A higher minimum wage — at what cost? | May 30, commentary
Higher wages boost the economy
Here we go again. Every time the minimum wage is raised — or a raise is proposed — the Chamber of Commerce, assorted business associations and ivory tower economists (like the author of this article) moan and wail and rend their garments. They howl warnings about a massive loss of low-level jobs and apprenticeships.
Give me a break. This has never happened. The minimum wage has been periodically raised with no appreciable economic effect except for putting more consumer spending into the economy. If such a job loss had occurred, the wealthy powers-that-be would be waving the statistics. They don't have proof because it isn't there.
Pete Wilford, Holiday
A higher minimum wage — at what cost? May 30, commentary
Tax credit is a better way
Brad Schiller of American University makes a good case that raising the price of labor (minimum wage) will decrease the amount of labor (jobs).
If so, what should the government do to put more purchasing power into the consumer's hands? The next best alternative seems to be the earned income tax credit, paid for directly by the government rather than the employer and (so far) exempt from taxes.
An earned income credit certainly beats welfare and "entitlement" programs that keep the unemployed out of the workforce.
Michael Baldigo, Palm Harbor
St. Petersburg waterfront
Clear path, unified voice
The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce's Downtown Waterfront Master Plan Task Force offers its support for the current proposal before the City Council to hire a consultant team to provide our community with a comprehensive waterfront master plan.
The Chamber Task Force has been working with city staff and our elected leaders since 2011 to ensure we have a clear path and a unified voice for this voter-mandated effort.
City staff has carefully followed a City Council-approved process and budget to ensure our city has an open, engaging, inclusive process that will produce a quality master plan to guide the growth of our downtown waterfront for the next 100 years.
The recent study of our downtown waterfront by the Urban Land Institute finds that our waterfront continues to be the most powerful natural economic engine in our city and deserves a thoroughly vetted, professional, comprehensive strategy for our future together.
It's time to move forward with a master plan to provide us with a vision for how we protect, enhance and connect the assets of our waterfront. The port, Albert Whitted Airport, Al Lang Stadium, the Pier, the municipal marina, the park system and innovation district will benefit from a master plan that leverages public and private investments in transportation, parking, pedestrian access and connectivity of our downtown. A master plan provides us with a sense of certainty for the economic development opportunities identified for these assets as well as for the entire St. Petersburg community.
Ross Preville and Amanda Taylor, Downtown Waterfront Master Plan Task Force, St. Petersburg
'Public harm' and gay marriage | May 31
First, do no harm
Attorney General Pam Bondi has some strange ideas what does and does not harm Floridians. When the Affordable Care Act was passed, Bondi fought against the law that would provide health insurance to millions of Floridians.
However, when two people of the same gender who love each other want to be married, Bondi claims this would cause "public harm" to Floridians. Why is discriminating against gay Floridians good for Florida, but making health insurance available to Floridians bad for us?
Richard Feigel, St. Petersburg
Dollars and sense
Why is it that more is not being done to educate young people about financial matters?
Students are graduating without knowing the simplest things like how to budget, balance a checkbook or buy a car. Most people would say it's the parents' responsibility, but if the parents are not knowledgeable themselves won't that become society's problem in the future?
Lisy Saavedra, Tampa
Common Core could burn Bush | June 1
Standing up for standards
This article's premise is analogous to criticizing the work of the First Amendment Foundation because some of its financial supporters and board members consist of for-profit media companies that benefit from the policies advocated by the foundation. The public is more sophisticated than that.
The Common Core State Standards represent a significant improvement in the educational standards used throughout the nation by many school systems. They have the support of groups and people as diverse as the Council of Chief State School Officers, leading professors at the Graduate Schools of Education at Stanford and Harvard, the majority of classroom teachers throughout the country, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, and many parents of children in public schools, such as my wife and me.
When it was safe and popular to support the CCSS, many politicians jumped on the bandwagon. Now that many talking heads on the radio and the blogosphere demagogue CCSS, politicians lacking in a strong backbone are quick to sacrifice our children's education for the sake of their own political ambitions.
It takes a great deal of courage to buck an entrenched and powerful status quo to do the right thing for our children. Jeb Bush has demonstrated time and again that he has the courage to do what is right for our children's education. And he is doing it yet again in leading the fight in support of the CCSS.
Roberto Martinez, member, Board of Education (2006-12), Coral Gables
White House accidentally names CIA chief May 27
It should be remembered that it was only a few years ago that the same Democratic Party that currently runs the White House was up in arms because the name of a CIA official was leaked to the press.
The outrage about Valerie Plame's outing in the liberal mainstream press was universal and white-hot. An angry Washington press corps helped manufacture a crisis that forced President George W. Bush to appoint a special prosecutor to look into an act that was proclaimed to be nothing short of treason.
What occurred this past week was far worse than anything that happened to Plame. Plame was, after all, serving in an office in Virginia. The CIA station chief whose name was released is in peril every day in Kabul. The release of his name could well compromise his effectiveness if not his safety.
John Whelan, Dunedin