Saturday, June 23, 2018
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: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

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 ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

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