Demonizing the stimulus | Oct. 20
Stimulus is a dubious investment
The Congressional Budget Office did not go beyond the immediate effects of spending the stimulus money, nor did it examine the efficiency of that spending in job creation. But even the estimates in its report, when analyzed, show the stimulus to be a dubious investment at best.
Taking the CBO report estimate at face value, it shows a peak "jobs increase" of 1.9 million to 4.7 million in 2010, including both direct and secondary jobs created, by spending on the stimulus projects and by the increased economic activity it should cause. This would taper off quickly to no more than 0.3 million to 1 million extra jobs by 2012. The CBO mean estimate of job years created is 5.95 million.
But the CBO and Treasury have estimated the stimulus will cost a total of $814 billion when completed. This means, according to the CBO, that the U.S. government has probably spent $136,800 for each year a person was employed, directly or indirectly, because of the stimulus.
Supporters of the stimulus may try to justify this with claims of the benefits of the infrastructure that will be improved and created. But in the normal course of government spending, anything really necessary is funded in a timely fashion by the transportation trust funds and state and local taxes, regardless of the horror stories pushed by contractors and construction unions. And the favorable impact on the economy is reduced by the choices of projects, many of which are designed to support politicians, not the economy.
Another problem is the adverse effects of borrowing the $814 billion. Because of the actions of the Federal Reserve, this will not all be borrowed from China. Instead, as a recent article in the Times said, it will be monetized, along with well over $1 trillion of the federal deficit. This is precisely the sort of outcome that has businesses afraid to invest, expand and hire.
In summary, the burden of the Obama stimulus will be carried by American taxpayers and workers for decades to come.
James Klapper, Oldsmar
'Don't ask, don't tell'
Repeal is a bad idea
I don't believe repealing "don't ask, don't tell" is going to benefit the military. I am 82 and was in the Army. I do not think the average soldier is going to appreciate that the person next to him in combat may be attracted to him or other male soldiers sexually. It is not right.
If "don't ask, don't tell" is repealed, we may see more violence against gay men in the military by military people themselves. It's a bad idea.
Russell Montminy, Spring Hill
End the discrimination
Gays and lesbians have served in every U.S. war for decades. American blood is American blood, without regard to race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.
This chapter of discrimination needs to end now.
John K. Orr, St. Petersburg
$250 check for seniors
A bribe of the elderly
On the eve of the election, President Barack Obama is supporting $250 checks to make up for the lack of a Social Security cost of living increase. But he knows Congress is out of session and cannot possibly act on this benefit until after the election.
So what is his point in doing this now? Is it not a bribe to the millions of seniors in this country?
The money of course will be borrowed from China and paid back by future generations of workers and young people.
Ronnie Dubs, St. Petersburg
Look past the two parties
When it comes to politics, the American people are suffering from amnesia and ignorance. It's always a bunch of finger-pointing about how the Republicans caused all the problems or how the Democrats caused all the problems. Rather than educate themselves about the issues and the Constitution, people are more prone to being led around by the mainstream media and sold down the river by two political parties who adhere to the exact same corporate special interests.
Barack Obama is controlled by Wall Street just like George W. Bush and Bill Clinton before him. When I talk about education in the political arena I am specifically thinking of policies that both parties support such as NAFTA, WTO, the Patriot Act, NSA illegal surveillance, banker bailouts and endless wars overseas.
In 2012 you will likely be given a choice of Obama versus some special interest puppet like Mitt Romney. Are you going to be played for a fool again and vote for one of these two frauds? People need to take a serious look at all candidates and forget about the fact the mainstream media refuses to offer coverage to anyone but special interest candidates.
Jacob Morgan, Tampa
'Taj Mahal' courthouse
A just result
For justice to be served in this issue, the courthouse must be taken away from the judges and divided into comfortable-sized apartments for the residents of Millview to live in, with the St. Joe Co. paying the rent in perpetuity.
Jimmy Hedgepeth, San Antonio
Hillsborough light rail
After reading the glowing reports brought back by the local Chamber of Commerce about the light rail in Phoenix, I wrote to relatives who live in Tempe (which has rail service) for their take.
They reported they have never ridden the light rail and knew of no one who has. They also say it ran over budget, caused massive road closures while under construction, caused some businesses to close due to access problems, and recently had to raise rates because of lack a ridership.
F.M. Younglove, Brandon
Candidate not in college classes | Oct. 20
I am confused by the Times coverage of the revelation that Hillsborough School Board candidate April Griffin misled voters and the Times.
When Jim Norman and Rick Scott were caught in lies or deceptions you took them to task (rightfully so), but with Griffin your report says of her deceptions that she "might have gone too far."
Further, you quote Griffin as saying: "I apologize for saying 'currently seeking a degree' when it hasn't been for the last two years."
That is not true either. According to your own story, Griffin has not been enrolled at HCC since 2006. That is four years.
Bill Cook, Tampa