gallons more gasoline than I would have used if the 100 percent product were available.
In addition to wasting 77 gallons of hydrocarbon fuel, I would have spent about $330 more for fuel.
Ron Knight, Ruskin
The Times was too polite in referring to the recent "study" by the Renewable Fuels Association as questionable. It is just plain advertising baloney regarding the cost savings with the use of ethanol in gasoline — replete with partial truths and unscientific nonsense. Perhaps the most egregious assertion by the RFA is that it is unfair, in criticism of the study, to consider factors outside the "scope" of the study (food prices, time period, subsidy costs, energy costs, decrease in miles per gallon, etc.). The exclusion of these factors is precisely why this narrow scope (tailored to obtain a desired result) presents a worthless conclusion.
Donald Barnhill, Trinity
U.S. seeks contacts in Muslim Brotherhood July 1
This article wrongly calls Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood "conservative." The best description for these jihadists would be leftist totalitarians who aim is to crush America and anyone who is not of their religion. Ask the Coptic Christians who have been sentenced to death for blasphemy and killed.
Philip Tropea, Palm Harbor