Working class poll shows GOP tilt | Oct. 7
Voting against their own good
The results of this poll are disheartening. I was born in 1931 during the heart of the Great Depression in a poor, white, working-class neighborhood with little education. My first memories are of my father and neighbors working on the Works Progress Administration to put sewers and running water on our street.
President Franklin Roosevelt's stimulus package worked; it put food on our table. We were all Democrats because the Republicans supported the wealthy and the Democrats supported us.
That is still true today. The gap between the wealthy and poor in the 1920s caused the Depression, wiping out the consumers. The same Republican policies of the past decade have caused the same results, and it will take us years to recover. Why does the working class of today continue to vote against their own interests? It's difficult to comprehend.
Ron Linder, Tampa
Turning things around
Jobs are the No. 1 issue in this election. After he took office, George W. Bush cut taxes for those with incomes at the top, saying they would create jobs for the rest of us.
But during the last 10 years, we have had one of the worst records of job creation in America's history. In fact, during the last 12 months of the Bush administration, job losses accelerated, reaching a rate of about three quarters of a million jobs lost per month by the time Bush left office.
Deregulation under Bush sent millions of American jobs overseas, allowed Wall Street to gamble with our savings, and perpetuated the greatest mortgage crisis since the Great Depression.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and other actions of the Obama administration are turning this around. Job losses decreased for the first nine months and then became job gains. The stock market has returned. The American automobile industry was saved. The jobs of millions of teachers, firefighters and police officers were preserved. And regulations for the banking, financial and insurance industries have been passed to prevent us from sliding backwards.
James Frazier, Bradenton
Protect the great outdoors
I recently attended the U.S. Interior Department's Florida public listening session in Kissimmee on how to manage America's great outdoors.
Wild stretches of land and abundant wildlife are a part of our social fabric. However, overdevelopment, pollution and climate change are putting our land and water at risk.
The Sierra Club recommends that we safeguard our public lands and other habitats from the impacts of climate change by adopting climate-smart management policies. In Florida that means that we:
• Prohibit new development on coastal barrier islands and encourage restoration of mangroves, beach dunes and other features that protect coastal areas from rising sea levels and increased tropical storm activity due to climate change.
• Preserve agricultural land surrounding wildlife corridors as a means to create buffers limiting urban encroachment on protected areas and endangered species.
America must also limit non-climate stressors. In Florida that means:
• Putting final standards into effect for nitrogen and phosphorus in our lakes, rivers, streams, springs, canals and coastal waters.
• Maintaining the ban on offshore drilling in the outer continental shelf surrounding Florida's coastline.
Phil Compton, Sierra Club Florida Regional Office, St. Petersburg
Promote, not provide
Several times over the past couple of years, letter writers have noted that one of the purposes of the U.S. Constitution was "to promote the general welfare," as did a writer to the Times last week. In each case, the phrase has been quoted to support the current administration's liberal agenda and/or to criticize the conservative opposition.
May I point out that the operative word is "promote;" it does not say to "provide for the general welfare."
As Thomas Jefferson said in his first inaugural address in 1801, "(A) wise and frugal government ... shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
This is promoting the general welfare and a good example of the purpose of the quoted clause.
Sandra Tracey, Tarpon Springs
Billions wasted on oil | Sept. 29, letter
Oil will be needed for years
Those who complain about our use of foreign oil seem to think that wind and solar power are the answer to our energy needs, which is nowhere near correct. Wind turbine farms are ugly and only work when the wind blows at a certain speed. Solar panels only work during the day, and possibly not unless the sun is shining.
Plug-in battery vehicles are only good for driving around town and commuting to work. If a person lives in an apartment, where does he plug in the vehicle? And everyone forgets the products we use every day that depend on oil for their manufacture.
We probably will never get off foreign oil until it runs out.
Chuck Grecco, New Port Richey