Re: Arctic drilling may reduce U.S. gas prices |June 26, guest column
Republicans have blighted economy
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, as a longtime Republican turned independent, you blaming Democrats for the Republicans' lack of leadership on energy policy over the past 7 1/2 years is ridiculous. The two good old oil boys occupying the White House those 7 1/2 years have pushed and defended tax breaks for "Big Oil" time and time again, while showing little or no interest in promoting alternative sources of energy.
The Republicans have failed in so many ways without an energy policy. The big players within the Republican Party believed the free markets would solve any energy problem; they didn't. They wouldn't even let California experiment with more stringent requirements on auto mileage and clean air.
By action or inaction, the Republican leadership on economic policy over the past 25 years has brought great, and probably irreversible, damage to the American people. From the American Revolution, through recessions, depressions, wars and world wars, the national debt was about $1-trillion when Ronald Reagan took office. With Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich promoting "supply side" or "trickle down" economics — all voodoo economics — they managed to triple the national debt to $3-trillion in eight years when Reagan left office. Under Reagan, George Bush Sr. and Bush Jr., debt is now approaching $10-trillion. I'm no fan of former President Bill Clinton, but the debt changed relatively little during his eight years in office.
Americans keep falling for the same old Republican story on taxes and economics, and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to pay the price. They may already be paying the price.
The right-wing neocons in the Republican Party believe in totally free markets, free from rules, regulations and government oversight. This has brought the American people the home savings-and-loan debacle, Enron-type failures, the recent collapse of the real estate market, and many other failures within our economic system. The Republicans forget that greed, unchecked and unguarded, will always lead to failure. We can argue where to draw the line on regulation.
The remnants of the Reagan, Gingrich and Tom Delay right-wing ideology still permeate the Republican Party. That ideology is sick, stale and unchristian. Hopefully, the moderate Republicans will regain control of the party someday.
Ken Lang, Spring Hill
Subject: Concrete is the road to sprawl | June 30 guest column
Floridians should decide land's use
Thank you for printing Lesley Blackner's commentary. Ms. Blackner is a Florida hero for bringing Florida Hometown Democracy, along with co-founder Ross Burnaman, within a hairbreadth of the November 2008 ballot.
Florida's growth model is bankrupt. It is etched in failed subdivisions and massive foreclosure rates. Indeed, our national economic troubles can be tied directly to the free-wheeling proliferation of debt and spending by the so-called party of fiscal conservatism, whose members are the strongest opponents of giving people the right to vote on the future shape of our communities.
There is nothing fiscally conservative about the way the building boom wrecked so much of Florida's landscape. It is time for Floridians to regain control of our future by giving people the right to vote on changes to comprehensive land use plans.
This is a titanic struggle, and the Growth Machine has pledged to spend whatever it takes to maintain its privileges and prerogatives. Indeed, there is a whole army of lobbyists, consultants and engineers who would have little to do or money to make if control of growth management amendments is given to popular vote, and not to the local cabals that constitute the majority of county commissions throughout the state.
I give the Times full credit for allowing Ms. Blackner's unvarnished view to be printed. More newspapers should follow the Times' example.
Alan Farago, Coral Gables