Track down fraud | July 23, letter
Crack down on Medicaid fraud
The letter about Medicare fraud was on target. What also needs mentioning is that there is plenty of fraud in Medicaid, too.
If the government would go after people who are on Medicaid or disability payments who do not qualify for either, there would be no need to talk of decreasing Social Security payments. Those Social Security checks, by the way, have been paid for by recipients for all of our working years.
Another budget savings would be if the government would stop using the U.S. military to solve other countries' problems and focus on solving our own.
Gertrude McWilliams, Valrico
Unfair division of burden
The debt limit struggle is a classic case of an alliance of large, profitable corporations and the wealthy arrayed against working Americans, the elderly, the sick and the poor.
Republicans with their "no tax increase" pledge would have us believe that asking the wealthiest Americans and corporations to pay more toward reducing the debt is somehow unacceptable. They argue that a reduction in subsidies and tax breaks will create greater unemployment and prevent the economy from growing. However, the tax breaks and subsidies are all still in place, companies are seeing impressive increases in profits, CEOs' compensation packages dwarf employees' pay increases — and yet employment fails to grow. Their argument rings hollow.
Instead of asking corporations and the wealthiest Americans to shoulder more of the burden, the GOP and the tea party prefer a proposal that would have the national debt reduced on the backs of the elderly, the poor and the handicapped.
This is unfair to the point of being absurd.
Lee Edgerley, Tampa
Ignoring the voters
The Republicans in the House are supposed to be representatives, that is, represent their constituents. Various polls show that two-thirds to 80 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, and three out of four support eliminating subsidies for oil companies. Only a minority support any kind of cuts in Medicare. Even the Republican antitax guru, Grover Norquist, has said that not continuing a tax cut is not technically a tax increase. So why are these legislators continuing to hold on to the idea that increasing revenue is a bad idea?
At the same time, spending on our three wars continues to be financed with borrowed money.
The Republicans in Congress have turned a deaf ear to the people who constitute their party, except for the extreme fringe. They certainly aren't listening to the majority who elected them.
Anita Jimenez, Ruskin
Extremes unfit to govern
Candidates for office are selected by the extreme ends of their parties and elected by the 40 percent of voters with no political representation in the selection of candidates.
Independents are forced to choose from either the extreme right or the extreme left in the general election. Once the extreme selects its champion, that candidate appears to modify his views to be more acceptable to the independent, but he owes his living to the extremes. We're left with people unfit to govern, as our current situation demonstrates.
We need a large and viable third party with enough votes to move this country out of gridlock. Take the power away from the extremists who time and again select candidates who are unable to compromise their positions if they ever want to selected for office again.
The way the system works now, it appears a third party could never come to power, but a third party could shift the government off the uncompromising gridlock we have witnessed since 2010.
Harry E. Hackney, Spring Hill
Common sense called for
Words can barely describe my sense of disgust with both political parties in their failure to reach agreement on the debt ceiling. World and domestic markets are poised for massive downfall, taking with them trillions of dollars in savings and investments. Both political parties fiddle while Rome burns.
I consider myself a lifelong Republican, but the time may be right for a commonsense third party that doesn't pander to the politics of the moment such as the tea party crowd or the extreme left wing. This party would recognize that spending cuts and selective tax increases is the way out of this mess that Washington created. It's time to quit fooling the public that we can have it all — and by the way it's all free.
It's time for both parties to do their jobs, quit playing politics, and get down to business. Otherwise, November 2012 will be disastrous for incumbents of both parties.
Steve Feigenbaum, Tampa
Doctors want to know about guns | July 24
Obstacles to care
If the new "gun owners' privacy" law sets any precedent, physicians may have an even more difficult time taking care of patients. Different rights groups may become offended if we ask about sexual preference, sexual habits, eating and alcoholic drinking behavior, driving habits and, of course, the old given, smoking.
I don't have any gun "qualifications" and I don't own a gun, but I do know that you don't show a loaded gun to anyone. Apparently some gun owners don't.
David Lubin, M.D., Tampa
Working people pay
I am fed up with the lies that our congressional representatives tell that 47 percent of Americans pay no tax. The fact is every American who works pays Social Security tax, Medicare, gasoline tax, sales tax, property tax and all of those so-called fees that the state raises when they need revenue.
Now, they do not pay federal income tax because they have nothing at the end of the year to give to the federal government. You cannot squeeze blood from a turnip.
The tea party representatives always talk about broadening the tax base, which means taxing the working poor. These are the same people who are against raising taxes no matter what. I also believe everyone should pay income tax, but the way you do it is with better jobs and higher wages. To the so-called job creators: Pay your workers more if you want them to pay federal income tax.
Mark Williams, Dade City