Rhetoric vs. reality | May 3, letter
Longer the wait, worse debt gets
A recent letter perfectly symbolizes the denial liberals and their politicians are in about the financial crisis this country faces. It doesn't matter if money is owed to China or future Medicare recipients; they are still debts that reflect payments required to be made in the coming years. And the amount of that debt is only projected to get bigger. This is why in a recent report the Government Accountability Office said we are on "an unsustainable long-term fiscal path." And the longer we wait, the harder the fix will be.
Relative to the federal budget, the sequester was only a small step and is hardly draconian. As with the FAA, the air traffic control solution can be managed intelligently and demonstrates reductions can be made without affecting vital government functions. Any similar future issues can be handled in the same manner.
But of course it is the big programs like Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and Obamacare that will be the main drivers of our huge and growing debt. Unfortunately, no matter how well-intentioned or compassionate programs like that are, there is no way getting around the fact that there is no such thing as a free lunch. We must do a better job or the whole system will collapse.
Tim Curtis, Tampa
Put legislators to the test
For the last several years now politicians in Tallahassee have been mandating that students in Florida take more and more standardized tests. They argue that these are important assessments that will demonstrate how well our teachers are teaching and how well our students are learning. They place a premium of importance on these tests and base the majority of decisions made about public education on the results.
I think that it is time these politicians put their money where their mouth is and lead by example. If these tests are so valid and so essential to the future of education in Florida, then why don't all of our elected leaders take them as a requirement to run for office? Newspapers around the state could publish these politicians' results so constituents would be able to see them and be sure that they are truly voting for the smartest person for the job.
These politicians are quick to demand accountability from teachers and students, but they seem to shy away from their own accountability in the state's current educational policy debacle. If this is a state run by true leaders with our best interests at heart, then they should have no problem demonstrating their strong belief in the testing system by taking these tests and having their results published.
Bryan Conley, Palm Harbor
A whole lot of nothing
It amazes me how our elected representatives can celebrate an end of a session where they did practically nothing. The picture of Will Weatherford and Don Gaetz on the front of Saturday's paper with big smiles makes me wonder what planet these guys live on. Where I work, my peers and I would not be celebrating if we didn't accomplish anything for two months; we would be fired.
Alan Roberts, Largo
Children need, deserve a daily dose of exercise | May 3, commentary
What exercise looks like
Of course kids need some daily PE during the school day for a variety of reasons. However, after witnessing my two children go through the Pinellas County school system, here is the problem: Most of that 30 minutes is not spent doing any physical activity. The PE school year is broken up into units, and each unit is about a different sport, so a good deal of time is spent instructing students about each sport. And then, in most cases, this is not a sport that involves all the children at the same time, so the majority of the 30 minutes is spent standing around or sitting and watching, as when the unit is on stickball.
When I was in high school, I remember PE this way: We were arranged in lines and everyone spent the entire period doing calisthenics led by the teacher. Every student was moving the entire time, and everyone had a workout. If school administrators were really serious about conditioning, they would do PE this way and leave the instruction in stickball, etc., to after school activities.
Shirley Copperman, Tarpon Spring
Arming Syrian rebels gets a new look | May 3
Rebels are U.S. enemies
How many Americans would agree to the United States arming rebels in Syria if they knew that by doing so they would be on the same side as al-Qaida in Syria? After all, isn't al-Qaida the sworn enemy of the United States? So, wouldn't it be hypocritical to provide them with weaponry?
So, please, when you run an article about the Obama administration considering whether or not to arm Syria's rebels, please tell the whole story.
Marianne Huber, St. Petersburg
Scott vetoes alimony bill | May 2
Getting up in the morning and doing a good day's work for a good day's pay is the American way. It's what keeps our country running. But those who pay permanent alimony get up in the morning, do a good day's work, and then give much of their money away to someone who doesn't have to work. Ever again. How is it that the state of Florida actually approves and enforces such a situation. How is this fair?
To the woman who raised the children and now never has to earn a living again, I would say: Ma'am, both you and your ex-husband got up every day and worked. But since your divorce, he has to keep working and you never have to work again. How is that fair?
Eileen Flaxman, Wimauma
Vote for Letter of the Month
Editor's note: Vote through Thursday for the Tampa Bay Times' Letter of the Month at tampabay.com/opinion. We apologize to readers who tried to vote last weekend.