Friday, June 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: U.S. medical industry keeps prices soaring

Yes, it would be wonderful if every Medicare recipient were informed of the cost of the benefits he or she receives. Having said that, it would be even better if the costs were brought under control.

The pharmaceutical, hospital and medical device manufacturers operate virtual monopolies. Hospitals collude on pricing. Drug manufacturers spend more than twice as much on advertising as they do on research and development. Patents are frequently granted for meaningless modifications to drugs that should go generic. New and dangerous drugs are allowed to enter the market, endangering patient health. Politicians have allowed the Food and Drug Administration to become Big Pharma's lap dog. It now "protects" us from foreign imports and equivalent but far less costly products that are effective but cheap. Washington is up to its ears with lobbyists.

More than 65,000 Americans choose treatment outside the United States every year as our costs are so completely insane.

I agree that Americans are largely uninformed about the costs. I disagree as to where to place the blame.

Gary Rice, New Port Richey

Elder abuse

Don't ignore those in danger

Florida has a large population of elders. Some elder abuse is reported to authorities, but much is not. June 15 is Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Elder abuse can take many forms aside from the obvious physical. Mental abuse can be just as damaging. Deprivation of food, medicine, comfort (heating and cooling) and friends or social activities may also be of concern. We cannot turn our backs on this vital issue and must be responsible for reporting it to the authorities. A call to 911 can save a life of a friend, neighbor or loved one. We truly can be our brother's keeper.

Austin R. Curry, executive director, Elder Care Advocacy of Florida, Tampa

Washington stalls as economy stumbles June 5, editorial

Spending isn't the answer

Paul Krugman and the Times still seem endlessly convinced that if we spend fast enough and hard enough we can outrun and outspend the negative economic effects of our profligate spending. Instead of Krugman, you should listen to Isaac Newton. He had no Krugmanesque quasi-magical economic formulations, but he did say that "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

Every dollar wrenched out of the independent economy through taxes is a dollar lost to the economy. If you put that dollar back into the productive economy it is a zero-sum gain at best. If you put those dollars into what, more often than not, is an unproductive sector of the economy (spending for "compassion," symbolism, national pride, bloated military, corporate welfare and other forms of vote-buying), the effect on the economy is negative in that it drains resources out of the real productive economy and dumps them into an unproductive false economy.

Yet Krugman and your paper seem quite firm in the conviction that if we hit the spending wall fast enough and hard enough we will outrun natural economic limits and blow through and emerge into a magical realm of economic Nirvana. It's a bit like trying to outrun the speed of light — something Einstein said you can't do.

Robert Beatty, Tampa

Spending crisis runs deep | June 5, letter

Limits to growth

The letter writer is correct that, because of globalization, deficit spending will no longer sufficiently stimulate the economy and merely plunge us deeper in debt. Keynesian economics depends on perpetual growth to offset deficits and, because we have added 3 billion people to the world economy — 2 billion in India and China alone — we are reaching significant limits to economic growth in the West.

But globalization was inevitable. If we had tried to keep China and India out of full participation in the world economy, China would have become more fearsome and militaristic than the old Soviet Union, and India would have become equally dangerous to us. The current situation is far more manageable than the alternative.

But the letter writer is incorrect in blaming socialism for our woes. All successful industrial societies are a combination of capitalistic and socialistic economic principles, and the challenge is to find the correct balance. Blaming the evils of socialism, or the evils of capitalism, for all our problems ignores reality.

Reducing the deficit will be painful to all, but if the pain is equitably spread it will not be unbearable.

Arthur Volbert, Gulfport

Offensive solution to a non-problem June 4, commentary

Showing ID no problem

It seems that Leonard Pitts believes if you have been in the service you should not have to show an ID when voting.

I have been in the service and I have no problem showing an ID for anything. You still need an ID to cash a check, get on a plane and numerous other situations.

Anyone against showing an ID to vote is only pushing their own agenda.

Dan Meyer, Largo

Apathy is the biggest vote suppressor of all June 5, commentary

Democrats lack a message

Frank Cerabino points out that the Republicans have been able to dominate the Legislature and Governor's Mansion in Florida despite trailing Democrats statewide by nearly half a million voters.

I can tell him why. I truly have no idea what today's Democratic politicians stand for. Just this week, we learned that the leader of the PSC, a Democrat, approved outrageous rises in bills by Progress Energy and therefore did not stand up for us, the ordinary middle class.

I know what Republicans stand for: businesses, preferably large corporations; I just wish Democratic politicians would take a hard look at themselves and ask why people don't vote for them.

John Starkey, St. Petersburg

Paycheck Fairness Act

Part of doing business

I have been reading about Republican opposition to the Paycheck Fairness Act, which addresses male-female pay disparities. As a human resources professional, I fail to see how the bill could be a burden to businesses. I have always performed these equity studies. Any well-managed businesses should already be conducting these equity reviews.

Ross P. Alander, Tampa

Lack of leadership

What kind of leadership does Mitt Romney provide? In Wednesday's Times a Romney spokeswoman is quoted as saying, "Of course Gov. Romney supports equal pay for women." This after every Republican senator (47-0) voted against a bill for equal pay for women. What kind of leadership does that demonstrate? If he can't persuade even one of his colleagues, how much leadership will he provide for the entire nation?

Chris Lewis, St. Petersburg

Disney: No junk food ads for kids | June 6

Dump the junk food

Kudos to the Disney Co. for banning ads for junk food on its radio and television channels and websites. In 1977, I worked with two advocacy groups who petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to ban television advertising for high-sugar foods pitched at children. Needless to say, the campaign didn't budge the agency to do anything to promote good eating habits among our youth. Now, some 35 years later, we see the results of those failed efforts — an epidemic of childhood obesity and correspondingly alarming rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and tooth decay in children.

How wonderful at last to see some responsible companies in the private sector (and government agencies) boldly moving forward in a much-needed effort to improve our youth's dietary habits. (Of course, this is something that their parents should have done years ago but, unfortunately, have failed to do.)

Prior to Disney's recent campaign, San Francisco banned toys served with children's meals if they incorporate junk food such as french fries. New York City now prohibits the use of trans fats in cooking oils and shortening. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is moving to ban selling sugared drinks containing over 16 ounces of any beverage. Let us hope that other agencies and companies serving children will follow suit in pursuing measures that could help improve our children's health.

Stephen Feldman, Valrico

President's lethal strikes need checks June 4, editorial

Show some backbone

Your editorial is clearly opposed to the drone strikes. However, you do not have the backbone to state it and reject this presidential action. If this was George W. Bush, you would have completely and forcefully opposed these actions. Man up and be consistent.

Ken Johnston, Tampa


Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18