Wages shrinking for Floridians | July 7
Low-wage jobs aren't the answer
I'm glad the university where I took economics didn't employ University of Florida economics professor Larry Kenny, or anyone like him. In this Times article on falling wages in Florida, Kenny said he thought it was a good thing.
To be kind, I will say that Kenny is overly optimistic in his opinion that low wages will help our economy. Although he may be right on his point that a decline in wages might create more jobs, it's doubtful that low wages could ever help pull the country out of recession.
Some argue our nation is still in a recession, while others say we are headed into another one. Regardless, the nation cannot come out of recession or avert one without economic growth.
Economic growth is expressed as growth in the gross domestic product, which measures the production of goods and services in this country. About two-thirds of our GDP is consumer spending. A consumer is merely an American with a job and a paycheck that is sufficient to cover basic bills and allow for discretionary spending on goods and services.
Although a low-wage job might enable some people to get off food stamps, they will likely not spend much more on groceries, or anything else, than they were before. People with low wages can barely make ends meet. They simply don't have the money to spend our nation out of recession.
It will take Americans with living-wage jobs that provide enough income for significant discretionary spending to pull this nation out of recession.
Lin Young, St. Petersburg
Housing plan targets chronically homeless July 8
Protecting the vulnerable
How encouraging to read of plans for our homeless population by a collaboration of private sector executives, county officials and a nonprofit. I applaud their humane efforts to protect our most vulnerable neighbors, those chronically homeless with mental health issues.
My enthusiasm is tempered, knowing the disappointment and sense of futility for the remaining homeless brothers and sisters with no hope on the horizon. For homeless children, a five-year wait for their own home represents an eternity.
Without timely intervention, newly homeless can easily become chronically homeless. My highest immediate concern is our collective sense of urgency to address the needs of the remaining 17,800 homeless, many with minimal needs — housing, utility and security deposits, furniture, etc. Today, agencies including Homeless Recovery Program, Homeless Coalition and Metropolitan Ministries have hundreds of qualified individuals as well as families awaiting housing. They lack only a public/private partnership to step up and pool financial resources on their clients' behalf.
For a single homeless family, our faith community is implementing a multiagency public and private pooling of resources to "adopt a family" — providing the financial support, resources and case management to stabilize a formerly homeless family of four (single mother and three children). Our investment in this family, implemented over nine months, is approximately $10,000 per family unit of four. This compares to $87,500 per individual for housing alone with the proposed Mental Health Care model.
What is needed today is a "Housing First Hotline" — a properly staffed, centralized resource clearinghouse, empowered to match the specific needs of prescreened, qualified referred individuals or families with community resources to stabilize them.
Michael Doyle, Tampa
Didn't send your kid to war? Maybe you can send money | July 5
Serve by giving
Having served my country for 31 years as a U.S. Marine, I was excited to hear someone propose the idea of families donating to the military.
I understand that many who would be willing to serve have medical conditions that preclude them from doing so. With today's all-volunteer military, this would be an excellent way for all nonserving Americans, past or present, to acknowledge those who have elected to serve their country in uniform.
God bless all those who have served or are now in service to their country.
W.W. McIver, Lt. Col., U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), Tampa
Utility union sheds CEO | July 4
I think it's pretty clear after reading about some of the things going on in the merger of Duke and Progress Energy that the name of the new company should be DUPE. I bet that the board of Progress Energy sure feels like they got duped.
Michael Sims, Palm Harbor
Strict ID laws could block legitimate votes July 9
It's easy to vote by mail
This article showed how legitimate voters throughout the nation could be prevented from voting by new laws that require a government-issued picture ID to cast a ballot. We have such a requirement here in Florida, but for voters who are already registered, there is a way around it. It's called vote by mail.
All that registered voters need to do is contact their county's supervisor of elections office by phone or Internet and request that a ballot be mailed. The ballot will arrive about 30 days before the election. Voters can fill out the ballot in the comfort and privacy of their home and either mail the ballot back to the elections office or bring it to that office or other designated dropoff location before closing time on election day.
It's that simple, and the process does not require that voters show a picture ID.
Jim Jacobs, Tampa
Economic paralysis has roots reaching to the '60s | July 9, commentary
Citizenship is a bargain
First, I would like to thank Robert Samuelson for stating in a roundabout way that our current economic slump is not President Barack Obama's fault. Beyond that, I wish he would have stated that the tax rate on top earnings was never below 70 percent in the '60s.
Balanced budgets may be a good idea, but you cannot talk about balancing the budget and getting rid of deficits out of one side of your mouth then talk about tax cuts out of the other.
The privilege of being an American and living in the United States is the bargain of a century. Like Ernest Hooper saw on a bumper sticker: Good Roads Cost Money, Poor Roads Cost More.
Nina Tatlock, Apollo Beach