Political games trump our needs
The Republicans in the U.S. Senate are obviously far more concerned about political gamesmanship than the dire needs of millions of their fellow citizens. On the day after a bipartisan leadership meeting initiated by President Barack Obama, the goal of which was to talk about ways to come together to address the nation's many urgent issues, the Republican members of the Senate unanimously issued an ultimatum: pass our tax cuts or we will block action on any and all other measures — including a nuclear arms treaty.
What a fine display of statesmanship and demonstration of a spirit of compromise that the president sought to foster with the previous day's meeting. This comes as unemployment benefits are expiring for millions of Americans. Given the timing, the hypocrisy of this Republican ploy, not to mention its cruelty, is staggering yet hardly surprising.
Since Obama took office, the GOP has shown interest in only two things: advancing their reactionary agenda at all costs, and seeking to frustrate any effort by the president and the Democrats to meaningfully address the needs of the great majority of Americans — those making less than $250,000 a year. Now, with this latest stunt, the Republicans are seeking to point a political gun at the president's head.
Fair-minded, caring Americans see this for what it is, and the president is too big a man, and too dedicated to the needs of all Americans, to be intimidated. I hope the GOP members of the Senate are comforted by their "principles" as they enjoy this holiday season free of the hardship that so many of their fellow citizens suffer from each day.
Morry Bornstein, Seminole
Checks put money to work
Because of Republican objections that the extension of unemployment benefits will add to the national debt, the checks are being delayed.
What the Republicans are not telling the public is how much the loss of this small weekly income to millions of people will cost both state and federal governments:
• Unemployment payments are taxable as income under both federal and many state laws; that means a loss of tax revenue.
• Many of these people will be forced to reduce their purchases of necessary everyday items; that brings a loss of sales tax and excise tax revenue.
• Many will reduce their purchase of gasoline and some will lose their cars; another loss of tax revenue.
• Some will lose their homes — a loss of property tax revenue.
• Many will have to file for welfare, food stamps and medical assistance to live and feed their families, increasing the state and federal budget debt.
• Some may turn to crime, adding to state and federal operational costs.
• The loss of this spending in our economy will cause many businesses to reduce their employee staff and add to the level of unemployment.
What is the estimated cost for all of the above compared to the estimated cost of extending unemployment benefits? Both are an addition to state and federal debt and a burden on the economy, but which one is greater?
Adolph F. Panella Jr., Valrico
Two groups tied to Rove raised $70M for midterms | Dec. 3
Follow the money
The wisest thing that my father told me after a political scandal years ago was "follow the money." Whether the politician benefitted personally or whether his political cronies benefitted, all you needed to know about who was involved was to follow the money.
The article about the $70 million raised to support the Republicans' recent successful midterm campaign by Karl Rove and his involvement in "super PACs" got me thinking about that statement.
The average tea party member who thought that their recent election success was due to their desire to vote in politicians who would work to create smaller government and more jobs will find that their votes have most likely been cast in vain. Sen. Mitch McConnell is interested in one thing and that is to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for Americans making over $250,000 a year. Seventy million dollars buys a lot of influence and you can be sure that poor folks weren't sending money to the two PACs that Karl Rove represented.
When you "follow the money" you get to see who will really be represented in Washington, and it ain't us.
Michael Savino, Seminole
Congress lowers volume on TV ads | Dec. 3
It certainly is reassuring to know there's no federal deficit problem, no health care problem, no unemployment problem, nor anything else for the U.S. House of Representatives to work on that's more important than limiting the volume of TV commercials. What a great country we live in.
Alfred T. Barnard, Beverly Hills
Public pension costs
Private sector lags
Recent articles railing against the wide disparity between public sector pay and benefits and what private sector employees get are just another attempt by the corporate elite to divide Americans.
The real story here is that private sector workers are getting a raw deal. Instead of giving in to all this divisive hype, private sector employees should start demanding what is rightfully ours: a fair share of the profits. Instead of bringing everyone down to slave wages, let's raise everyone up.
With corporate profits at an all-time high, don't tell me the money's not there. And any money taken from public sector employees is only going to be funneled to millionaires in the form of tax cuts.
Dan Robl, Palmetto
For sale signs next?
What a relief for Floridians. Gov.-elect Rick Scott has saved the day with his pronouncement that "Florida is Open for Business!"
Next we'll be hearing: Attention developers! Red light special! Wetlands for sale on Aisle 13! Or worse.
Sallie Elmore, Largo
Possibility of a deal
The leader of Hamas held a news conference Dec. 1 and said that if Israel would agree to the 1967 borders as a state for Palestine, and the Palestinians voted for it to pass, then they would agree to it.
So much for all the hawks who constantly say that Hamas will never agree to anything, so why bother having negotiations at all. This should be front-page news, so why isn't it? It's time for the media to do its job by reporting what really matters, not on page three or five but on page one.
Demi Swearingen, St. Petersburg