Capitalism on trial with verdict in doubt | March 23, Robert Samuelson column
Population decline will alter economics
Robert Samuelson argued that capitalism was far from being at death's door, as suggested by the 20th century economist Joseph Schumpter. According to Samuelson, capitalism has met the three essential conditions for survival: a legitimized profit motive, widespread markets, and a politically accepted legal system that maintains property and contractual rights.
But Samuelson has forgotten the unspoken fourth condition of capitalism: positive demographics. Since the days of Adam Smith, a growing population guaranteed more and more producers and consumers. Like Florida, capitalism felt it could always mortgage the future with the equity of population growth.
The real crisis of capitalism will come in the last half of this century when the United States will join all the other Western industrial nations and slip into negative population growth. Then by the end of the century world population will level and begin a steady decline.
Capitalism replaced mercantilism. Now let's start thinking about what kind of economic system will be needed for the 22nd century. The tremors of this current recession should be our wake-up call.
Merle Allshouse, St. Petersburg
Growth is the key to ending deficit spending
We cannot cut our way out of deficit spending; we have to grow our way out. Ironically, I think it was Ronald Reagan who espoused this same solution. There is waste in government and we should eliminate it. There is just not enough waste to get us out of deficit spending.
The only way out is to grow an economy that will produce more prosperity and more taxes — not more taxes by raising rates, but more taxes by raising prosperity.
President Barack Obama proposes doing that by making America first in green technologies. We are going to spend money to make money and that idea is at the heart of capitalism.
Mark T. Stephens, Land O'Lakes
Time to speak up
A groundswell is rising, but is Washington listening? Tea parties, concerned everyday citizens waving signs, the912project.com groups meeting up; people meeting people they have never met all over one common concern: the direction our country is heading.
Are you concerned about the course of our country? I am! The other night I listened to our president talk about how you cannot run up your credit cards, but isn't that what the federal government is doing know? Trillions of dollars, more than a person can imagine. It is our children's future that is at risk; how will we explain to future generations that we maxed out their credit cards. Americans, it is time to speak up!
Joseph Sekula, New Port Richey
A productive economy
Your editorial pages and the accompanying letters to the editor are starting to resemble cable TV, with its opinionated talking heads and manufactured outrage. It is as if half the people expect President Barack Obama to be a miracle worker, and the other half think he's no better than the last group.
In 1981, America decided that government was the problem, and all we needed to do was borrow, spend and consume, and the big corporations would look after us. This is what was sold to us as "freedom".
Now many have come to realize that government cannot abandon its responsibilities, nor can we just stick our hands in each other's pockets anymore and pretend we have money. The huge financial industry is not an industry at all — it produces nothing.
We need to have an economy based on production and manufacturing, and the decent paying jobs that come with it. And yes, that means technology, education, and probably more unionized workers. And if that seems expensive, remember, we just tried it the other way.
Scott Cochran, Tampa
From obscurity to on-air scorn | March 23, story
Upholding the Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the single most important document to us as a nation. Every president, vice president and member of Congress swears an oath to uphold it upon taking office. The bill proposed by Rep. Bill Posey requiring presidential candidates to prove their citizenship does nothing more than ensure that the Constitution is upheld.
Rep. Neil Abercrombie may be calling Posey's judgment into question over this bill, but it is he whose judgment should be called into question. How can a member of Congress oppose a bill that does nothing more than ensure the Constitution is upheld? And to say that just because a person has reached the position of actually running for president means their citizenship is a nonissue is absurd.
If we suddenly begin overlooking parts of the Constitution such as this, we put ourselves in danger of having other parts overlooked or ignored at will such as the Bill of Rights.
I for one say the judgment of Rep. Posey is quite sound and opponents of this bill need to take a lesson from a man who strives to fulfill his oath of office to support and defend the U.S. Constitution.
Ralph Draper, Land O'Lakes
Airdrop damages poppy field | March 23, photos
Lewis Carroll could not have taken us "through the looking glass" any more effectively than the item showing U.S. Marines apologizing to an irate Afghan farmer for accidentally damaging several plants in an opium poppy field stretching to the horizon.
Remember, these are the same poppies used to make illegal heroin for the world market and which fund Taliban attacks on those same Marines. In this upside-down, inside-out world of Afghanistan, the Marines even promised to compensate the farmer for his loss. I'm sorry I don't have any good answers to the situation there, only one good question: Why are we still in Afghanistan?
Fred Jacobsen, Apollo Beach
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently told a group of both legal and illegal immigrants and their families that enforcement of existing immigrations laws is "un-American." "It must be stopped. What value system is that? I think it's un-American."
Can you believe that? The speaker, condemning raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who are only enforcing the law and doing their job, referred to the immigrants she was addressing as "very, very patriotic."
To be a patriot, apparently you must start breaking the laws of the United States, according to Nancy Pelosi.
Harold Nida, Tampa