Voters must finally say, 'Enough'
The Times continues to publish stories about our Florida Legislature that should make us stand up and take action. Legislators let Progress Energy (now Duke) collect billions of dollars for something that will never be built. These are the same people who scream about taxes. Is this not a tax on the poor to give money to the rich?
Then there are the articles about the House speaker. It seems that Will Weatherford has done extremely well on his paltry state salary while denying any income from a myriad of shell companies that he seems to be involved with. Many of these involvements were not disclosed.
What do the voters do? Like lemmings they just re-elect these people. It is time to say enough is enough, throw the bums out and start with a new slate of representatives who have morals and standards above reproach and are not "in bed" with big business.
Phil Altus, Tampa
Heed constituents' needs
I am puzzled how my congressman, Gus Bilirakis, can send out an email touting how he voted for a bill that eliminates job-killing regulations. He voted for a bill that eliminates federal guidelines on pollution from the coal mining industry. That vote, along with the votes that allowed 15 or so other bills to leave the House this session, must have been tiring.
Let us not forget that last week Bilirakis voted for a 40th time to repeal Obamacare. We all know that bill has the same chance of becoming law as the 39 prior attempts. Yet the congressman worked hard to make that vote count. How many bills on creating jobs did he vote on this past session? Not one.
Take the next five weeks off, congressman, and see how it feels to do nothing along with all of those you have left hanging in the unemployment line. And if you are thinking of jumping on the bandwagon that wants to defund Obamacare or shut down the government, please think of the impact on veterans hospitals, Social Security checks, Medicare and Medicaid.
John Ford, Trinity
Turtles on a post
I keep reading about how our elected officials are not doing their job for us and are only interested in how much is in it for them.
When is someone going to do something about putting term limits on our representatives in Washington instead of making it a lifetime office? Most of them remind me of the old farmer's label for them: post turtles.
When asked what a post turtle was, he replied, "You find a turtle sitting on a post. You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there. He's elevated beyond his ability to function and you wonder what dummies put him up there in the first place."
We need new blood and leaders who aren't in the pocket of selected few. That goes for just about any office from county to Washington.
Donna Herrick, Hudson
Editorial cartoons | Aug. 3
The truth will come out
I was amazed (and gratified) to see, in Saturday's newspaper, not one but two political cartoons critical of President Barack Obama's mishandling of the economy (along with pretty much everything else). Perhaps Americans and, more importantly, the American media are finally letting themselves see the truth about the arrogant incompetent currently occupying the White House. Perhaps now so-called reporters will once again start actually reporting the news instead of using all their energy and resources covering up for Obama.
Thank you for an important first step in restoring some integrity to our nation's press corps. Now let's follow CNN's example and start digging out the truth about what really happened in Benghazi.
To me (and I am sure many others), the misdeeds and outright crimes of this administration are not "phony scandals." The truth may be distasteful to Obama, but all will eventually come out.
David Haney, Spring Hill
Utility charge likely to stay | Aug. 3
Bought and paid for
In the early 2000s the power companies in Florida made a prudent and wise purchase. They, through political contributions, bought the state legislators. Best of all it was a buy-one-get-one deal as they got the Public Service Commission for free.
Fast forward to 2006 when our fine elected public servants passed legislation, written conveniently by the power companies, that allowed these utilities to bill customers up front for nuclear power plants that would be built later. Never was thought given to what would be the course of action were a power plant not built, because the utilities promised the construction was imminent. Besides, would a utility lie?
Now we find there will be no nuclear plant constructed nor was one ever seriously planned. It was, for lack of another word, a scheme. Since we, the ratepayers, were fleeced out of a tidy $1.5 billion by Duke Energy and Progress Energy, wouldn't it only be an honest move to refund that money to those of us who have been hustled and this piece of rotten legislation repealed?
Well, no. Not according to elected officials both past and present. You have to admire this trait in the average Florida politician: When they're bought, they stay bought.
Gary West, St. Petersburg
Food stamp cuts hurt the weakest | Aug. 1
Poverty programs working
President Barack Obama's threat to veto any stand-alone farm bill from the House of Representatives is warranted, but the House was not listening. The House Budget Committee, led by Rep. Paul Ryan, undertook its "Progress Report on the War on Poverty" hearings on July 31.
Ryan refers to the "War on Poverty," which began in 1964, as a miserable failure in lifting people out of poverty. His statement is unsupported by facts. The federal assistance programs have been successful.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) kept 4.7 million people out of poverty in 2011. The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit have kept 9.4 million people out of poverty, including 4.9 million children. Investments in early childhood have been proven to lead to increased financial stability and reduced need for government assistance in adulthood. Government programs are fulfilling their responsibility in reducing poverty.
The recent farm bill provides large taxpayer subsidies to agribusinesses while eliminating the portion of the bill that has actually proven to keep people out of poverty.
Barbara Drake, Tampa