Health care reform turns real | Oct. 6, commentary
Too many looking for a handout
I worked for 40 years and grew up having my parents or wife and myself always having health insurance for our family and ourselves. We are paying $4,000 a year each for our retirement insurance. I have never been uninsured and always have been covered by family or individual insurance.
No one deserves free insurance, yet everyone has their hand out waiting for someone else to pay for their shortcomings. There is $17 trillion in debt, 7 percent unemployment, immigration on our door and too many looking for a Democratic Party handout.
Why not try to apply the standards of work ethic and self-discipline and provide for yourselves? It is a fantasy that we can give it all to those who are in need. We are on the desperate edge of fiscal irresponsibility and the Democratic Party is going to lead us over the cliff, not Republicans.
Alan G. Smith, Dunedin
Health care reform turns real Oct. 6, commentary
Big savings on insurance
For the first time since leaving state government, I actually have some alternatives to paying an outrageous $13,431 a year in health insurance premiums. The opportunity for me to save money on my premiums would not have happened if it wasn't for the federal government using its significant influence over the regulated insurance industry in a way that helps a lot of people, not just "the poor, the lazy, the unwilling to work and the drug addicts" the Republican leadership in D.C. insist it's for.
Raised in a GOP household, my parents are rolling over in their graves at the irresponsible, "protect only the wealthy" stance and lack of statesmanship the GOP is displaying. I am disappointed and urge all in Congress to work to get the U.S. ship righted again. Passing a budget, increasing the debt ceiling and implementing the Affordable Care Act are all actions that congressmen are paid to do by the American public.
Call your elected officials today and tell them to stop the temper tantrum that is the tea party and get back to the business of governing.
Eva Armstrong, Tallahassee
Pope stirs up debate yet again | Oct. 2
Humility and kindess
Day by day, Pope Francis reminds the world that it is not "business as usual" in the Vatican. Implicit in each declaration he dares to humbly suggest that God and God's will for us all is somehow grander and greater than the voluminous accumulation of rote doctrines, outward trappings and religious habits the Catholic Church and maybe all churches have galvanized as their versions of God's truth.
In each declaration, Pope Francis suggests a vision of God that is bigger than all that. He dares to humbly promote humility, simplicity and human kindness above all as the substance of our reverence in our daily works of faith. He dares to be a true spiritual leader as fulfillment of his role as church official. Who among us is worthy to throw the first stone?
Robert Dennard, Belleair Bluffs
For Boehner, struggle to lead | Oct. 5
House members have a duty
I keep reading and hearing that Barack Obama won the election, so the Republicans in the House should give him anything he wants. The simple, mostly ignored fact is that the House Republicans won an election too, mainly on the issue of stopping or limiting the actions of the president.
Those elections are local and occur every two years, so a congressman has greater accountability to his constituents than a senator does. Therefore they need to take a stand to be re-elected. The Democrats and the media who think they will be punished for shutting down the government are mistaken. I believe the Republicans will be rewarded by their constituents next fall if they stick by their guns.
Dave Hoyt, Palm Harbor
Boehner's painful populism Oct. 4, Daniel Ruth column
Normally it would be a pleasure to see ancient Roman history referenced in a column on current events, but in this instance Daniel Ruth's grasp of the subject leaves something to be desired.
It would have been difficult for Cincinnatus to rule the Roman Empire at the time he is believed to have lived since Rome had not as yet established an empire, its territory barely extending beyond the bounds of the city itself.
The office he held was that of dictator, a temporary, emergency-driven position that he assumed the first time in 458 (not 488) B.C. Perhaps Ruth felt the term "dictator" would fall too harshly on the ears of a modern audience, but the ancient Romans would not have been offended, understanding that the duties they asked of this leader were called for only because of extreme conditions (the temporary nature of such duties being taken for granted).
Nevertheless, the example of this particular Roman reverberated through the ages, until eventually George Washington was referred to as the modern Cincinnatus for the way he seemed to follow in the footsteps of his legendary predecessor.
R.B. Johnson, Indian Rocks Beach
I read Daniel Ruth's column regularly. One of his favorite words is "hubris." My definition of "hubris" is: "Barack Obama." Obama, on many occasions, reminds us that he is president. He beat John McCain and Mitt Romney. In the most recent past, Obama appeared to be overmatched when dealing with world leaders concerning foreign policies. So now he takes the hard line at home.
Joe LaRussa, San Antonio
European mail gets stamp of capitalism Oct. 4
Return idea to sender
This column gives reasons for the success of Britain's postal service and reasons why our postal service is unsuccessful.
One thing he conveniently forgot to mention is the law from the last Republican Congress that requires the U.S. Postal Service to prefund pensions for retirees 75 years into the future. This means that the pensions must be prefunded for retirees who haven't even been born yet. If the newly private postal service in Britain had to do this, I bet the IPO would not have been so successful. In fact the vast majority of U.S. companies would fail if they had such an onerous burden.
If the Republicans are successful in running the USPS out of business and thus eliminating one more union (their ultimate goal), will they then ask to place this same burden on the private, nonunion companies that will take the USPS's place? The answer is obvious.
Kenneth Holder, Lutz