Pragmatic vs. partisan | Feb. 14, editorial
We will regret slapdash stimulus
I would suggest that any reasonable lawmaker or government official — including Gov. Charlie Crist — who voted for or endorsed a $787 billion piece of legislation should, at the very least, have had the opportunity to read and digest its contents before doing so.
There is a respectable school of thought which holds that significant tax cuts across the entire business and personal spectrum in conjunction with the marshaling and concentration of resources aimed at restoring the solvency and liquidity of the financial sector are the best way to resuscitate commerce, reverse unemployment and restore the viability of the stock market.
By way of contrast, the freewheeling spending of copious amounts of money for wide-scale welfare and social programs creates a society where a large segment of the population becomes servile to the federal government.
And while public works infrastructure programs are laudable, there are historical data which confirm that such slapdash programs cobbled together in a panic-stricken mode, without deliberative circumspection and protective safeguards, will produce large-scale corruption, bribes, kickbacks and waste. This is verified by your companion article, Highway robbery has new meaning, on Page 2A of the same edition.
There is an old biblical admonition warning us not to sell our birthright for a mess of pottage. Perhaps this is what the Republicans who decried Gov. Crist's enthusiastic endorsement of this $787 billion piece of legislation had in mind when they voiced their criticisms.
Jack B. McPherson, New Port Richey
Pragmatic vs. partisan | Feb. 14, editorial
Government needed to act
Your appraisal of the just-enacted Obama stimulus package is somewhat wishful thinking and oversimplified. Thoughtful response was needed to the current economic deterioration, and one question will be: Did the president and Congress take enough time is crafting legislation?
The stimulus law is more than 1,000 pages and neither editors nor legislators can possibly comprehend its effects. It contains both practical and ideological provisions. It is going to have some resemblance to the long and distorted Internal Revenue Code and its reams of regulations once execution starts. That is depressing because our tax law is a misfit most helpful to lawyers and CPAs.
While I express a lack of confidence in the stimulus law, I believe the government had to act. Republican lawmakers spent more time carping than thinking constructively. I have real admiration for the three Republican senators who made passage possible because they acted based on their sense of national interest. Any reasonable citizen hopes the stimulus law has some success and doesn't suffer from the private excesses which gave birth to it.
James R. Gillespie, St. Petersburg
Party politics is seriously undermining the effective operation of our government. We need to remember those elected representatives who vote strictly along party lines instead of for the good of their constituencies. We need to remember this in November 2010 when we next vote for congressional representatives. Our economy is in dire need of help. Admittedly, there is not a consensus on how to help, but it is clear that our government needs to try something.
Therefore, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act was proposed and passed in an attempt to help with economic recovery. As our fellow citizens are losing their jobs and homes, the following congressional representatives voted along party lines and against the bill versus trying to support their constituencies. They are Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor; Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville; Adam Putnam, R-Bartow; C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores; and Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota.
Please take this into consideration when we vote in 2010.
Robert B. Tegarden, Trinity
Turn down the money
If these House and Senate Republicans who voted against the stimulus bill want to stand on their principles, let's see them refuse the stimulus money for their states and districts. After all, this would make the stimulus plan considerably smaller and would, by their own reckoning, be fiscally responsible. Let's see them run on that record in 2010.
Steve Harden, Holiday
Tampa law firm slashes 243 jobs | Feb. 13, story
Holland & Knight is cutting 243 jobs, despite 2008 being "a good year for us," according to their spokesperson. Profit was down to a mere $678,337 per equity partner for the year.
Despite the obvious logic that every increase in unemployment accelerates the downward spiral of local economies, that every job lost endangers many more through trickle effects, and that these losses will affect their business as well, these well-to-do lawyers chose to look out for themselves first.
Think what a help it would have been to the economy as well as to the 243 families if the equity partners had chosen instead to try to survive on a mere $678,337 — heck, maybe even had taken a cut to half a million each just for a year, in an effort to help stabilize the economy.
I guess the sacrifices being called for only apply to those who can't find someone else to pass them on to.
Sharon Kane, Clearwater
A breakdown of the financial stimulus bill Feb. 17
Job data, please
I found the chart on Page 4A Tuesday showing the dollar breakout of the stimulus bill very clear and useful.
Can you have that chart overlayed with the number of jobs each of the circles will produce?
Martin Hurwitz, Sun City Center
You might be too rich if … | Feb. 14, commentary
The pursuit of pay
"No one can earn a million dollars honestly" — William Jennings Bryan
Adjusted for inflation, I guess that million would be about $8 million or $9 million today. (At the time, the U.S. president's salary was $50,000.)
And hey, if the best and the brightest aren't tempted by the obscene compensation levels earned on Wall Street, they'd probably find honest work in the real world.
I'm sure that, by and large, they would fit in just fine. Possibly, they'd even enhance America's engineering, manufacturing, energy, distribution, education, health care and other essential industries. It could all be quite beneficial.
There's no guarantee, however, that they won't all go into advertising.
Roger Roach, Pinellas Park