Forever, we four | May 6
Take children into your hearts
On Dec. 24, 1980, the Evening Independent ran an article about a mother who was dying of cancer and all she wanted that Christmas was a home for her four children. My wife and I were led to take these children and adopt them into our family.
I am writing this to encourage a family to step up and consider taking the four precious children in the Floridian article, Justice Smith and her three little brothers, into their hearts and home.
When we told our family and friends what we felt God had led us to do, their first response was that we were crazy. Over time they took our children into their hearts and lives and realized that we did exactly what we were supposed to do.
There are many words that describe our experience. Overwhelming at times; frustrating more times than I can count; sad, helping the kids to deal with their mother's death; regrets — NOT ONE.
I know that any family that decides to adopt these children will run into good times and rough times, but I will guarantee they will never regret it.
Jim Byers, St. Petersburg
Transit foes gain steam May 6, Tim Nickens column
Where light rail failed
I attended the Pinellas light rail forum brought up in your column, and you neglected to mention a crucial point Randal O'Toole apprised us of in his talk about light rail: When nonmetropolitan cities like Portland and Charlotte built their light rail projects, they incurred a mountain of debt in return for a transportation system that failed to live up to expectations. Perhaps if enough Pinellas County residents know that, it won't even come to a referendum.
Eric Greenbaum, Tampa
Beware Mediscare | May 6, PolitiFact
Truth about the Ryan plan
You state that Medicare is a single-payer, government-run plan. The Paul Ryan plan does away with a government-run, single-payer plan and replaces it with a system of vouchers where senior health care is provided by private insurance companies. The Affordable Care Act, on the other hand, changes Medicare to reduce its cost while maintaining its identity as a single-payer, government-run system. The Ryan plan is indeed a replacement of Medicare and ends Medicare!
Robert K. Powell, Spring Hill
Get the wording right
PolitiFact and the Tampa Bay Times continue to tell only half a story and erroneously quote Democrats as saying, "Republicans voted to end Medicare." What Democrats actually said was, "Republicans voted to end Medicare as we know it." Moreover, a Congressional Budget Office analysis of Republican budget proposals basically substantiated that statement. The Republican health care plan would indeed end Medicare as we know it. Yet PolitiFact and the Times continue to justify their "Pants on Fire" rating on only half of the actual statement. Why?
Terrence Gourdine, Clearwater
For a better Tampa | April 28, editorial
Green vision on Bayshore
Your editorial urging Tampa's leaders to concentrate on more parks and open spaces was, I believe, well received and I hope the paper can continue to be an advocate in this area.
For some time, I have thought that Bayshore Boulevard can be put to a much more enjoyable and far better use than the multilane speedway it has become. Imagine the northbound lanes of Bayshore as part of a continuous park or greenway from Gandy Boulevard to Rome Avenue (and perhaps beyond), incorporating the median into the park space. The park or greenway could have small parking areas along the way, with bike and walking paths and small picnic areas.
The southbound lanes would become a two-way street. Traffic lights would be installed to slow traffic and permit easy access to the greenway.
William C. Frye, Tampa
AIG bailout begins to bear fruit May 6, editorial
Bailout versus stimulus
Thank you for your editorial on the AIG bailout. Many of your readers seem to confuse TARP and bailouts/patching up of the financial system with the stimulus and public spending (of borrowed money) on works projects supposedly to kick-start the economy.
The first, saving the financial system, is an absolute necessity. Despite the complaints about Wall Street, without a functioning financial system the entire economy comes to a halt as banks collapse and money and credit disappear. Preventing that is the reason the Federal Reserve System was established.
The Fed has done a very good job in this recession, except for a slow start that allowed Lehman Brothers to fail. One shortcoming isn't a need for more complex regulations, but preventing investment bubbles like the real estate bubble that caused this recession, the dot-com bubble before it, and a long history of greed-driven folly that stretches back past 1929 to the tulip mania and South Sea Bubble of the 17th and 18th centuries. Politicians won't stop bubbles because then they would be blamed for the losses, even if that prevents more damage.
The Fed tried to stop the 1929 stock bubble, but its interest rate increase only made the ultimate crash worse by hurting business and causing more money to flow to the huge profits available in stocks.
Lecturing doesn't work. Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's 1996 "irrational exuberance" warning was roundly ignored.
A stimulus is completely different. In your same issue columnist David Brooks calls its supporters "cyclicalists." Also known as Keynesians, these economists and politicians ignore the basic problem of a stimulus: An entrenched bureaucracy under the command of politicians is one of the worst possible ways to invest the earnings of our children and grandchildren.
Post-stimulus economic growth is hurt by fear of the inflation and/or tax increases needed to pay off the borrowing. Taxpayers are left with bridges to nowhere, trains to nowhere, infrastructure that won't be utilized for decades, and piers that are nothing but an exercise in nostalgia.
All of them must be supported by the productive portion of the economy, adding to the long-term slump.
James J. Klapper, Oldsmar