It pays to invest in children
Amid the partisanship in Washington, there is something a majority of people of all political stripes care about: high-quality early childhood education. Three national polls conducted this summer show that Americans strongly support public investment in young children. Yes, it's a tough fiscal climate, but the polls, along with the work of noted economists, show this should not be a tough decision for policymakers.
Florida has made progress in early childhood education, but too many children lack access to high-quality early learning experiences. Families have difficulties finding and affording quality early childhood programs, and many children came to kindergarten this year behind their peers who did have access to programs that support their developmental and learning readiness.
Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio should vote to end the flawed sequestration and support the economically sound expansion of access to quality programs for children in their first five years. We can make smart investments now, or pay much more later because we didn't seize an opportunity to come together for the sake of our children and our economy.
On an issue where so many people agree, and where we know how to provide high-quality early childhood education, this should be a no-brainer and an opportunity for bipartisan congressional action.
Suzanne Gellens, executive director, Florida Association for the Education of Young Children, Tampa
Amazon center on way | Oct. 11
Jobs for whom?
It is a wonderful thing to see a company the size of Amazon coming to the area and providing 1,000 much-needed jobs.
My hope is that someone will oversee the hiring so that qualified American citizens get these jobs and not so much as one single illegal or undocumented person is employed.
A couple of times in past American history when our unemployment rates were so high our president sent visiting foreigners home — legal or not.
We have 11 million illegals. What are we waiting for?
Chuck Fuller, Riverview
Damage has been done
At this point it really won't matter if Congress and the White House agree on a plan to extend the debt ceiling. Already the European Union, International Monetary Fund and major creditors, represented by China, have stated that U.S. leadership in the world economy has been dealt a serious blow.
We have criticized the European Union, Russia and China as having unstable economic systems. Now these economies are sneering at the United States because our democratic system has failed us and brought us to the brink of financial ruin.
Ron Frankel, St. Petersburg
Young to retire | Oct. 9
Spending us into crisis
Your newspaper is making a hero out of Congressman C.W. Bill Young, simply because he delivered quite a sum of money to his home district. Those were taxpayer dollars.
This is precisely the reason our country is in a financial bind today. Wake up and tell your readers the truth.
Edward Leonard Flom, Tampa
Insult to those who served
How awful that our veterans who gave so much for our freedom were not allowed, by this administration, to view the memorial honoring their service and valor fighting to protect our freedom in World War II.
I applaud the many Americans who came to their assistance by taking down the barricades and allowing the veterans, many in wheelchairs and well into their 90s, to gain access to the outdoor memorial.
Many veterans came from all across our country and were stopped just outside the memorial. How disgusting to do this to those who gave so much.
Lt. Col. Carmen LaBianca, USMC (Ret.), Largo
Pay for play
This might sound obvious, but if the government can pay employees to keep our parks and monuments closed, why can't it pay them to keep the parks and monuments open?
Kenneth R. Gilder, St. Petersburg
Florida backs flood lawsuit | Oct. 11
Human toll of flood rates
I have seen the face of this flood insurance debacle, and it is frightening. Our St. Pete Beach neighborhood association held a meeting last week that included a Q&A with local officials about the Biggert-Waters impact.
Over 60 percent of the attendees were retirees, nearly all of whom bought their modest, non-waterfront houses in our neighborhood in the late 1950s. When told that not only will their flood insurance rates be raised by 25 percent per year but that they will be unable to sell their homes because of the immediate $15,000 per year insurance rates the new homebuyer will inherit, we all heard a collective gasp from the entire audience.
As the meeting was breaking up, a 90-year-old widow who bought her little 1,200-square-foot bungalow in 1956 was on the verge of tears. She told me she has been wanting to sell her house and can't afford the insurance increase and asked me what she should do.
It darn near broke my heart to tell her there was nothing that could be done. Hers is the real face of this terrible bill, not the 5 percent of the wealthier waterfront homeowners.
Gregory Premer, St. Pete Beach
Hallmarks of decline | Oct. 14, letter
A wealth of problems
This letter asks whether the United States is heading in the direction of becoming a Third World country, giving an excellent listing of the hallmarks.
However, there was one missing: A major part of the nation's wealth is held by a small number of its citizens.
Donald W. Chandler, Clearwater