Medicare dominates Ryan's Florida speech | Aug. 19
Vote with key programs in mind
I watched Paul Ryan's stump speech at the Villages. His theme was saving Medicare. I would like someone to show how his voucher plan for future retirees would save Medicare.
The record shows that from day one there have been consistent votes by a majority of Republicans against Social Security in 1935, Medicare in 1965, raising the minimum wage all through the years, and other progressive legislation.
Voters have big choices this coming election. People on Medicare and Social Security, and I am one of them, should not say to themselves, "I got mine; the rest of you do not count."
Jack Levine, Palm Harbor
Saying no to invite | Aug. 19
Set up an empty chair
That Connie Mack IV, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, refuses to debate is the height of hubris. A candidate who doesn't have the courage to debate the issues isn't worthy of serious consideration. I think the Times should go ahead with the debate, with an empty chair for Mack. Make it clear he is welcome to join the debate at any time, but have Sen. Bill Nelson answer questions and discuss issues that affect all Floridians.
Deborah Green, Sun City Center
Romney should release returns Aug. 19, editorial
Romney pays plenty
President Barack Obama and his acolytes in the media only want Mitt Romney's tax returns for one reason: Digging through them, in the press, will divert the folks from Obama's dismal record.
Warren Buffett's wealth is 200 times greater than Romney's, but they pay essentially the same tax rate because both derive most of their income from capital gains, which are taxed at 15 percent. Taxes on wages are higher, up to 39.6 percent. Even at a tax rate of 13 percent, Romney writes a check to the government for $2.6 million on annual income of $20 million — which is infinitely more than the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes.
Peter Ford, St. Petersburg
He's rich; now move on
What is the purpose of seeing many years of tax returns from Mitt Romney, other than to see the extent of his income? If he is paying his share of taxes as set out by the tax code, what difference does it make? If the Democrats feel he is cheating on his returns, they should scream for an audit.
Yes, he is wealthy. Yes, he pays a low rate based on his income being derived from investments. But he has invested wisely, and I am sure other politicians, if they had his wealth and intelligence, would invest in the same manner. The idea is to pay taxes at a rate that is set by the government; not to pay more than the next guy with the same circumstances just because one has presidential aspirations.
This campaign needs to get back to the issues that have meaning to and for the country and its citizens.
Jim Rechtin, Tampa
Unmasking a candidate | Aug. 19
This article quotes comments by friends of Mitt Romney on the warmth of the candidate. They speak of him as: a good husband and father, a good and caring Mormon bishop, a flip-flopper, scripted, and private. All of this was already well known; thus, there is no unmasking. However, what is left unmentioned is at best worrisome.
Romney made certain that no record of his work at the Winter Olympics in Utah remained for anyone to examine. He took with him all the hard drives after he left his position as governor of Massachusetts. And this man, running today for the highest office of the land, refuses to release his income tax returns.
This refusal to reveal is a great incongruity between a public man and a barricaded man. It is obstructionist and not acceptable.
Flora A. Napoli, Riverview
Romney wind tax credit stance Aug. 19, PolitiFact
Put a stop to subsidies
Yes, PolitiFact is correct that President Barack Obama claims Mitt Romney will cut energy subsidies. He said he would. I hope he means it. Here's the rest of the story PolitiFact left out.
According to a 2011 analysis by the U.S. Energy Department and Institute for Energy Research reported in the Wall Street Journal, taxpayer subsidies per megawatt hour were $775.64 for solar generation and $56.29 for wind. Contrast that to taxpayer subsidies per megawatt hour for nuclear ($3.14), coal ($0.64), hydro ($0.82), and oil and gas ($0.64).
Looks like Romney is right to stop the subsidies, especially when obvious crony capitalism is at play.
Lawrence Jauch, Land O' Lakes
Where will protesters sleep? Aug. 20
Closed church doors
The Times recently reported the churches of the downtown area have decided not to open their doors to RNC protesters. Whether to shelter people from the heat of a Tampa August or from tear gas, these churches enjoy a special dispensation that few other entities have: no taxation.
If churches can close their doors to certain members of the population, then maybe it's time to reconsider their tax-free status. Of course this is Florida, where we will be voting on a constitutional amendment in November called Religious Freedom. This amendment has nothing to do with religious freedom and everything to do with giving tax-free churches public tax monies. The framers of our state Constitution explicitly outlawed this kind of use for public tax monies.
F.M. Younglove, Brandon
Cops link tax fraud to public benefits Aug. 19
What is most shocking about this report on fraud is how flagrant it appears to be, and how inept our government is in controlling it — especially at a time when our national debt is so large and the economy is slumping.
If watchdog agencies can identify the crimes so easily, why do we have such an abysmal record in curbing fraud? The misuse of food stamps is particularly disturbing, since there is an existing record of all participants. Why can't highly organized law enforcement exercise better control of the program?
Entitlements serve a purpose, but abuse cannot be tolerated. The reported cost to the taxpayer is astronomical and unacceptable.
Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole