Fact vs. fiction in income gap debate | Jan. 26
Inequality shredding social fabric
It would appear that all of a sudden politicians of all colors have discovered the appalling inequality in this country. President Franklin Roosevelt over 70 years ago famously said: "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."
Unfortunately, inequality has increased exponentially since FDR's words and very little has been done to help. Politicians on the right resist any effort to help the people in need, based on the mantra that it would be wealth redistribution from the top to the bottom, which they equate with socialism and/or communism.
Nobel laureate economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz have warned for years of the serious dangers of inequality in our country. It erodes the social fabric of our society.
Those who argue that redistribution from the top to the bottom is socialism have no problem whatsoever accepting redistribution from the bottom to the top, which is exactly what is happening. In a system where the top people earn ever more and the middle and lower classes earn ever less, serious societal problems will arise.
Frederick Douglass also understood this back in the 19th century when he said: "Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe."
And so it is clear that fighting inequality is not some obscure communist tool to eradicate capitalism in this country, but rather a just, moral, and fair goal to achieve.
Patrick Bauer, Wesley Chapel
Strengthen privacy of drug database Jan. 24, editorial
Prescription for trouble
The first sentence of this editorial is all you needed to write: "Florida's prescription drug database is a valuable weapon in curbing the public damage from drug-related deaths, narcotics tourism and criminal trafficking."
There was a huge problem, that to some extent still exists, and there's no better way to help stop it than the prescription drug database. You need to view prescription narcotics as deadly weapons in the wrong hands. They can be as deadly as a gun. To rationalize that some people's personal privacy is at risk is ludicrous when the focus is to help stop illegal prescription drug distribution at the source and try to prevent the practices of these "legal dealers." Please don't take away the victims' rights.
Jeannette Fraser, Deltona
911 calls rang with fear | Jan. 25
Raising the temperature
An average person entering a mostly empty movie theater and encountering a noisy area would probably move to a more quiet section. The retired policeman entered the theater with a gun. Did he feel that this made him a more powerful person with the ability to argue with noisy people and escalate it to any level because he had the ultimate means to protect himself? This strange ability to raise our testosterone levels above and beyond our rational control is the scariest thing about guns.
Tom Reid, Seminole
Which one is the thug? | Jan. 25
All of the above
In reply to the question of Dean Obeidallah of the Daily Beast, asking which one is the thug, Justin Bieber or NFL player Richard Sherman, the answer is: both. Both are wealthy people who act very inappropriately in public, showing that money and fame do not convey good sense.
Richard Driscoll, Clearwater
First step: Accept money | Jan. 25, letter
This letter, along with most of your stories chronicling the evil Florida Republicans refusing to take the $51 billion from the generous federal government for Medicaid expansion, fails to mention that they haven't offered to fund the program indefinitely, just to help with the kickoff. Where is the gargantuan pile of money supposed to come from to keep it going? The answer is the Florida taxpayer.
Now that we've moved on from watering-down and making more expensive health care for the middle class in the latest Democratic wealth redistribution sleight of hand, perhaps the new initiative to equalize incomes for all will produce the needed funding. What happened to freedom and how did we get to a place where your income isn't really yours?
Funny that Obamacare and now income equalization have one thing in common: The more pro-Democrat a particular interest group or societal subset, the more likely it is to be on the receiving end of redistributed confiscated income. What a coincidence.
Dwayne Keith, Valrico
Mayor steers clear of Cuba | Jan. 18
End the embargo
I'm so over the embargo on Cuba. Kudos to Rep. Kathy Castor, the University of Tampa team, etc., for their efforts to bring us closer to mending fences.
The embargo has been a failure, the Castros are still in power and the people continue to suffer.
We lost more than 50,000 soldiers in Vietnam, but they are now our trading buddies. We only lost money in Cuba, but we maintain this failed embargo 90 miles from our shores. It's a sad statement about our values.
Ana Golan, Tampa
Ukraine unrest spreads beyond Kiev Jan. 25
The AP photo of the Ukrainian unrest on page 3A of the Times is quite striking. The lighting, color, framing and staging is as beautiful as a movie promotional photograph.
It captures the current political unrest in the Ukraine and at the same time looks medieval with the robed priests in the foreground and the shield-bearing line of enforcers in the background.
It's stunning how this photograph arches over a millennium, reflecting how the fight for influence over these lands has been going on for centuries.
Emmett Walsh, Gulfport