Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Don't put president above the law

White House aides were told of IRS audit | May 21

Don't put president above the law

The White House chief of staff and the White House counsel knew a month ago that something was amiss at the IRS but decided not to inform the president. The reason is purely political: "plausible deniability." If the president doesn't know, he cannot be blamed. It's a political tactic both Republican and Democratic administrations have used.

But there is a much more serious issue here we all should consider. If one cannot use the old idea that "ignorance of the law is no excuse" as a defense in a court, then what makes plausible deniability okay?

Last time I looked, the president is not above the law.

Peter Klingman, Tampa

British system worked well | May 22, letter

Someone has to pay

Socialized medicine for all is not free. I'm glad the writer received such good care in Britain. The question is: What is he willing to pay for that care to be free in America? If he makes $50,000 per year, is he willing to pay an extra 10 percent tax ($5,000) or 20 percent ($10,000) for that free care? It has to come from somewhere.

James Molloy, Pinellas Park

Obama to graduates: No time for excuses May 21

Father of the decade

Thank you for sharing President Barack Obama's speech to the graduates of Morehouse College. As we approach Sunday, June 16, I nominate him for "Father of the Decade." Over the last six or seven years, we have seen how he has been a role model as a father to his daughters.

As he stated in the Morehouse address, "Be the best father you can be to your children, because nothing is more important."

If all fathers in the United States follow his example, our nation will indeed be more morally, mentally and economically stable and strong.

Gerald Buchert, St. Petersburg

Insurer gets $52M deal | May 23

Risky business

While Citizens Property Insurance Corp. continues to find "creative" ways to lessen its potential risk, it doesn't seem to mind shifting that risk onto current policyholders by sending them to takeout companies with no history of paying claims.

Shifting $400 million of risk onto a company (Heritage Insurance) with $60 million in capital (as opposed to Citizens' $6.4 billion in reserves) doesn't seem like a good risk for the policyholders. Too bad Citizens' policyholders weren't consulted during the "due diligence" phase.

I think anyone who accepts this state-funded approach to switch to Heritage Insurance should weigh their own risk in getting hold of an agent in case of need.

Dave McCubbin, Palm Harbor

Greasing the wheels

I have spent my life building businesses but never knew how much time and effort I have been wasting. You don't have to work hard, invest, advertise and build customer base. Heck no.

You start a company, give lots of money to the governor and his cronies in Tallahassee, and lo and behold, a $52 million contract falls in your lap in your first year of business. Bad track record? No problem. Give a little bit more and it will be ignored.

Would that the high-speed rail companies and Amazon had used the same business plan. Florida would have had an extra 30,000 jobs by now.

Keith Fraser, Madeira Beach

IRS official defends self, takes Fifth | May 23

Selective outrage

I find it interesting that Republicans are scandalized anew by the decision by Lois Lerner to refuse to answer their questions by citing the Fifth Amendment. Where was the outrage in 2007 when Monica Goodling pleaded the Fifth numerous times in the investigation into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys?

And closer to home, which of them were skeptical of Gov. Rick Scott when he invoked the Fifth 75 times during the investigation into the largest Medicare fraud in history? I guess it just depends on who's asking the hard questions.

Jackie Gavrian, Tampa

System invites abuse

One question that I have not seen addressed regarding the IRS scandal is why such politically inclined organizations need to have tax-exempt status. Why should there be a 501(c)(4) tax exemption? The present complex system invites abuse. This time it was conservative organizations. Under different circumstances, it could have been liberal organizations. One outcome of this IRS issue could be that we re-examine tax exemption for any such organization, conservative or liberal.

Even better would be to do away with the IRS and implement the Fair Tax, which would take away the opportunity for this to happen again. We should go beyond just punishing the wrongdoers and implement a system that does not allow this sort of misuse of power.

David Hagan, Tampa

'Scrap the cap' puts Social Security at risk May 20, commentary

Support for Social Security

The writers' arguments against "scrapping the cap" on Social Security contain too many faulty suppositions. Despite the contention that all is okay as is, the Social Security fund will clearly have a deficit problem as more baby boomers retire; "scrapping the cap" now will fix that. The longer we wait to fix it, the harder the fix will be.

The writers assert that requiring the super wealthy to pay the same payroll tax rate as everyone else would be unfair because they will get a lower rate of return than the average Joe. Well, Social Security is society's financial safety net for all citizens, not an investment program. The wealthy have other investment opportunities. Higher earners within the existing cap have always received a lower return than lower earners. That didn't change the system from an entitlement to a welfare system, and extending the tax burden equally to the super rich won't either.

The related claim that the self-employed would be hurt by "scrapping the cap" ignores the fact that the vast majority of self-employed make less than the cap now, so only the wealthiest of the self-employed would be impacted.

Jerry Stephens, Riverview

Comments

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant As a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant tin rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from my home. It will run 1.4 mile...
Published: 05/21/18

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Friday’s letters: Putnam and Publix, two P’s lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17A pleasure to shop elsewhereMy family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye.Firs...
Published: 05/18/18

Saturday’s letters: For Florida to move forward, focus on a healthy and sustainable environment

Tampa’s future is bright | May 12Protect Florida, boost economyThis past year, Florida set another record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming more than 116 million visitors. While Florida boasts a unique quality of life and more than 1,300 miles...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Sunday’s letters: What conservatives stand for

How can conservatism survive after Trump | May 13, Nickens columnhed#6324 I think it obvious that traditional conservatism was squeezed out of the 2016 campaign narrative and has become a niche thesis owned by a small group of intellectuals. A gr...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Friday's letters: Putnam and Publix, two P's lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17 A pleasure to shop elsewhere My family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye. F...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 18

Re: Pasco panel okays Tampa Electric solar farm after five-hour meeting | April 9 storySolar farm offers many positivesThere has been much publicity regarding the proposed TECO Mountain View solar project slated for 350 acres in East Pasco that was r...
Published: 05/14/18

Thursday’s letters: Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America

Autonomous vehicles in FloridaThe state for self-driving carsAlmost overnight, Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America. In the last three months, Voyage, a self-driving taxi service, has begun service in the Villag...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: Florida’s Community Health Centers save $1.78 for every dollar spent

Florida’s Community Health CentersHealth centers are a great dealIf you gave someone a dollar and they gave you back $1.78, wouldn’t you consider that a fantastic deal? That’s the deal Florida’s Community Health Centers provide for the state’s citize...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/16/18