For quality of life, U.S. trails peers | Nov. 30, commentary
Other nations lack class mobility
The most obvious flaw in this analysis is the relative size of populations and demographics of the countries used in comparison. All nations cited in this study are much more homogenous than ours; no other nation has such a broad cross-section of nationalities and races as the United States.
I have lived and worked in socialized Europe, and people do not have class mobility as in the United States. It is very difficult to start a business in those countries in Europe and grow it because of the onerous cost of insurance and taxes. None of those nations has as high a percentage of business owners as the United States, and that's the reason we have such a broadly developed middle class.
The real problem is the huge increase in out-of-wedlock birth rates and teenage pregnancies among the lowest socioeconomic classes in United States over the past 45 years and the number of unskilled/undereducated workers this has produced.
Cliff Cook, St. Petersburg
GOP governors tout how great they are Dec. 2
Hardly 'bold leadership'
I've never understood how some people think your paper expresses a liberal perspective. A perfect example is your reporter's description of Republican governors showing "bold leadership."
What is so bold about giving the people who you see at country club dinners, on the golf course, and in stadium skyboxes tax breaks, or shifting public monies to their private companies? What is so bold about scapegoating unionized workers, such as teachers, police and firefighters? What is so bold about letting corporate donors write laws dismantling environmental protections that will surely add to health problems like asthma for children?
No, "bold leadership" would be challenging the status quo here in Florida by closing tax loopholes that continue to hamper our state's budget. It would reverse the failed Bush-era education policies that have benefited private companies, weakened our public schools, and wasted and misused tax dollars for over a decade.
Sarah Robinson, Safety Harbor
'Tough decisions' that hurt
I read with interest the article on the GOP governors' meeting in Orlando. The headline says it all. I could barely refrain from dropping to my knees and belting out a rendition of How Great Thou Art!
These folks are busy patting themselves on the back for their "tough decisions" while they are weakening environmental laws, stripping the budgets for schools that are educating tomorrow's citizenry, passing legislation that will restrict voting rights, and cutting funding for programs that help the poor and disadvantaged. All the while they insist on tax cuts for the very wealthy and pander to lobbyists, big business and special interests.
Our "esteemed" governor, Rick Scott, mentioned that he had to learn all about the dynamics of the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature. I maintain that he was a quick study. He has rapidly learned the ways of partisan politics and a disregard for the good of the people of his state.
I work in a volunteer organization that does our best to help the disadvantaged. We see the results of these "tough decisions" every day. The need for help is absolutely overwhelming.
Peggy Leahy, New Port Richey
In the running for postal prestige | Dec. 3
Save stamps for true heroes
As of Dec. 3 there were 4,483 American servicemen and women lost in Iraq. If anyone deserves to have their face on a stamp, it is them.
What has Lady Gaga, or some of the others under consideration, ever done for this country? Since 4,483 is too many Americans to give each a stamp, we can honor them using the insignias of the service branches. These are the true American heroes.
Joan J. Carlton, St. Petersburg
Great riches, greater poverty | Dec. 2, commentary
Children are an inspiration
Connie Schultz couldn't be more wrong. In the free market, when there is a demand for your product or services, society will pay for them. When you're an unemployed carpenter and there is no demand, society will not pay for it. These are simple rules to our economic system that Schultz refuses to accept.
What of Arielle Metzger and her brother Austin, who have found themselves in such a condition of life? I say they are blessed. They will experience life at its best and worst. They will dig their way out by sheer willpower and taste what it is truly like to be free.
I would not hesitate to turn over the keys to our republic to these two kids. They will be worthy to lead all the upper middle class kids who have an Ivy League education who have had life handed to them. America was built by those who arrived at our shores with little to no money. Poverty is a great motivator; comfort is not. Kids like this will make America strong.
Gregg Pattee, Seminole
Action targets Cohen's condo | Dec. 1
Lender, servicer to blame
I represent Mr. and Mrs. Barry A. Cohen in connection with his dispute with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. over a mortgage on his condominium on St. Pete Beach and wish to clarify the events surrounding the dispute.
Because of apparent errors made by the servicer of this account, mortgage payments tendered by Mr. Cohen for April and May of this year were not applied to the account and in fact were returned. Mr. Cohen attempted to remedy the situation, and while this was ongoing the servicer continued to refuse to accept payments tendered by Mr. Cohen. Despite representations that the matter was being resolved, the servicer referred the matter to foreclosure counsel.
Mr. Cohen has deposited in my firm's Trust Account all payments due on this mortgage since April 2011. The servicer promised Mr. Cohen over two months ago that he would be provided the amount necessary to put the mortgage back in a current status. To date, and after repeated calls by Mr. Cohen's representative to the law firm handling the matter, he has not been provided this information.
The fact that this matter was not resolved long ago is due to delay by the lender and servicer, not by Mr. Cohen. He made diligent efforts to timely honor his obligations of this mortgage. I have seen this type of error in my practice on several occasions, including foreclosure action filed against an individual who was current in payment or tender of 100 percent of required payments. It is regrettable the Times chose to publish this story despite Mr. Cohen advising the Times that the foreclosure was filed in error.
Leon A. Williamson Jr., Tampa