Saturday, November 25, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: College inflation fueled by loans


Paul Ryan still a fan of Rand | Aug. 19, Bill Maxwell column

College inflation fueled by loans

I often agree with or respect Bill Maxwell's articles, but this opinion piece is not one of them. In it, he strongly disagrees with Paul Ryan's position that increased federal funding for student loans has led to a steady rise in tuition charged by universities and colleges.

Yet on the front page of Perspective, where the feature article discusses the cost of tuition at USF, one graph clearly shows support for Ryan's position and refutes Maxwell's. It shows that since the mid 1980s, while the Consumer Price Index has risen 125 percent, tuition and fees nationwide have risen 570 percent — twice the increase in medical costs.

When you know your student customer base has access to federal education loans and no longer has to rely exclusively on Mom and Dad and a part-time job, you bet the tuition and fees are going to go up. Basic economics says the more money your customers have to spend the more you charge them for the products.

Jack Brand, Hudson

Paul Ryan still a fan of Rand Aug. 19, Bill Maxwell column

Convenient conversion

Thank you for Bill Maxwell's column regarding the Republican candidate for vice president. As Maxwell says, this man is a lifelong follower of Ayn Rand. Any attempt to slide away from his history must be viewed as fraud and subterfuge. He and those of his political party are out to not only destroy the middle class but public education, Medicare and Social Security too.

Maxwell's column should be required reading for all in this country who intend to vote in November.

Barbara Hodges, Tarpon Springs

$20,000 | Aug. 19

USF is a bargain

Your Sunday Perspective on the high cost of college commits a cardinal sin of journalism: skewing facts to fit a predetermined story or cultural prejudice. The giant $20,000 banner shouts the cost of a year at USF, except that $13,060 (64 percent) of that figure is made up of "housing, meals and personal expenses." Last I heard, you still have to pay for these things whether you're at USF or not. Not to mention the fact that a very large percentage of the school's students are commuters. Of course an honest $7,334 banner might have evoked the exact opposite reaction to what you intended.

Then after noting that 45 out of 50 states have higher college tuition than Florida, the piece juxtaposes that with "Yes but …" and a graph of how high the national rate of inflation has been for colleges. Why didn't you add a third line showing how dramatically Florida had bucked this trend over the same time period? That's the real positive story here.

USF is a bargain. It offers educational excellence far beyond what can reasonably be expected for the funding it receives. It is a critical economic engine for the future of Tampa Bay, and at a time when the state's Republicans want to "improve" education by gutting it, needs all the help it can get.

An interesting college story that needs to be investigated is how the explosion in the number and pay of administrators in colleges over the last 20 years has contributed to that insane national rate of inflation.

Robert Clark, Tampa

What? The stimulus worked | Aug. 19

A million little stimuli

My sister and her husband have a small business. It started out as auto glass but had to diversify to window glass to survive competition from franchises of the insurance companies. The winter after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was implemented, I asked her if their business was doing okay. She assured me they were; in fact, they had won a couple of bids for upgrading windows in local schools and had to hire some extra help.

No, this piece of the stimulus didn't create a million jobs, but those school districts are saving money on heating costs and my sister was able to keep her trained workers through the worst of the recession. My guess is that there are literally millions of similar stories out there. I just wish more of those who benefited would tell their stories.

Pamela Muller, St. Petersburg

Campaign 2012

Electoral dysfunction

Not only is this election cycle producing more extreme statements and positions, but our entire electoral process is showing severe signs of stress. That stress has created a dysfunctional electoral process.

• Voter turnout: Less than 60 percent of voters will bother to turn out for the general election in November. Changes need to be made to promote higher voter turnout, including Saturday and Sunday voting, or making Election Day a national holiday.

• No paper trail: Until there is a foolproof paper trail, there will be doubt about the veracity of the vote. Computer experts have indicated that voting machines can be hacked to throw elections.

• Electoral College: The Electoral College needs to be abolished. If we want a true representative democracy, the person who gets the most votes ought to be elected.

• Voter repression: This has reared its ugly head again in states with Republican majorities in their legislatures and Republican governors. We have voted for our entire history without the need for photo ID. There is no voter fraud sufficient to suppress the votes of thousands who will lose their legitimate right to vote.

Mark Brandt, Dunedin

Matter of fairness

Under normal circumstances Mitt Romney's tax returns are not relevant; he is just another citizen paying the legal rates. But he is running for president. It is important to know what he is paying. The question is not whether he is paying the legal rate, but a fair rate.

When I consider candidates for the presidency, I would like to know they are batting for the people, not their bank account.

Carlo Salmeri, Seminole

Republican National Convention

Crimes, not protests

I am becoming seriously concerned about the proposed antics of the "protesters" coming to the Republican convention. Someone was stockpiling bricks on the roof of a building in the convention area. Another protester was quoted as saying "We won't target ordinary citizens." It sounds as if they are going to target law enforcement officers.

A brick thrown from a multistory building is a deadly weapon. I hope that the local law enforcement agencies in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties recognize these actions as such and don't just treat them as normal protesters.

Alfred J. D'Amario, Hudson


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...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/24/17

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...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/24/17

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’ "...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/24/17

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