Self-inflicted wounds from sequester loom | Feb. 25, editorial
Despite cuts, debt keeps swelling
All this hype about the negative impact on the middle class of $85 billion in federal spending cuts is pure political baloney.
If these spending cuts go through, we will still be spending $15 billion more this year than last and accumulating an additional $1 trillion in national debt, which will bring the total to $17 trillion. This is the best-case scenario. Further, all the future projected spending cuts will still leave us with more than $20 trillion in national debt at the end of 2016.
The printing of federal currency and spending by the Federal Reserve, to buy mortgage derivatives and long-term Treasury notes, is $85 billion a month, not a year. And what does this really accomplish? It keeps interest rates artificially low, allowing our bank friends to borrow at 0 to one-quarter of 1 percent and then buy Treasury notes at approximately 2 percent.
This does nothing for our middle class citizens and significantly hurts our senior citizens who invest the vast majority of their savings in CDs, money markets and Treasury bonds because their primary goal is not to lose any of their savings.
We need to insist that our president and Congress be open and totally honest with our citizens rather than perpetrating lies for political gain.
Ken Wright, Palm Harbor
Family of girlfriend beset by frustration Feb. 24
A couple of universal principles come to mind in the case of Oscar Pistorius killing his girlfriend. A credo of trigger-happy paranoids is, "Shoot first, ask questions later." Among the questions reasonable people might ask is, "Honey, is that you?"
The sad events in South Africa figure into the chilling U.S. statistics that a firearm kept ostensibly for protection is at least 17 times more likely to be used with tragic consequences — accident, murder or suicide.
Gail A. Reynolds, Dade City
As Duke reels, FPL wins with natural gas Feb. 24
Balanced energy approach
This article opines that at $970 million for the new gas plant, three of them could be built for the money "wasted" on repairs to a nuclear plant. Remember, the cost of a gas plant is not in its construction but in the subsequent fuel costs. Conversely, the cost of a nuclear plant is the construction, yet operational costs, including fuel, are low, which is why they pay for themselves over time. This distinction is what makes it easy for nuclear opponents to use faulty comparisons that sound logical, initially.
The article failed to mention that a nuclear plant, generating the same 1,250 megawatts of energy as the gas plant, would save us ratepayers more than $9 billion in avoided fossil fuel purchases and would avoid 76 tons of carbon from being emitted into our air.
Natural gas and nuclear are both viable energy options. They are different. Each play a role in a balanced portfolio. I caution my fellow Times subscribers to beware of calls to replace one with the other. It is fine to build more gas plants because fuel costs are low right now. But if we want cleaner air and lower costs well into our future, we do not want to replace all the nuclear plants.
Jerry Paul, Venice
A high-speed safety pitch | Feb. 23
Money speeds down drain
As a lifelong Floridian, it was befuddling recently to watch state officials foolishly spend $380,000 on a seemingly sexist logo revamp in which a man's business tie was prominently introduced as our new branding statement.
Now the state transportation department is sticking it to Florida taxpayers.
Spending $174,500 to imprint a slogan on two Daytona 500 cars in order to make everyone aware of the dangers of cars hitting humans, and maybe save a few lives, was absurd. It makes me question the professionalism of those in control of our state's money.
"Alert today, alive tomorrow" is the magical mantra that some knucklehead came up with to represent our state in front of millions of race fans throughout the world on Saturday.
But when the cars went flying by at 200 mph, the only thing we really saw was not a catchy Florida slogan but our state's bank account being foolishly dwindled away.
Mike Merino, Tampa
Who signed off?
Where are the controls on spending in this state? How could the Florida Department of Transportation justify using our hard-earned federal tax dollars on advertising on NASCAR cars? That's $174,500 gone; how shameful.
Even the marketing agency, Joyce Julius & Associates, is from Ann Harbor, Mich., not Florida. Politics needs to change. Somebody at a high level signed off on this spending and we deserve to know who did it and why they did it. When will people be fired for being so bad in judging how to spend our money?
Stephen Collins, Safety Harbor
Reclaiming park's charm | Feb. 23, editorial
Causes and effects
If the problems of homelessness, public intoxication and crime are solved by removing buses, a rational person would infer that buses cause homelessness, public intoxication and crime. This makes as much sense as blaming the park's trees and benches for causing the problems.
If the city of St. Petersburg wants to solve this problem, it will have to employ clearer thinking than your editorial does.
Eric Burns, Palm Harbor
Park problems spilling over | Feb. 23
I thought the work of churches was to minister to the needy. I feel badly for the state of organized religion when it has to pay to keep the riffraff out of their churches by hiring security instead of helping these lost human beings.
Regarding the smell of waste, for their $30,000 in security fees how about supplying a portable toilet and maintaining it, or providing a place for these people to sleep at night, or offering treatment to help those willing and needing it?
It's a sad commentary when a Christ-driven organization is so un-Christlike in how it handles the less fortunate.
Bruce Fournier, St. Petersburg