Home as investment? | April 21
Delusions about property
All I can say about Catherine Rampell's comments about homeownership versus renting is that she knows not of what she speaks.
I've come across this type of delusional comment before. It was just as nonsensical years ago as it is now. Does she really think that the only driving force behind owning is economics? No, it is ownership as well. It allows you to do with your property what you can't do with someone else's property. And economically it is better for your future for most people than any other type of accommodation.
Real estate usually appreciates. It may not exceed inflation but it usually keeps up. That people sometimes overbuy real estate is correct. But people also overbuy furniture and other assets. Does that mean rent, don't buy furniture?
Exactly how many millionaires does she know who do not own their own living accommodations? Very few, I hazard to say.
I could not find anywhere in Rampell's bio any evidence of being in the housing market as an investor, analyst or whatever. Before writing a column like this (cribbed off someone else partially), she should learn the business. Then she would be qualified to comment.
John Bassett, St. Petersburg
Raising speed limit to 75 | April 25
The Florida autobahn
I am appalled by the Senate vote to increase the speed limit to 75 mph on most interstate highways in Florida. In essence what the vote means is that now the speed limit is going to be 80 mph because few if any drivers adhere to 70. It will be only a matter of time before fatal accidents start to increase.
Assuming a 20-mile commute going 75 as opposed to 70 will get one to their destination 1 minute and 8 seconds sooner, this is certainly not a tradeoff for increased fatalities. Steve Bousquet points out that 2,430 people died on Florida roads with the 70 mph in place in 2012. Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Wales, a co-sponsor of the higher speed limit, makes the case that "traffic deaths are lower today than in the mid 1990s when the universal speed limit was 55 mph." What a lame argument.
John Osterweil, Tampa
Home as investment? | April 21
Renting doesn't work
I found Catherine Rampell's article to be incredibly shortsighted and lacking in humanity.
A home is an important long-term investment for many reasons. It fosters a sense of community and belonging while pride in home actually reduces blight. The money you spend on your mortgage is usually a lot less than you would pay for rent of a similar home. Add the fact is that money spent toward your home doesn't disappear like rent does; it becomes equity. Then if you figure in all of the rent that you aren't paying to someone else, you realize that the return is quite a bit larger than some Nobel Prize winner says it is (and we know what a Nobel is worth these days).
Homeownership allows you to do just about anything that you want to your home to personalize it. Repair and upgrade costs can be high, but when you are renting you are paying for future repairs whether they are made or not. I could go on and on, but I'll end with this: The American Dream is not dead so don't let anyone discourage you with babble about quality of investments over quality of life.
Michael Rice, Clearwater
Sports on TV
No cable, no games, no fans
I have been noticing that much of the TV coverage of professional sports is moving to cable. Often there are no Saturday games or hockey televised on regular channels. Now the NFL is going to broadcast some playoff games on cable.
What happens to local sport fans who do not have cable because they cannot afford it? They do not get to enjoy their favorite team. They will stop being fans. And people complain about lack of support for the Rays?
Joseph Strigle, Tampa
On losing hearts and minds | April 22
Plenty to celebrate
Regarding Fred Hiatt's column: One pundit's definition of losing hearts and minds is another's pundit's definition of winning hearts and minds.
Those who claim that Obama's America is in an embarrassing retreat from the world's war on terror never mention Obama's use of drones to fight that war. They never mention Osama bin Laden's May 2, 2011, demise.
Republicans who want to send troops to North Korea, Syria and Eastern Europe, as well as keep the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan going, are clueless on how to pay for it.
Hiatt calls the "war on women" a cynical strategy. I disagree. The GOP at all levels is focused on taking away legal abortions and birth control from women, and many Republicans believe that women are not worthy of equal pay as men. This is not a cynical view on how women vote; it is not a cynical view of how their adult children and husbands vote. The hearts and minds of women count also.
The federal budget outlook will continue to improve in 2014, with the deficit projected to shrink to $514 billion — the lowest level since President Barack Obama took office.
Going into 2015, as a nation no longer in a ground war, a nation with its massive deficit on a downward freefall, should win many hearts and minds.
A nation defending a women's right to proper health care, without the federal government controlling their wombs. A nation with equal pay for women. The Affordable Health Care Act up and working. President Obama and the Democratic Party fighting for an increase in the minimum wage. All these issues will win many hearts and minds going into the last two years of the Obama administration.
Janice Josephine Carney, Largo
Decoupling FAMU-FSU college | April 21
USF needs hospital
Instead of decoupling the college of engineering shared by FAMU and FSU they should use the money to build an on campus central teaching hospital at USF. USF's central teaching hospital Tampa General Hospital is on Davis Island and the Moffitt Cancer Center is a very specialized facility. Just like the University of Florida couldn't fulfill its mission without Shands, USF Health can't do justice to its students without an on-campus teaching hospital.
Edward Saint-Ivan, Tampa