We support full-year extension of tax cut | Dec. 26, letter
Paying for tax breaks is the issue
While we all tip our hats to Republican U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Richard Nugent and C.W. Bill Young for their calls to extend the "payroll tax cut" for a full year, they seem to miss the point of why the two-month extension came to be. The tax cuts, Medicare payments and benefits to the unemployed were all championed by both parties. What stopped the process was the inability to come up with a commonsense solution on how to pay for it all.
While the Democrats offered a balanced approach of spending cuts and revenue increases, the GOP refused to touch the revenue side of the equation. The GOP seems to have an easy time complaining about budget deficits, but a tougher time actually finding the will to address the challenges those deficits incur.
Jim Harvey, Tampa
We support full-year extension of tax cut Dec. 26, letter
No confidence in Congress
The letter to the editor submitted by Reps. Bilirakis, Nugent and Young is insulting to the average American. Let's be simple and direct. The Republican answer is to freeze wages on government workers instead of increasing taxes on the most wealthy Americans.
Also, more than one Republican-sponsored bill went after so-called "entitlement" expenses like Social Security. I could not be more offended by this. Social Security is funded by the dollars that came directly out of my pay and that of millions of Americans. Our Congress has for years played politics rather than protect the dollars we pay into Social Security.
This Congress has consistently voted to not increase taxes on the top 1 percent of Americans, who have tripled their wealth in the past 30 years. In that same time, the average American has gone in the opposite direction. I strongly suggest that our esteemed congressmen go back to work in January and start actually representing the 99 percent whom they should be serving.
I do agree with the congressmen that constituents are looking for greater certainty. I would add that we would like to have more confidence in our Congress to do the right thing and stop the politics. Americans are hurting.
Gurn Freeman, Palm Harbor
Listen to the people instead
The congressmen wrote that "throughout the past year we have been listening to business owners."
That's the problem. If these Republicans spent less time listening to business owners and more time listening to average workers and retirees, maybe they could better reflect the wishes of the majority of their constituents.
James Nelson, Largo
Christmas front page
Gloomy page on day of joy
I could not believe the Christmas front page of the Times. On the one day when we should have joy and peace on our minds, and a respite from all the ills of the world, the editorial staff chose to print all the terrible things that have happened all year. This should have been left for a year-end front page, not Christmas.
Your inside Latitudes section would have made a perfect front-page Christmas edition. What were you thinking? All I can say about the Times' Christmas front page is, "Bah, humbug."
John L. Hemmings, Clearwater
Too many tragedies
The Christmas Day paper was disappointing. Section A: a picture of the tsunami that killed over 15,000 people, together with reminders of other local and national deaths. Section B: a picture of a disturbed woman accused of killing her children. Section C: The Bucs are "hopeless." Section D: economic upheaval.
I understand that not everyone celebrates Christmas and that tragedy sells papers, but couldn't you spare your readers from reviewing how bad things are on the one day many choose to go into an altered state of merriment and simply enjoy life's blessings (family, friends, food and, yes, presents)?
Many face significant challenges in life. The constant media blitz on danger, incapacities and the futility of making an effort can immobilize. People reading the news experience emotional reactions as if all the horrors are happening right in their own home or neighborhood.
Wendy Coughlin, Largo
Why we spend, why they save | Dec. 25, commentary
Savers get short shrift
As a lifelong saver, I am dismayed by the corporate tactics used to discourage saving and encourage monumental debt.
Up until the recent crash, lenders urged Americans to have that fairy-tale wedding or fabulous vacation by extracting equity from their homes through refinancing. And now banks and credit unions award barely 1 percent for CDs, a marked contrast with the finance charges of the credit card companies.
I would not be surprised if banks start charging savers for being custodians of their money.
Gail A. Reynolds, Dade City
Corporate power erodes individuals' rights Dec. 26, letter
Don't cut vital services
Groups like the tea party keep screaming that less government is better. Why is it that some legislators apply that line of reasoning to cutting law enforcement personnel, firefighters and teachers while using funds to bribe corporations to move to Florida?
It's downright hypocritical to talk about less government while CEOs in many corporations and on Wall Street pad their pockets with bonuses even after contributing to the economic downturn. How about fewer insurance CEOs and oil executives who require six-figure salaries?
I support capitalism and minimal government intrusion. However, there are vital services that must be provided, and privatization is not always the best solution.
Carl E. Graham, Largo
Reading files | Dec. 24
Sign me up
The writer asks, "Yet how many of us would switch places with those who lived centuries ago?"
If I could go back and live the rest of my life 100 years ago, I'd be first in line.
Greg Fudala, Largo