U.S. AAA rating slips | Aug. 6
Ratings fraud still unpunished
Where is the outrage?
The big banks and investment firms that packaged and sold junk mortgages as AAA-rated securities were able to do so because the ratings agencies enabled them to do so. Why? Because the banks and investment firms paid the ratings agencies. That collaboration led to the market crash we are all suffering from.
The people who ran those ratings agencies should have been prosecuted for fraud. Instead, they have the gall to downgrade U.S. creditworthiness.
The response of the Obama administration is to question the ratings agencies' methodology. The correct response would be to proceed with the prosecution of those responsible for the fraud.
Robert Monroe, Tampa
U.S. AAA rating slips | Aug. 6
Lack of credibility
Standard & Poor's downgrading of the United States credit rating could bring a world of negative economic consequences, including higher interest rates on everything from home loans to credit cards to business loans.
Yet this is the very same company that gave AAA ratings to the garbage of bad mortgage "products" (as Wall Street calls them). Why does S&P have any credibility?
J. Steele Olmstead, Tampa
Same as a tax increase
Republican intransigence about raising revenue and insistence on protecting corporate welfare has resulted in an indirect tax on all Americans.
The lowering of the AAA rating could drive up interest rates for credit cards, mortgages, business loans, auto loans and other investments.
In effect, Republican intransigence has created an indirect tax on all Americans and increased the deficit.
Martin Peters, Tarpon Springs
Deal was within reach
Voters should recall that the $4 trillion in spending cuts demanded by Standard & Poor's to avoid lowering the U.S. credit rating is precisely the amount that President Barack Obama and House Republicans were headed toward before the uncompromising radical right tea party members of the House forced Speaker John Boehner to walk away from the talks.
The reduced credit rating and resulting chaos are directly attributable to the refusal of these folks to put the interests of the nation above their own rigid ideology and the greed of the rich tea party backers.
Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg
There is a lot of blame going around regarding the downgrade in our credit rating. There is a simple way to identify the real problem.
All members of Congress should be asked two simple questions.
1. How many years have you been in Congress?
2. What was the national debt at the time you were first elected to Congress?
John Merritt, Palm Harbor
Perry event draws 30,000 | Aug. 7
Leave religion out of it
Politicians like Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann seem to think they can get elected by pushing their religious zeal on the American voters.
Has everyone forgotten that we've had to deal with Middle Eastern countries that have or had fanatic Islamic leaders? Does Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ring a bell? Leaders like him put religious beliefs ahead of the good of their countries.
Religion and politics don't belong together. There are millions of people in this country who are not Christians.
Boniface Gaeta, St. Petersburg
Enter the austerity trap and kiss jobs goodbye | Aug. 7, commentary
I don't know what planet Dick Polman is on, but there have been 10 years of stimulus: 1 percent interest rates to stimulate housing, two wars to fuel defense industry employment, cash for clunkers, lending programs from the Fed, and more.
Just as in the 1930s, all stimulus created was debt and temporary jobs because once it is removed the economy begins to decline. The only thing that pulled the economy out of the Depression was World War II and the destruction of the most the world's manufacturing base. Hopefully history doesn't repeat itself.
Fabian Flaque, Tampa
Cuts won't get it done
The belief that drastic cuts in federal spending are necessary is disturbing. A certain amount of cuts is necessary, but what results is a massive loss of government employees at the very time the United States is trying to create jobs. This also trickles down to state and local governments.
Many people say the stimulus didn't work. That is untrue. Jobs were saved and new jobs were added. Also, it's inexcusable that subsidies for wealthy corporations and individuals were allowed to continue as part of the debt-ceiling package. The American people have to put more pressure on Congress to correct these flaws.
Carole Gallotta, Bradenton
Sprinkles for his image | Aug. 4
Try something a bit tougher
I would like to see Gov. Rick Scott work some of the jobs that he and the Legislature seem to hold in contempt, namely those held by the other public employees of this state.
I am a public school teacher, and I'd like to see him and all legislators work in a classroom for one day. The morning rush at a doughnut shop? You have no idea.
And let me add that I love my job, even in the face of public derision. Unless you've been there and done that, mind what you say and do that affects so many hardworking professionals and the people we serve.
Kim Dohnert, Trinity
30 troops die in copter crash | Aug. 7
Remember their sacrifice
As you go about the business of your daily life, please pause and take a moment to honor our military with special appreciation for our American heroes who perished in Afghanistan on Saturday.
My prayers and gratitude go out to their families and loved ones. They have sacrificed all for our freedom and protection. They should never be forgotten. God bless and rest in peace.
Patti Schuman, Tampa