On Obama's watch, the U.S. economy | June 3, PolitiFact
Look to information, not rhetoric
Thank you for the PolitiFact scorecard. It will be well worth keeping and referring to over the summer. I sincerely hope you continue.
I am an independent, longtime native Floridian who strongly believes in the intelligent use of the right and responsibility each of us has to cast our vote. To date, however, I am frustrated at the noisy and viral accusations, innuendo and negativity from both political parties, all cable news and print media, voicemail, Facebook, Twitter and the like besieging us with their lies and biased agendas.
If you are a low-voltage voter, or angry at some of the issues or personalities, shame on you if you don't even care enough to read Sunday's Perspective. It is chock full of facts, data and statistics that can be understood by any voter with as little as an eighth-grade education.
I am proud of my right to vote, and for the past half-century I have cast each vote to the best of my ability. And thanks to the Tampa Bay Times, I can now look forward these next five months as you continue to "sort out the truth in politics."
Ronn Ginn, St. Petersburg
On Obama's watch, the U.S. economy June 3, PolitiFact
Economy was in a free fall
PolitiFact has hit a new low with its scorecard on the state of the U.S. economy under President Barack Obama's watch. This is a prime example of how numbers can be made to prove any point. No consideration was given to the momentum toward disaster in the years before 2008. The economy was in free fall.
Just like a ship steaming towards an iceberg, you can reverse the engines but momentum will still carry the ship toward catastrophe. The fact that we have avoided the disaster befalling Europe (all cuts and no stimulus spending) is a great credit to this administration despite the uncooperative congressional right wing.
Cali Capkanis, St. Pete Beach
A few interesting things to note from the PolitiFact article:
First, there are 22 million government jobs, compared to 111 million private sector ones. That's about 1 in 5 — so much for "smaller government." Also, we have 4 million fewer jobs now than in 2008, when unemployment was 5 percent.
Meanwhile, corporate profits have gone from $1.2 trillion in 2008 to $1.9 trillion in 2011. With $700 billion in additional profit, American businesses could reduce unemployment by hiring, but they refuse to do that or pay decent wages. That has kept this nation in a long recession.
It should also be pointed out that last month Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard, announced the layoff of 27,000 workers while the country added only 69,000 net jobs, thus sending stocks tumbling. Corporate greed is killing the economy, not President Barack Obama.
John T. Rice, Safety Harbor
Romney's entitlement: win for losing June 3, Robyn Blumner column
Welfare for the wealthy
Here in Florida we have our own version of welfare for the wealthy. When you buy anything that is taxable, pretty much everything except food, you pay a 6 percent Florida state sales tax.
There is one other big exception and that is when you purchase a new yacht or private jet. A few years back the Republican-led Florida Legislature decided to cap sales tax on luxury yachts and planes at $18,000.
A very cursory search online reveals many yachts for sale in Florida for prices into the tens of millions of dollars. When a $200 million dollar yacht sells in Florida (and they do), the state should rake in $12 million in sales tax, but instead the state settles for a mere $18,000. If you are lucky enough to have $200 million for a yacht, you should have the money to pay the sales tax just like everyone else.
F.M. Younglove, Brandon
Clear out billboard clutter | June 6, editorial
Do away with them all
What a treat it would be to drive around without being assaulted by visual blight.
At the risk of hearing "we don't care how you do it up North," the state of Vermont has the right idea: There is no billboard advertising anywhere, even in the cities, just discreet signs directing you to restaurants, shops, etc.
Sue E. Conrad, North Redington Beach
Tax cuts haven't worked
If tax cuts for the wealthy (the "job creators") result in jobs, why is anyone unemployed after a decade of the Bush tax cuts? We should have job surpluses and high wages.
More expendable income for the wealthy does not equal more jobs, more consumption, or more anything. It just takes away from the middle class, while the poorest classes grow and the needs of the many explode.
People seem to vote against their best interests, imagining that they themselves might someday be wealthy and won't want to be taxed when they earn their millions.
Rich folks do not create jobs, consumers do. If you don't have money, you can't consume. If people without money get it, they spend it. People who don't need it just stash it in a tax-free investment. This doesn't create jobs.
Barbara Lewis, Tampa
Protect precious resource
On June 23, the Florida Conservation Coalition and its partner are hosting an event — Speak Up for Silver Springs and Florida's Waters — at Silver River State Park. This gathering (details: floridaconservationcoalition.org) will serve to educate the public about the importance of our natural resources and to engage citizens in a campaign to protect and restore the health of Florida's imperiled waterways.
The FCC was founded by former Sen. Bob Graham and conservation organizations to ensure that safeguards are in place to protect and properly manage Florida's water resources and our rich natural environment. The FCC and its members are dismayed by the poor water quality conditions that exist throughout the state. We are concerned about the threats to environmental safeguards and our groundwater. The dramatic degradation of the iconic Silver Springs is of particular concern.
However, this is about much more than just Silver Springs. This is a call to action for all of Florida's rivers, lakes, springs and aquifers. Water is the lifeblood of Florida's economy and essential to our health and quality of life.
Jimmy Orth and Estus Whitfield, Florida Conservation Coalition, Jacksonville