Flawed thinking on high earners
Republicans are adamant that they will not allow the termination of Bush tax breaks for those making over $250,000 a year because they believe these are the people who create jobs in America. Data show that most new jobs are created by small business; however, most small-business owners make much less than $250,000 a year.
The high earners in America include corporate CEOs, Wall Street brokers, professional athletes, lawyers, entertainers and doctors. Increased taxes on this group would have essentially no impact on job creation.
I'm generally not a fan of higher taxes, but the Republican argument doesn't hold water. Both parties need to stop treating Americans like idiots and stop playing their political games with the debt ceiling before they totally wreck the economy.
Jerry Stephens, Riverview
Just take the deal
With our economy ready to implode, Republicans in Congress cling so stubbornly to their "no tax increases" rhetoric that they are no longer thinking clearly. The president is offering them an unbelievable deal: huge cuts in programs (including those dear to the hearts of Democrats and seniors) in exchange for tax increases that won't take place until 2013.
As far as I can see, this is truly a win-win situation for both parties. The Republican presidential candidate can run on "elect me — I'll reverse the tax increases" while President Barack Obama can run on "elect me — I'll make sure the rich and special interests start to pay their share."
Just do it, and let Americans have their say in 2012.
Carolyn Klema, New Port Richey
Obama: 'Decision time' | July 15
Spending out of control
It was interesting how the Associated Press presented the reasons for the debt growth over the last decade from $5.8 trillion in 2001 to $14.3 trillion in 2011. The largest listed contributor was the Bush tax cuts of $1.6 trillion in 2001 and 2003. Yet if one adds all the revenue (or tax) losses over the last 10 years, it totals $2 trillion plus the addition of unreported revenue losses of the recession. The increased government expenditures over the same period total $4 trillion plus the additional cost of a host of smaller programs. Even though the revenues were less than expected, the borrowing to pay for increasing government size and programs continued.
To put it in everyday language, it's like a family earning $50,000 per year that is spending at a $100,000 rate. How long does one think this can continue before financial ruin occurs? We can work on increasing the revenues by closing tax loopholes, but this is minor compared to the out-of-control spending by our government.
Jim Cordea, Largo
Amendment is the answer
Last week President Barack Obama mounted a vigorous defense against a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, stating that the Constitution already tells federal elected officials how to do their jobs. He then went on to list a series of decisions going back several administrations that basically undermined the premise of his original position: politically motivated tax cuts, prescription drug benefits for seniors that weren't paid for, wars that weren't paid for, failed stimulus spending directed at special interest groups and cronies — the list goes on.
The simple fact is that our "leaders" in Washington, on both sides of the aisle, have repeatedly engaged in economic pandering and proved themselves not up to the task of keeping our fiscal house in order. It is precisely this type of behavior that the Founders tried to limit through our Constitution.
A balanced budget amendment is precisely what is called for, now more than ever.
Dave Hunter, Lutz
Pass on the tea, save the manatees | July 15, Sue Carlton column
Protect the manatees
How can truly compassionate people even entertain the idea of allowing the reckless behavior of some boaters to maim and kill the defenseless sea cows who are also God's creatures? They deserve our protection in a preserve in Kings Bay where they naturally congregate.
Let people enjoy watching and swimming with the manatees. There are plenty of other places where the speedboaters can race to their hearts' content.
Carol Lushear, Dunedin
Respect for God's creatures
As a Christian who cares deeply about animals and the environment, I was taken aback by Citrus County Tea Party Patriots leader Edna Mattos' self-serving claim that it's "against the Bible and the Bill of Rights" to show compassion and respect for manatees and their habitats.
Can't we rise above the "me, me, me" notion that we have an inalienable right to harm animals and destroy the planet? Unless we can learn to be kind and merciful to all of God's creatures — and to be better stewards of nature — we are all doomed.
Heather Moore, Sarasota
No more living in fear | June 19
Programs ripe for cutting
This story notes how refugees from other countries are receiving help from the Department of Children and Families to obtain benefits from Social Security, Medicaid and other programs. Many people have to be asking: How is it possible for people who have never contributed to these programs to tap into them? It's outrageous.
This practice seems as ridiculous as the argument over cutting the budget and never talking about cuts to foreign aid, Section 8 benefits, aid to single mothers having baby after baby while on the public dole, medical aid to illegal immigrants, education for illegal immigrants, paying for bankrupt union benefit programs, unchecked rampant fraud within all of the programs, and a long list of other programs.
Timothy Van Dyk, Port Richey
Promises we can't keep | July 15, letter
Jesus never said, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." What Jesus did say, which is relevant to the subject of entitlements, was: "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you." (Matthew 5:42)
The social teachings of Jesus can be found in the book of Matthew, Chapters 5, 6 and 7. This is known as the Sermon on the Mount. If someone asked me to put a political label on Jesus, I'd say: socialist.
Michael Harris, Safety Harbor