The stories white guys tell themselves | Aug. 12, Robyn Blumner column
Hard work, perseverance are key
Just when I thought Robyn Blumner could not prove herself any more out of touch and hopelessly partisan, her latest screed aimed at Mitt Romney's blue-collar supporters has established a new benchmark in this political season.
Not content with her not-so-subtle accusations of racism, Blumner goes on to denigrate the "struggling wage earner's" lingering belief that hard work can indeed result in success. Having moved from her job as an ACLU attorney into journalism, it is understandable that Blumner has not learned that regardless of effort, no one's success is guaranteed. Any hard-working American, regardless of the color of his or her skin or collar, has long since learned that while failure is not a "character flaw," failing to strive for success most certainly is.
The beneficial effects of college scholarships, small business loans and fair pay laws cannot be denied. However, regardless of the enterprise, it is risk-taking, hard work and perseverance that most often separates the successful from the dreamers. The idea that merely providing financial support guarantees comfort and success died years ago with the demise of the "Great Society" initiatives of the 1960s.
While Blumner touts her belief that the European model now provides more social mobility than those in America who still embrace the "self-made man myth," try telling that to the previously coddled workers in France, Italy and Greece who now riot in the streets after having been forced to face the cold reality that they will not be able to "retire" at age 52 with a fat, government-funded pension.
Robert E. Heyman, St. Petersburg
The stories white guys tell themselves Aug. 12, Robyn Blumner column
Making your own breaks
Robyn Blumner yet again misses the big picture and focuses on the top 1 percent, telling us it's a fool's errand to aspire to that level. She is correct in the sense that most of us will never get there. But what if we don't try?
One of the best things about our country has been the work ethic: If you work hard and do your best you increase your chances of success. Maybe you won't become a 1 percenter, but you can get a promotion, better pay and more sense of achievement.
What concerns me most about Blumner and President Barack Obama's position is they seem to be saying, hey, if you are a good person you deserve just as much as anybody else. It's not your fault the breaks didn't go your way, and anyway, life is unfair and the odds are stacked against you so we'll take care of you.
Life is unfair for everyone, and we all have to make our own breaks. Are some more fortunate than others? Sure, but I've also seen plenty of rich people do stupid things and end up broke. I've also seen plenty of people with little fortune work hard and make a good life they are proud of.
That's my "white guy" story, and that's my vision of the American Dream. Does the government help us in many ways? Sure, but we are the government, and we are the ones who pay for it. It frightens me to live in a country where roughly half the population does not pay for the services provided by the federal government, and then tells the other half they want more.
Doug Meyn, Tampa
A chance to clear roadside clutter Aug. 16, editorial
I can't believe that the Times would continue to support distracting billboards along I-275. How can you seriously be opposed to using telephones and texting in cars, which are definitely distracting, and in the same breath support distracting digital message boards on an expressway? If they can't all be removed, then better to keep the stationary ones in the city than increase dangers on an expressway, where vehicles travel at 60-plus mph, compared to to the slower city street speeds of about 30 mph.
John Bassett, St. Petersburg
U.S. averse to taxes, and paying for it Aug. 16, commentary
It's how you spend it
The writer is certainly correct that other countries collect more taxes. Let's look at Europe as a whole. Depending on the country, corporate tax rates are as high as 34 percent, individual income taxes can be up to 75 percent, and VAT rates max out at 27 percent.
An important fact that was not mentioned is that gasoline taxes are less than a dollar per gallon in the United States, while in Europe they have been as high as about $5 per gallon on a $10 gallon of gas. Yet in spite of collecting all of these taxes, Europe is on the brink of a financial meltdown.
So this is proof positive that it's not how much you collect, it's how you spend it. We need to get more bang for our buck. It's possible, but we need a government willing to move to the middle to solve our problems.
Richard Golden, San Antonio
Citizens' reinspections boosting bottom line Aug. 13
I own a small mobile home. Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has forced me to have five roof inspections as they continue to cancel my coverage. They nitpick and then contradict what they want and have previously said after receiving the inspections and photos. They have obviously targeted my home for policy cancellation, as Gov. Rick Scott wants them to do.
I am awaiting another private contractor inspection and to send them a fifth set of pictures and forms after the inspection is performed. This has cost me $378 so far and I am cancelled again as of Aug. 20.
Apparently my home and the $30,000 policy (which includes the home and contents) are part of the company's shrinkage that Scott has ordered. This is crazy. If a storm hits I need this insurance to keep a roof over our heads. And Citizens is the only game in town.
Richard Knapp, Safety Harbor
Immigrants' path cleared | Aug. 16
The jobs aren't there
I approve of allowing children of illegal aliens to receive a permit to work and to pay the same amount of money for colleges as U.S. citizens. They were not the ones who broke the law to enter the country. It was their parents.
On the other hand, I have a nephew and a niece who have been trying for over a year to find work after graduating from FSU. And if that was not bad enough, unemployment rates are hovering around 10 percent. I don't mind if the United States grants people amnesty as long as there is a need for extra workers. But to grant amnesty when unemployment is so high just does not make sense.
Holly Edmonds, New Port Richey