Florida has pledged $155M for jobs | June 23
It's bribery, no matter who does it
Would someone explain the difference between a corporation bribing a government employee to allow it to locate a facility in a particular location (as is alleged in Wal-Mart's Mexico issue), and a government bribing a corporation to locate in a particular location (as outlined last week on the front page of the Times)?
In both cases the bribe money goes to individuals — either to government employees or to stockholders. The stockholders are either paying (as in the Wal-Mart example) or receiving (as noted in the Times) — both with the anticipation of ultimately profiting from the bribe. So what's the difference between corporate bribery and government bribery?
Willson Edwards, St. Petersburg
Respect states' rights | June 24, letter
Let the majority decide
A letter writer claims we need to keep the Electoral College because if we used the popular vote instead, it "would give the Democratic Party the edge in almost all elections." This admission that more Americans support Democrats than Republicans is revealing.
Republicans like to portray themselves as part of mainstream America while portraying the Democrats as out-of-touch extremists. If that were so, Republicans would not be losing the popular vote. In reality, both the Electoral College and the senatorial filibuster rule give the smaller number of people supporting the Republican platform far more power and influence in government than they otherwise would have.
Why not scrap the Electoral College and actually let both parties compete directly for the hearts and minds (and votes) of the American people instead?
Lee Kasner, Tampa
Younger Americans are getting the shaft June 22, commentary
Blame defense spending
Matt Miller's article starts out all right and then veers into fantasy land. He spends half his article blaming entitlements for the problems. Both Social Security and Medicare are in the black. Both have lent trillions of dollars to the rest of the federal government. Infrastructure has been crumbling, due to neglect, for over 20 years. This in no way can be attributed to entitlements.
The truth is that massive tax cuts and massive increases in the military budget are the culprits. The defense budget now takes over 59 percent of the discretionary budget. Want to fix most of the problems he lists? The simple solution is two steps. First tax all income the same, both labor and capital. Second, go back to Clinton tax structure or, better yet, the Eisenhower era (adjusted for inflation).
Christopher Radulich, Apollo Beach
Inequality is the issue
Matt Miller's op-ed piece steers perilously off track. He champions a generational war — a smokescreen that obfuscates the real problem: the middle class has been robbed and we are broke.
Over the last three decades, 80 percent of our economic growth has accumulated in the coffers of the top 1 percent; over the same period their taxes rates have been drastically reduced, which has largely driven up our national deficits and debt.
Rather than dealing with this inequity, Miller would have the 99 percent rest of us quibble among ourselves over the crumbs left over.
Robert White, Valrico
Obama draws contrast | June 23
Get to work
While I'm happy that our president made a stop in our beautiful city, I wish he and the congressional leaders could make some progress to help us. A highway bill hasn't been passed, student loan interest rates are going up, vets and others are out of work — and bills sit collecting dust.
To President Barack Obama, Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate: Please work together to fix the problems. Save the super PAC dollars and airline miles or use them to pay down the debt.
Todd J. Goodman, Tampa
Grand Prix on through '17 | June 22
Museum shouldn't suffer
Everyone agrees the Honda Grand Prix race is an asset to St. Petersburg. It brings in a large amount of revenue.
However, the Dalí Museum also brings in a large amount of revenue for the city. The amount of money generated for St. Petersburg by the Dalí Museum most likely far surpasses the revenue generated by the race. And, if you factor in the revenue generated by the Mahaffey Theater and all other businesses that are greatly impacted by the race, the amount is much greater.
Why should the Dalí Museum, Mahaffey Theater and other businesses be forced to take big losses in their revenue by the City Council because of this race?
Council member Karl Nurse says: "Can't we all just get along?" Instead of words, why can't the City Council negotiate with the businesses being impacted for a fair and equitable compensation from the city to each business for their loss of revenue during the 45 days required to set up and tear down the barricades for the race?
The Dalí Museum is further harmed by the fact that anyone wanting to go to the museum during the race is forced to but a race ticket whether they want it or not. The city should be able to find a solution to keep this from happening.
Lawrence Woolley, Largo
Government's appetite | June 23, letter
Tax the junk food
I agree that the government has a stake in the public's health. It spends a large portion of its revenue covering people's unhealthy habits. As an RN, I see the results of these habits daily. However, we are a free people entitled to our choices, and I don't want the government telling me what to eat, drink or smoke. Banning things or sizes of things doesn't work (remember Prohibition). Cigarettes are still legal, as they should be.
Why not deal with the obesity problem like we do with smoking? We tax cigarettes and some of the proceeds go to educating the public about the perils of smoking. I think people should be able to buy what they want to eat and drink in the sizes they choose, but an appropriate tax should be levied. These monies should be split between education programs on nutrition and the government's health costs.
At least then, when those who choose to overindulge face the consequences of poor health, there is a way to pay for it without cutting into everyone else's piece of the tax pie or their right to choose.
Deidre Teagarden, Temple Terrace