Growth won't close gap | March 18, commentary
Bring back U.S. manufacturing
If it's impossible to make taxes more progressive, there might be another way to slow the disparity in wealth: reduce U.S. participation in the "global economy," in particular our wide-open markets for manufactured imports. We must restore our manufacturing, because it's an unmatched source of well-paid jobs.
This might be easier to do than progressive taxes, because manufacturing is also essential for national defense. Even the Koch brothers wouldn't want the United States to be defeated in a war. If we hadn't had first-class manufacturing in 1941, we would have lost World War II.
This will require tariffs on manufactured imports, including those made in foreign factories owned by Americans. Opponents of tariffs cite the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff as worsening the Great Depression. That's a lie spread mostly by American businessmen who profit from importing cheap foreign manufactures.
Tariffs protected U.S. manufacturing and helped us become the "arsenal of democracy."
Jack Gregg, Dunedin
FDA should decide issue
We didn't vote on aspirin. We didn't vote on the polio vaccine. We didn't vote on penicillin. Why are we voting on medical marijuana?
People with chronic illnesses deserve relief. Drugs are designed to impede a human function; most are effective when taken as prescribed.
Why are we voting on a drug that is smoked when we have truckloads of evidence on the harmful effects of all smoke inhalation?
There are dozens of types of marijuana plants, some more potent than others. Doesn't a sick person need a correct dosage for his symptoms? And what happens when the active ingredient in marijuana interacts with a prescribed drug? Have the side effects of drug combinations been evaluated?
I am neither for nor against the legalization of medical marijuana. I am in favor of allowing the federal Food and Drug Administration to do its job and removing this decision from of the voters.
Sherry Sacino, St. Pete Beach
Leaders quiet on fees | March 15
Let them hear the outrage
Spineless, pathetic and outrageous is how I would characterize the lawmakers who refuse to speak out and act immediately on the scandal of trauma center fees. Indeed, your article stated that some lawmakers are proposing to shield trauma centers against lawsuits from competitors.
It infuriates me that the greedy, elusive and immoral people running these trauma centers are not condemned and run out of Florida by those we elected to protect us. And when I read that HCA has 25 lobbyists and has made campaign contributions of $1.3 million, including $100,000 to Gov. Rick Scott's re-election campaign, I despair.
This issue affects every citizen, and we should be bombarding our politicians with calls and emails. If we quietly let this pass, any of us could be the next victim if we are unfortunate enough to be taken to one of these money-grabbing centers.
Michele Elliott, St. Petersburg
Pro-Sink calls rubbed even supporters the wrong way | March 16, Adam C. Smith column
Work on public persona
If Alex Sink hopes to win an election in the future, she should take voice modulation lessons or else drastically reduce her TV exposure.
John Erickson, St. Petersburg
Better than expected
Some people claim that this election spells doom for Democrats because a Republican won in a district that President Barack Obama carried in 2012, but the president only did so by 1.4 points, and Sink lost by only 1.9. That is hardly a huge swing.
Furthermore, experts estimate that, since this was a special election, Republicans had a turnout advantage of between 8 and 13 points. Add to that Republicans' 2.5-point edge in registration in the district and the relatively recent health care rollout fiasco, and it becomes obvious that Sink actually did better than one would expect.
Stephen Lapp, Tampa
Shining light | March 14
Lessons in leadership
Steve Bousquet's tribute to Reubin Askew was illuminating and uplifting.
Given the buffoons and hacks chosen by today's voters, it is astonishing that a person of Askew's character and integrity achieved public office. Apparently Florida was once a smarter, better place.
Burke Voit, New Port Richey
Flow of BP cash not easy to figure | March 16
Surge of pure greed
Some claimants in the BP oil spill disaster have no problem saying, "It's there, so why not apply?" I cannot help but equate this with the cries of foul when the poor and disadvantaged apply for social benefits. I wonder how many of the businessmen and women scream foul when poor people apply for assistance? Don't these claimants see the similarity in their behavior?
I find it appalling that businesses justify working the BP claim system out of simple greed while condemning others for trying to work the benefits system to merely exist. I guess it has nothing to do with ethics or honesty. It only has to do with who is on the receiving end.
Caroline York Mortell, St. Petersburg
Keeping tabs on government, at a click March 16, editorial
Profile in openness
Cheers for Pinellas County Clerk of Court Ken Burke. I wish we could clone this guy. Transparency and accountability are rare in this day. Thank you, Ken Burke, for being such a leader in this effort.
Sandy Hutton, Belleair
Sara's choice | March 16
Bizarre and despicable
My heart was overwhelmed with sadness after reading this article. As the bizarre practices of this "church" continue to unfold, it's beyond comprehension that such an organization is allowed to exist, let alone continue to take advantage of vulnerable people who are taken in by its "religious" teachings. The Times, to its credit, has dared to expose some of its most despicable policies.
John Hayner, Clearwater