Attacks across Iraq kill 45 | Oct. 8
Terrible cost of policing the world
The senseless bombings in Iraq resulting in the killing and mutilation of innocent victims continue unabated, a legacy of the nearly 4,500 Americans lost and an estimated $1.7 trillion that could have been used in this country to save lives rather than extinguish them in Iraq.
This is beyond tragic and a signal of what is to come in Afghanistan as the last U.S. soldiers are pulled out of that war-torn country.
Until we get a better handle on how, when and where the United States interferes in the political and domestic affairs of other countries, we should rethink our "policeman to the world" policy.
H.A. Smith, Palm Harbor
Big investors hit brakes on home-buying binge | Oct. 6
A bubble waiting to happen?
As reported in the Times, giant investment companies have purchased some 5,445 single-family homes in Tampa Bay at a cost of nearly $812 million during the 18 months ending in August.
In the process, their activities have helped increase home prices to the point that even these financial giants are slowing down on the number of homes they are willing to buy. Moreover, they have removed so many homes from the local inventory of available homes that area real estate professionals call current levels dangerously low and fear that it may be giving a false impression about the true vibrancy of the local real estate recovery.
Let's keep in mind that these companies exist to make profits for those who have invested money with them. Right now, they have identified rental real estate as a potential profit source. Nothing wrong with making a profit.
But what is going to happen when the next "great investment opportunity" comes along and they need to free capital to enter that financial area? Or, what will happen when they discover that the costs to manage and maintain all this property is both considerable and ongoing? Or, suppose there is some unforeseen shift in market demand and rental rates decline?
What will these for-profit organizations likely do?
My guess is that they will try to sell the real estate as quickly as they acquired it in order to free their capital and move on to their next venture. Just as their recent buying activities have helped home values to rise, their future selling activities could force home values to fall. In other words, we could be looking at a bubble waiting to happen.
Terry Ward, St. Petersburg
Ignore the debt limit | Oct. 6, commentary
Problem of precedent
The emperor may have no clothes, but he has lots of sycophants in the press and certainly at the Times. Pushing opinion pieces that the president should ignore the debt limit or arbitrarily increase taxes (illegally seize property) fits in with your prior support of his cherry-picking which laws he'll enforce or his make-it-up-as-he-goes-along approach to the health care law.
All of the above will be newly established precedent when the next Republican sits in the White House. You and the party you carry water for on a daily basis are in for a surprise when the middle class figures out that their health care has been watered down and made more expensive in a redistributive scheme to benefit the entitlement class.
This truth won't stay buried in 3,000 pages and 10,000 regulations forever. Will you be as supportive with a Republican president who just exempts everyone from Obamacare on day one? Will you push opinion pieces that say he should arbitrarily slash spending when we hit the debt limit? The bias is blatant.
Dwayne Keith, Valrico
False entitlement promises
The "progressive" Brookings Institution's Henry Aaron reveals the true nature of those who want to "move forward" in America by insisting President Barack Obama break the law and ignore the debt ceiling if Congress does not raise it. Aaron offers the lie that the "law" states that Social Security welfare and other shadow socialist entitlement programs must be paid.
But in 1960 the Supreme Court ruled, in Fleming vs. Nestor, that no American is entitled to any of the paid-in taxes under the Social Security Act of which Medicare is a part. Progressives hate to admit they are embracing socialism with these failed entitlement programs, especially when they insist on illegally printing money from the Federal Reserve to prop them up rather than reform or end them.
While acknowledged U.S. debt is $17 trillion, the current unfunded liability for the U.S. government is nearly $127 trillion for entitlements (over $1 million per household). The practical among us know that these false entitlement promises will never be kept.
It is time to reverse course on the national credit card. It's time for Americans to reject the progressive agenda that mortgages our future to foreign lenders, the private corporation known as the Federal Reserve and hard-core socialists who seek a dependent and easily misled citizenry. As Margaret Thatcher predicted, our socialist programs have run out of other people's money. It is time to change direction in America away from the mortgage of socialism.
David McKalip, St. Petersburg
House leader talks of default | Oct. 7
Anarchy reigns in capital
Expecting the president to negotiate with the House of Representatives over the health care law belies a total lack of understanding of the rule of law in America. If such a path is taken, what is to stop either Democrats or Republicans in the future from contesting any or all the laws in place? The current climate of anarchy must come to an end. The very foundation of government and a functioning American society is in peril.
Enemies of the United States must be very pleased with the discord being played out in Washington by a handful of extremists.
Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg
Stop the hatred
Never have I seen such disrespect and disgust for a sitting president of the United States. The hard-right tea party is willing to let this country fail in order to have President Barack Obama appear a failure as well.
Without the Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010, we fall back into being the only industrialized nation without a national health care plan. Where is the Republican plan to help the 50 million in this country without health insurance? They have no plan except to leave health care to the free market, which has left us with the highest medical costs in the world.
My message to Congress: Stop the hatred, support the Affordable Care Act and get on with the business of running this country.
Joe Yarborough, St. Petersburg