Political corruption holds us back
Our problem is larger than the debt ceiling. The problem is a political system that allows politicians to be paid off by special-interest groups that promote single-item issues. Does anybody look at the big picture?
We are rapidly falling behind other developed countries in health care, technology, education, etc., and this fall will not cease until we change the rampant corruption within the political system.
Is it the politicians to blame or is it us, the American people, who have become obsessed by our own individual priorities without considering their effect on others?
The majority of us are guilty of spending money we do not have, ignoring the day when debts will have to be paid; and that day is upon us.
God help America.
John Lythgoe, Dunedin
Think for themselves
To move our country forward, politicians should begin with a rebuke of all signed pledges so they can keep an open mind and truly negotiate with all options on the table.
Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform pledge prevents any discussion of ending tax cuts for billionaires and ensures that Big Oil retains its multibillion-dollar tax subsidies. I was appalled to learn that Florida has 14 national legislators who have signed this pledge, including Sen. Marco Rubio, and Reps. C.W. Bill Young, Gus Bilirakis, Dennis Ross and Vern Buchanan.
I thought my senator and representative were actually able to do their jobs without checking first with Norquist. Voters should revisit who has signed this pledge prior to the next election and put people in office who can think for themselves.
Scott Willis, St. Petersburg
The wrong medicine
The news that second-quarter economic growth was weak should come as no surprise to anyone with a basic knowledge of economics. Not only was the original stimulus legislation too small to sustain a recovery from the worst recession this country has ever seen, but the current political momentum for decreased federal spending, along with belt tightening at the state level, is exactly the wrong medicine for this sluggish recovery.
Corporations are sitting on vast reserves, but will not create jobs in uncertain times. Only the government can prime the economic pump enough to break the poor employment cycle. Yet, the only question being asked today is how much money will we take out of the economy.
We need only look to FDR's error in 1937 when, after setting the nation on a path toward a strong recovery from the Great Depression with deficit spending, he succumbed to conservative budget hawks and began to curtail spending significantly. The nation slid back into Depression from which it could not recover until spending for World War II broke the ice.
Once again, the old saying holds true: "What's right isn't always popular, and what's popular isn't always right."
Ernie Ciarrocchi, Wimuama
Remove the instability
Here's an idea:
Change or replace the current debt ceiling law so that all congressional appropriations implicitly authorize the Treasury to borrow whatever funds are necessary to meet the cash requirements of the appropriations. But also require most all revenue collected to be applied first to debt service and retirement. Then, for Congress to reduce the deficit and the total debt, it must either raise more revenue, i.e. increase taxes, or appropriate less.
This policy would resemble the cash/credit management policies of many if not most major U.S. corporations.
The result will be that Congress will retain control of the "purse strings" as intended by the Constitution without the micromanaging that it does not seem to be able to do competently.
There will be no room for U.S. creditors to doubt the soundness of their investment in U.S. debt due to any perceived political "instability."
Tom Klecker, Safety Harbor
Decades of dithering
We have an energy problem, yet our solution is more of the same dead-end programs, "drill baby drill," and more nukes. Germany has energy problem too, yet its solution is to build giant solar and wind farms as far as the eye can see. It sees the folly of nuclear at Fukushima and decides to end its nuclear program in favor of the clean energy of the future. If cloudy Germany can do solar, surely we can.
The technology has been here since before the Carter administration, but we have been dithering for almost 40 years. The solution is right in front of us; we just have to try.
David Slaggie, Tampa
'Lone wolf' attacks stir angst in Europe July 29
Hijacked by extremists
This story in reports on unease about right-wing extremism in Europe following the killings in Norway by a self-professed extreme rightist.
During the election cycle in the United States last year, we witnessed extreme right-wingers wearing and carrying guns to political rallies while spouting hateful rhetoric against the government.
Are we paying attention here in the United States? Those frightening individuals were also successful in electing the most radical right-wing politicians this country has ever seen. Those same politicians are now sabotaging our country financially.
The once great Republican Party has allowed itself to be hijacked by the large freshman class of extremists.
It is imperative that we who love our country, regardless of party affiliation, vote these radical individuals out of office in 2012 so we can return to some level of sanity in Congress.
Jim Slaughter, Land O'Lakes