Friday, November 24, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: A veteran's words touch many


Trained to kill, and we did | Feb. 3 Timothy Kudo column

Speaking up helps all veterans

Thank you, Timothy Kudo. You have performed a great service to the public and to all veterans who have experienced war. Too often the media and popular culture glorify war without realizing the anguish veterans must live with in silence for the rest of their lives.

With wars in progress and the fear of seeming unpatriotic at such times, it is not easy to put into words what we feel in our hearts. You have done that admirably.

One would think that after 5,000 years of civilization and with all the intelligence and creativity we have, we could find more peaceful means to settle international differences.

Frank Braccio, Treasure Island

Trained to kill, and we did Feb. 3 Timothy Kudo column

Thanks for the candor

This article has compelled me to shout out "Semper Fi." Having served in Vietnam (1967-68) as an Army infantry platoon sergeant for the 173rd Airborne and seeing more than my share of sorrow, I can say that Capt. Timothy Kudo has the unique ability to capture his thoughts and express them in a way to make you think. I'm impressed with his candor and thought-provoking words. His men should be proud to have served under his direction.

Jack McAllister, Apollo Beach

What you paid. What you get Feb. 3 Perspective

On the gravy train

I retired early at age 62 and collected all the Social Security I paid in in 13 months. At 65 I collected all my Medicare premiums in six months. At 67 with maybe 10 more years ahead of me (possibly more), I'm riding a gravy train. I know this because I did the math. I should also mention that the doctors wanted me to spend far more than that.

It troubles me that so many people think these funds were or could have or should have been invested in stocks. It also bothers me that the Times keeps using average income rather than median income, where the numbers would be far more skewed.

William Ott, Largo

The magic of interest

Reading your defense of the quasi-socialist Ponzi programs run by the government in countering "that's our money!" by showing how much was paid out versus how little was really paid in, it occurred to me how brazen the far left has gotten when the concept of interest is brushed aside so cavalierly. It would have been nice had your piece included a comparison of how much money each fictitious couple would have earned had the same investment been made over nearly any chunk of time corresponding to an average career and what the capitalistic magic of compounding interest and return on investment would have wrought.

Dwayne Keith, Valrico

Blame Congress

The scenarios presented in this article would have been more credible had the Urban Institute used a more sensible assumption with respect to a return on private investment of Social Security tax money. If one had simply invested his Social Security payroll taxes in an S&P 500 index fund from 1943 to 2010 (reaching 65 in 2010), the annualized return, adjusted for inflation, would have been 7.43 percent, almost four times the return of 2 percent the Urban Institute used. The institute is apparently assuming that people would keep 40 years of retirement savings in a passbook savings account.

The institute's suggestion that "the government has long paid out most Social Security revenues to beneficiaries" is misleading at best. Any Social Security surplus in excess of what was paid out each year was borrowed by Congress and spent on anything and everything else in the "unified budget" (general fund). Those IOU's constitute the Social Security Trust Fund. With $16 trillion-plus in debt and yearly deficits of $1 trillion-plus, where does Congress get the money when the trust fund finds it necessary to redeem the bonds? They borrow more money.

It is the fiscal irresponsibility of Congress over many years that has brought us to this circumstance.

Dave Loeffert, Dunedin

A botched agreement

These statistics can be skewed to anyone's viewpoint. Since C. Eugene Steuerle helped assemble these calculations and his viewpoint is that "We're not really entitled to get our money back" because we spent it on our parents, we can see where this idiot's mind-set is. When the government takes money all your working life with the agreement that this is for your retirement, as far as I'm concerned that is a contractual agreement.

Donna Ban, Tampa

Breath of fresh air at Capitol Feb. 3 Tim Nickens column

Retirement threats

Tim Nickens describes Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz as a breath of fresh air. That's funny. Most public employees see them as an icy cold arctic blast, relentless in their quest to destroy the retirement of teachers, police and firefighters.

Weatherford mentioned missing his daughter's first solo bike ride while at work, and that is touching, but police and firefighters miss much more than that over the course of a career: holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, weddings and funerals, all while risking their lives and physical and mental well-being.

When politicians go after our retirement benefits with false accusations, like the Florida Retirement System is a "ticking time bomb," when it may be the most fiscally sound retirement fund in the nation, it makes me and other public employees question their integrity and their motives.

Tony Mercer, Palm Harbor

The mind-set of the poor | Robyn Blumner column

Lessons for teachers

All teachers should read A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne. A few years ago, every teacher at Middleton High School (a Title I school) received a copy of her book, and we held several discussion workshops. As a result, I immediately tried a different approach with a student who stopped coming to my Web design class.

Rather than write a referral and get him suspended (the norm), I found out why he was skipping and arranged for him to stay after school and make up his work. Per Ruby Payne, a trusting relationship was built, and this student became one of the top performers in my class.

Kathy Freriks, Tampa


Monday’s letters: Don’t forget pain sufferers

Fighting opioids on many fronts Nov. 22, editorialDon’t forget pain sufferersSufferers of debilitating, chronic pain seem to be largely forgotten in the public and corporate hysteria about opioid abuse. There are millions of people whose chronic pain...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill will benefit all businesses

Nelson warns of tax bill’s effects | Nov. 21Proposal is win for all concernedHas Sen. Bill Nelson even read the new proposed tax bill?If he knew anything about it he should be embarrassed by his rhetoric as stated in the Times article. The corpor...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Saturday’s letters: Value and respect our teachers

Crowd backs raises | Nov. 15Respect and value our teachersTeachers are the "engine" that drives the "train" of our Hillsborough County school district. Teachers and support personnel affect every aspect of a child’s life. They are the students’ "...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Friday’s letters: Find private investors for a new stadium

Opening offer from Rays on stadium sounds too low | Nov. 17, editorialFind private investors for stadiumThe Rays "offered" to pay 18.75 percent of the costs? How outrageously presumptuous to say that they offered! Put another way, they demanded t...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Thursday’s letters: Tax plan won’t help wages

Tax billThis won’t help stagnant wagesThe unfair tax proposal that cuts taxes for the rich and most powerful and cuts the ability of working people to claim any comparable deductions is no more than another greedy power grab by the rich and powerful....
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Wednesday’s letters: Breaking down health data

Don’t let news on blood pressure raise yours | Nov. 17, commentaryBreaking down health numbersThank you for publishing the timely commentary by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch on blood pressure. The point he makes about relative risks versus absolute risks ...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17

Tuesday’s letters: Disgraceful tax proposals

Tax billDisgraceful, harmful proposalsThe very fact that the Congress of the people of the United States would propose, not to mention pass, the current tax bill is nothing short of disgraceful. What sort of representatives of the people support cutt...
Published: 11/20/17

Monday’s letters: Doctors should speak up on harassment

Sexual harassmentDoctors need to speak upThe recent widespread recognition, followed by disapproval, of sexual harassment across many workplaces signals a paradigm shift in social attitudes toward abuse of power that is long overdue.The male-dominate...
Published: 11/17/17

Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake OkeechobeeReservoir project off to good startThis year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals a...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Sunday’s letters: Roundabout way to help the rich

Senate GOP’s tax plan to kill ACA mandate | Nov. 15Devious way to hurt middle classSo, let’s see if we have this straight. The proposed amendment to the Senate tax plan, to kill the individual mandate, will cause young people to not buy health in...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17