Small steps can boost economy
Perhaps one of the reasons we have gridlock in Washington is that Congress tries to cover too much in a single, monstrous piece of legislation. The bill may include many worthwhile provisions on which bipartisan agreement could easily be reached, but the final bill all too often also includes too many partisan add-ons. The result is a bill that few legislators understand or even read, and one that fails because the workable bipartisan provisions are lost in the quagmire of contentious issues.
Perhaps Congress has to learn to crawl before it can walk or run. At least until sanity is restored in Washington, why not legislate only one item per bill? One single issue that could be a real "game changer" for the economy is the elimination of the IRS and the income tax, both personal and corporate, in favor of a flat fair tax.
Frank Yanacek, Sun City Center
Scott pays less than $400 for subsidized health insurance | Aug. 11
Benefits for the wealthy
Why should state workers have to pay $2,160 a year for the same coverage that the governor pays less than $400 for? He is rich and yet he is taking advantage of the taxpayers' money to get cheap health insurance, much cheaper than workers who make very little and in some cases have to work two jobs to survive.
How have we allowed our legislators to give the rich more and more with advantageous laws and haven't gotten up in arms about the inequities that have befallen the real taxpayers and driven us into poverty?
Sandra Brady, Pinellas Park
Ship without a rudder?
There seems to be every indication the economy is poised to slip back into a recession. "Obamacare" will most likely be declared unconstitutional, in whole or in part. Unemployment at both the local and national level remains painfully high. Our foreign policy is somewhat adrift.
Is President Barack Obama, nearly three years into office, headed in the direction of a failed presidency? Are we in the position of the proverbial "ship without a rudder"?
Jim Hayes, Clearwater
Democrats need a pledge
Many Republicans in the House and Senate have signed a pledge for lobbyist Grover Norquist not to raise taxes under any circumstances. It is time for countermeasures.
The Democrats need to circulate a petition wherein our senators and representatives pledge to never under any circumstances vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
The signers of this pledge (and the keepers of the promise) will be the only candidates receiving my vote.
Vicki Grunwald, Brooksville
Government is people too
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a questioner the other day, "Corporations are people, my friend."
This concept of "corporate personhood" goes back to an infamous mistake in 1886. In Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad, a headnote for the case said that corporations had the rights of individual persons. It led to the recent Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which is flooding our political system with special interest corporate money.
Let's give Romney the benefit of the doubt and assume he meant only that corporations are made up of people like us, and that he doesn't also desire to grant them enshrined rights that should be limited to individual citizens.
My only question would then be: Why won't the GOP acknowledge the exact same thing about government? Governments are people, my friend. Ours in fact is a "government of the people, by the people and for the people," or so I've heard. So why do folks like Romney look at it as evil incarnate?
Adam I. Orenstein, Clearwater
I do not hold women to higher standards than I do men, but just as a point of interest, I Googled two prominent women in world politics.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a former president of the European Council, chaired the G-8, had a central role in negotiating the Treaty of Lisbon, and earned a doctorate for her thesis on quantum chemistry. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher studied chemistry at Oxford before qualifying as a barrister and was secretary of state for education and science. Both had extensive political experience before running for their nation's highest office.
We have women candidates for the most important position in our country, and their qualifications seem to be limited to say the least. Is their rise to fame and fortune a reflection of our judgment, and does this lack of judgment help explain why we're in the mess we are in?
Miriam J. Lane, Palm Harbor
Mom could be executed | Aug. 13
"Mom"? Seriously? You felt that "accused child killer" was overused? The hypocrisy of the media in perpetuating the gender bias double standard is appalling. Any father who premeditatedly murdered his two children would never be labeled "Dad" by a headline in your paper, and it wouldn't make one bit of difference what kind of mental disorders he was alleged to have had.
Brian Kastel, Largo
Stop the waste | Aug. 13, letter
A recent letter writer stated that "socialism has not worked anywhere it has been tried." The Nordic nations (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) are considered mostly socialistic. All have higher personal tax rates than the United States and provide more services to their citizens.
But as an example of services, they provide universal health care and college tuition is free. And the four of them rank in the top six of the Forbes' 2011 list of "World's Happiest Countries." To paraphrase Charlie Sheen, "Working!"
Chris Lewis, St. Petersburg