Debt numbers are big; real problem is less so | Jan. 9, commentary
Basic arithmetic trumps rhetoric
This is an article that every Democrat and Republican voter should read before deciding whom to vote for to be president. And it does not require any specific education to understand — just common sense.
As the authors state, basic arithmetic can liberate us from silly rhetoric, and that is what I find is the basis today for pronouncements from both political parties. The "gut" of this excellent article is expressed in this statement: "It is counterproductive to balance the budget by reducing growth-enhancing investments in math and science education, road and bridge repairs, or broadband capacity."
If growth-enhancing investments are made with the agreement of both political parties, even though the debt is not substantially reduced each year, our future is not to be feared; it is a future to look forward to. Basic arithmetic is all you need to know.
Donald W. Chandler, Clearwater
Debt numbers are big; real problem is less so Jan. 9, commentary
Nation saddled with debt
Debt as a percentage of GDP is now just over 100 percent. The authors use a "conservative estimate" of 2 percent future GDP growth rate to aid their argument that debt is insignificant, and that we should continue to create more debt (print money out of thin air) to pay down the debt as well as to fund more education and infrastructure projects.
But a society saturated in debt cannot grow. Just look at Greece, Italy, Spain and other European nations whose debt as a percentage of GDP is over 100 percent.
The fact is that globalism has pillaged our economy, and what we are left with is a sand castle economy that cannot withstand the piling on of more long-term debt for minor short-term gains.
Alex Vann, Brooksville
FBI says man planned terror | Jan. 10
Betrayal of Islamic ideals
As a Muslim American, I am saddened to hear the news of the arrest of Sami Osmakac, who was accused plotting terrorist attacks in Tampa. What makes me sad is not his arrest, but him attributing his acts to Islam. In a video, he claimed that Muslim blood is more valuable than that of people who do not believe in Islam.
He should deeply reflect on Koran, which while promoting the sanctity of life — "whosoever killed a person, it shall be if he had killed the entire mankind; and whoso saved a life, it shall be if he had saved the entire mankind" — does not differentiate between Muslim and non-Muslim blood.
He has not only been disloyal to his country, but with the charge that he planned to act against the Koranic instruction to Muslims not to create disorder in the Earth, he has also been disloyal to his faith.
Nasir Ahmad, M.D., Tinton Falls, N.J.
Stand up for tax fairness | Jan. 8, editorial
Tax laws need updating
It's sad that our governor and many in the Legislature think that enforcing the "use tax" portion of the sales and use tax law is a new tax. It's been a complement to the sales tax since 1950. It levels the playing field for in-state businesses with out-of-state businesses that sell to customers here.
The problem is that we have tax laws that haven't been updated to reflect changing times. When the use tax was enacted, personal computers didn't exist, the Internet didn't exist, and most people paid with cash.
We need a Legislature willing to update our tax code and collection laws to the 21st century. We need a Legislature willing to look at all the special exemptions in the sales and use tax law and ask themselves if these exemptions are in the best interests of all citizens of the state. We need a Legislature to actually do its job and not just take easy, perceived fixes such as expanding gambling and cutting, cutting, cutting.
Randy Eisenberg, Valrico
My nightmare at Guantanamo Jan. 10, commentary
Apology is in order
We have seen others who were finally released after years at Guantanamo. Releasing them earlier might have made someone look "soft on terrorism." We know that some were turned in by their neighbors who held a grudge against them or wanted their land. We can do little to replace their lost years.
However, I am concerned that Mitt Romney brags in his commercials that he would never apologize for America. Assuming that everything in this column is true, wouldn't a simple apology from America be appropriate? Perhaps the least we could do?
Refusing to ever apologize smacks of arrogance, a policy more appropriate for the Roman Empire than a country founded on freedom.
Peter S. Cohoon, Tampa
Keep endgame in mind with Rays Jan. 10, John Romano column
Keep the Rays in Pinellas
I live in Tampa, but Pinellas County needs a win on the new stadium location. This market is too small to alienate the Rays' best and longest-serving fans.
Put the stadium in Pinellas between I-275 and Gandy Boulevard and help St. Petersburg to annex the area and everybody wins. The edges of downtown Tampa are no better or safer than the current Tropicana site. The fairgrounds are far for everyone. Ask the Bucs if a Tampa location is the magic bullet for attendance.
St. Petersburg/Pinellas built it and the Rays came. Now the Rays are getting all grown up and need their space, but not too much and not too far away. This is a family game.
David Reddy, Tampa
Muslim speaker upsets critic | Jan. 10
Religion doesn't belong
David Caton has a point. If the public school system allows a Muslim leader to speak at a high school, then there should be equal time to counter this message.
But why are we having representatives of religions come to any public school? Last I heard we have a separation of church and state.
Irmgard Knorr, Sun City Center