Generation squeezed | Aug. 6, commentary
Writer misses problems of young
Robert Samuelson makes many strong points about the current problems today's young adults face and the long-term impact of the entitlement reform that this country needs. However, speaking as a 25-year-old newlywed graduate of the University of Florida and current law school student, I find his entire argument demonstrates a lack of understanding of my generation.
First, he fails to mention the most pressing issue for today's recent graduates: student debt. The cost of education over the last few decades has far outstripped inflation. Where previous generations have been able to work through college with minimum-wage jobs, current college students are unable to find jobs that will pay for their full-time enrollment. Instead, we must rely on student loans that we will be paying off in steadily rising amounts over the course of the next few decades. For America's future doctors, lawyers and scientists, this will mean six-figure debt at the start of our careers. Already we are seeing people in my generation delay buying a house or a car. (Samuelson also correctly points to a delay in marriage and starting a family, which come with their own industries.)
My biggest point of contention is his accusation that President Barack Obama has done nothing for my generation. Parts of the stimulus bill went directly into retaining university scientists, graduate students and lab technician positions, which are all needed if this generation is to keep pace in the science industries. Furthermore, the president successfully fought for retaining a lower interest rate for federal student loans that go to undergraduates with the lowest incomes. I think, by concentrating on entitlement reform, Samuelson is confusing the concerns of his generation with mine.
David Houston, St. Petersburg
PIP law savings are not assured | Aug. 4
Florida should replace PIP with bodily injury coverage
A recent study released by the Office of Insurance Regulation found that Floridians should not expect their auto insurance rates to be significantly reduced. This is a huge disappointment to drivers in this state who were promised last session by Republican lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott that substantial legislative changes were needed to fix personal injury protection, or PIP.
The reality is that the PIP legislation that was passed will do little to address fraud or reduce rates. Instead, this insurance industry-driven bill allows only $2,500 in benefits, although all drivers are required to carry $10,000 in PIP coverage. The new law also restricts choice of providers, denies coverage after 14 days of an accident and increases the amount of time insurance companies can pay claims to health care providers.
To be blunt: It was a virtual wish list for the auto insurance industry. Where the legislators really dropped the ball is that there are no legal provisions that require insurance companies to lower rates.
In the coming legislative session, lawmakers in Tallahassee should eliminate PIP insurance and join the vast majority of states in this country that require what is called "bodily injury coverage." This type of coverage means that the insurance company for the person who caused the accident pays for damages and injuries.
Mandatory bodily injury would provide substantially more for damages and injuries while holding the at-fault driver responsible. It would raise insurance costs for drivers who cause accidents and lower costs for those who do not.
Dr. Marc J. Rogers, Largo
Huntsman knows his fans | Aug. 7
Anger isn't the answer
I remember some years ago the outrage caused when the Dixie Chicks expressed their dislike of President George W. Bush. I find it ironic that the same group who were so upset by them find it perfectly acceptable for Ted Nugent to sling anger and vitriol at President Barack Obama.
The saddest part of this is that it is a group who call themselves Christians, and it makes me wonder who the Christ they follow is, because it is certainly not the Christ I follow. Anger, hatred and partisanship does not honor God in any way, shape or form.
This nation has become so divisive and angry. We don't need enemies to destroy us; we're doing a fine job of that ourselves.
M. Timpanaro, Clearwater
To fix voter fraud, move past partisan 'solutions' | Aug. 7, commentary
Look into voting by mail
It appears that Gov. Rick Scott is hell-bent on getting illegal immigrants off the voting rolls, but has he ever considered that there are probably more people who are "snowbirds" and who vote in Florida and other states than there are illegal immigrants?
I think those who vote by mail should be the first ones to be looked at. There appears to be no controls to limit a person from voting in more than one state except by signing a form that says they are legally eligible to vote in that state.
Craig Pilczuk, Land O' Lakes
Refund scam costs billions | Aug. 3
Change the tax system
In light of the recent fraud perpetuated against the IRS, perhaps it is time to consider a revision in the tax system. A national sales tax would require fewer resources to collect and would eliminate fraudulent refunds. If people with business licenses were paid for their participation in tax collection, this would make the change more acceptable.
Ken Slater, Treasure Island
Safe Chemical Act of 2011
Limits on toxic chemicals
The Safe Chemical Act of 2011, introduced last spring by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., would put commonsense limits on toxic chemicals and go a long way toward protecting American families. For the first time in 36 years Congress voted to update our antiquated toxic chemical safety laws. The bill passed out committee and was referred to the Senate floor. The goal is to ensure a floor vote this year.
Published studies reveal that many common chemicals can cause chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, childhood cancers, infertility, and learning and behavioral disorders. Passing this bill will protect public health today and future generations from thousands of potentially harmful chemicals.
Marybeth Dunn, MPH, Lynn Ringenberg, M.D., Tampa