Follow the law, or else and 'Social welfare' dodge | May 17, letters
IRS intimidation is a grave threat
I was appalled that the Times chose to run letters actually supporting the illegal acts of the IRS investigating conservative groups. Where are we living, Russia or Venezuela? These readers either have given such little thought to this issue or have been drinking the Kool-Aid for so long that they think that one arm of the government practicing intimidation for purely political reasons is a good thing.
Do they not understand when the government acts this way that no one is safe any longer? We do not need resignations of people that were leaving the IRS anyway; we need criminal prosecutions. Also, we need a thorough investigation of how much influence the pressure of Democratic leaders such as Sens. Carl Levin and Charles Schumer had on the IRS actions. We deserve the truth, not another whitewashing.
John Haugen, Gulfport
What's in a name
Tea party and similar conservative groups that claim they are primarily "social welfare" organizations remind me of antiabortion groups that, while never referring to abortion in their publicity or literature, identify themselves solely as pregnancy counseling or women's health care agencies.
Misrepresentation is not uncommon in certain circles.
Ron Bitten, St. Pete Beach
Switch to consumption tax
The way to solve the recent debacle with the IRS is to eliminate it. HR 25 is currently before Congress and under consideration with many sponsors in both the House and the Senate. Known as the Fair Tax Act, this bill would eliminate the federal income tax and replace it with a consumption tax.
This concept has been in existence for a few years, yet I see nothing printed or discussed in this newspaper about the virtues of this concept. Americans need to hear about this concept and understand the ramifications, namely, elimination of all income taxes and payroll taxes on your weekly paycheck.
Terry Bechtel, Wesley Chapel
The military enemy within | May 17, editorial
Go to the top
I agree that the growing problem of sexual assault and rape in the military can only be solved by changing the military system's culture. But starting at the bottom to punish rapists with dishonorable discharge and prison won't work in the military culture any better than it does in the civil one.
The military culture will change quickly and surely when the incentive comes from above. If every officer and noncom in the chain of command above that of the rapist is automatically demoted one rank upon a finding of guilt, sexual assault will almost disappear. Trust me.
Bud Tritschler, Clearwater
County's backward ways | May 17, editorial
'Victimhood' fact, fiction
Several thousand people broke through police lines Friday to attack 50 gay rights marchers in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. "We are trying to protect our orthodoxy, not to let anyone to wipe their feet on our faith," said one member of the mob.
This is what happens when a powerful religious group turns the whole notion of "victimhood" on its head.
This happens to be the current strategy among anti-LGBT campaigners both here and abroad. Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist gave laughable voice to it when he insisted that an avowed bigot should be allowed to serve on an official committee dedicated to supporting diversity and understanding among various local cultures. Otherwise, Crist most execrably said, we'd be "discriminating" against him.
As a person of faith, I'm happy to discuss and accept religious differences with anyone. Just not with a person who has devoted his recent public life to dismissing other people and denying them a place at the table.
This is not a battle between religious faiths. This is a struggle to convince fundamentalists that their views do not have to be accepted by all. And when they try to impose them, they will be seen, not as victims, but as the bullies they are.
Jim Harper, Tampa
I now understand the agenda of the Times editorial staff: convenience. When the city wants to host a diversity panel, you cry wolf when it's trying to be diverse. When a woman decides to take a baby's life, you call it a woman's right. When a man does the same, the charge is murder. The Times cannot have its cake and eat it too. Your double standards stink.
David Allan, Tampa
That's a deal | May 14
They've got theirs
The lawmakers among House Republicans who rejected federal money to pay for health care for the poor while paying only $8.34 for their own monthly coverage bring to mind the old maxim: "Haul up the ladder, Jack, I'm in the boat."
Lorna Ruggiero, Sun City Center
Program needs more PR
As one who supports the concept of making affordable health care available to all Americans, I find it frankly disheartening that so many of my compatriots continue to oppose the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) despite the Supreme Court's decision upholding same.
I strongly suspect that most of those opponents, and even many supporters of the law's intent like me, are simply unfamiliar with its major provisions. Would it not be possible for the Department of Health and Human Services to compose a brief summary (say two to three pages) of this landmark legislation, explaining what it has meant for Americans to date, and what it will mean for them in the future as it becomes fully implemented?
Each year the Social Security Administration sends everyone covered by Social Security a statement of current or prospective benefits. Could this mailing not also include an outline of the Affordable Care Act, whose benefits are becoming equally as important to all taxpayers, if only they were more cognizant of them?
Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center