Democracy's failure to reverse inequality | May 15, commentary
The right tools to fight inequality
I hate to think that war is the only great equalizer.
The world's leading economists have established that some inequality is inevitable as a side effect of capitalism. But the inequality we are witnessing is egregious and intolerable. It is probably correct that raising taxes on the top 1 percent will do little to nothing to correct this.
The solution can only be to improve the quality of life of the ones who cannot make a decent living. Raising the minimum wage is one important tool, although it faces stiff resistance. The argument that jobs will be destroyed if the minimum wage is increased is simply not true.
A look overseas to Germany, for example, show us that good wages and a prosperous economy can coexist. At any rate, one must realize that overworked underpaid workers cannot stimulate the economy since they barely make it to the end of the month with basic necessities. Giving them decent wages will not only make them better off but also happier workers, and this will rub off on their family life.
Another tool for better life is Medicare for all. It takes away any anxiety of falling sick and not being able to get treatment, and it will stop bankrupting families through no fault of their own.
The tools to reduce inequality are available; it is the will to tackle it that is missing.
Patrick Bauer, Wesley Chapel
A politician in denial | May 13, editorial
Put a price on carbon
It is true, as Sen. Marco Rubio indicates, that the climate is always changing; however, it is also true that measurements and observations of the natural forces that cause those changes all indicate the climate should be cooling. Since the world is in fact warming, man has overwhelmed the natural forces that normally cause climate change.
If Rubio cannot understand global warming, he should be left behind in the discussion on what to do about it. Subsidies are a bad idea. The marketplace should pick the winners, not the government.
Emission control is also a poor choice. If you try to control my emissions, I'll just tie you up in court. Cap-and-trade requires that somebody set and enforce the caps. It hasn't worked in the past, and we shouldn't bet that it will work in the future.
A revenue-neutral carbon tax, or carbon fee and dividend program, is the government solution that will best fight global warming, and it will also fix the economy. Let's have the discussion, and soon.
Susan and John Darovec, Bradenton
Keep right and let them pass | May 14, letter
Passing, left and right
Often, to avoid needless aggravation or road rage, I have sped up in the right lane to allow another driver to pass the slow driver in the left passing lane. One night while crossing the Gandy Bridge, after I did just that, I slowed down after the faster vehicle passed the guy in the left lane.
To my surprise, the unmarked police vehicle behind me lit up and went after the guy I let pass. In reality, the ticket should have been given to the person driving 50 mph in the passing lane, but alas, the infraction is not against the law nor are fines levied for said conduct in Florida.
Kathy Berryman, Tampa
Not so fast
People are driving their cars like guided missiles. The speed limit should be 60 mph. That's a mile a minute and should be fast enough.
Our roads would be safer, not to mention the gas savings.
Roger Lind, Port Richey
Time to intensify startup culture | May 15
Play to region's advantages
Stories about high-tech startups and the entrepreneurial investor shortage in our area illuminate our challenges and advantages.
Trying to compete with New England or Silicon Valley to attract high-tech startup investors, and genius engineers, is a loser. We don't have the educational infrastructure to support their needs, and our regional politics and ignorance are offensive to educated people. So our major strategy to lure them is to bribe them with tax credits.
We do, however, have an alternative advantage. Opportunities abound in industries that don't require college degrees, and there are no shortage of sustainable models that only need a champion and a little help.
We should encourage a climate of sustainable startups and developing businesses that create jobs for the chronically unemployed. That is one resource we have in abundance.
Cleaning up our environment, making our communities more attractive, and providing a high quality of life for our citizens is our only chance of convincing high-tech companies to locate here in paradise.
Kurt Steinmann, Belleair
Father: Teens scared of mom | May 14
While following the tragic Schenecker case, my heart aches for all of the family members and community. In reporting on the trial, was it necessary to include the statement that the lawyers did not ask Parker Schenecker "why had he trusted his wife to take care of" their children?
The article points out that "neither the prosecutors nor defense attorneys asked him that question." Seems the lawyers had the decency to leave that insensitive and unnecessary remark out of the trial. Good for them.
Jane Garland, Tampa
ACLU: Single-gender schools discriminate May 14
I recently toured Tampa's single-gender Franklin Middle School and could not have been more impressed. It is obvious that these teaching professionals are excited and eager to teach, and many hours have been spent setting this program up in order to challenge and engage each student.
The boys were equally as excited and can't wait to start the new school year. This school is doing so well that every year more people apply.
Jesuit and Academy of the Holy Names are two of the best schools in this area, if not in the state, and they are single-gender.
It is awesome that these kids will have access to the same type of education that is producing our future leaders of tomorrow.