Stimulus saves and creates jobs
A number of recent letters and op-ed columns have claimed that the federal government's stimulus spending has not worked. Try telling that to the thousands of teachers, firefighters and police officers whose jobs were saved by stimulus funds. Or to the many thousands more employed by GM, Chrysler and associated suppliers who would be unemployed without the stimulus.
Some people like to claim that President Franklin Roosevelt's stimulus spending did not end the Depression; that it took the war to accomplish that. What they need to remember is that it was not the war itself, but the massive spending on defense. Building all those planes, ships, tanks, etc., was the biggest stimulus spending ever, and that's what ended the Depression. So don't knock the stimulus.
Lewis Lederer, Clearwater
Do your part to help the swells Aug. 12, Daniel Ruth column
The voters have spoken: Don't raise income taxes
It is comical, if not sad, that folks like Daniel Ruth cannot accept defeat in the tired debate over raising taxes on the so-called rich. He misleads his readers by asserting that a tax increase would simply amount to another 2 to 3 percent. Those of us who studied basic mathematics in grammar school are aware that an increase of the tax rate to 39.6 percent from 36 percent amounts to a hike of more than 10 percent. Removing so much money from our already fragile economy would be devastating.
Fortunately this fact is not lost on the American people. It was less than one year ago that the country was engaged in a national dialogue over whether or not to let the Bush tax cuts expire, and we the people sent a clear message via the ballot box that tax increases are not the solution to the nation's fiscal woes. Only a few months later this debate resurfaced during the debt ceiling negotiations, and yet again the American people through our elected representatives made clear we prefer that Washington rein in spending.
According to data from the Congressional Budget Office, the top 1 percent of wage earners paid more than 38 percent of the country's federal income tax as of 2008. This is up from just under 34 percent in 2000, before the Bush tax cuts went into effect.
The challenges that many of our Western European friends are experiencing are evidence of the fallacy that high taxes on upper income earners will drive economic growth.
Perhaps Daniel Ruth and his tax-the-rich advocates would better serve the country by using their pens to prod Washington into addressing the real problem: out-of-control spending.
Walter Stackow, St. Petersburg
War spending drives debt
In all the hysteria about the debt and deficit, and America's loss of its AAA credit rating, little or no mention is made of the major driver of these deficits: our ongoing wars. Those nations that have maintained AAA ratings are not at perpetual war. Their budgets are not ballooned by the enormous costs of fighting.
The financial cost of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan to the United States is now estimated at close to $4 trillion and growing. No matter how many services are cut for ordinary Americans, this enormous cost of war will continue to drive up our deficit.
Judy Moore, Lutz
School chief's on the agenda | Aug. 15
Time for her to go
I hope the Pinellas County School Board will be permitted to vote on superintendent Julie Janssen's immediate employment future at its Tuesday meeting because, without much doubt, she is an absolute hindrance to the overall improvement and advancement of the school district.
Time and time again, Janssen has dug herself into a hole resulting from her lack of leadership, poor decisionmaking and communications, and questionable spending of limited funds.
The correct choice would be for her to bow out gracefully.
Mike McGinnis, Clearwater
TIA first in Florida to use less intrusive body scans | Aug. 12
Privacy vs. safety
I wish people would stop complaining about body searches at the airport. Not only are imaging screens less invasive than somebody patting your body up and down, they are accurate enough to detect explosives or weapons hidden inside a suicide bomber's body. Forget your precious privacy and choose safety.
I'm an extensive traveler, and I couldn't care less about having my private body parts viewed by someone who sees hundreds of images per day and doesn't care about how mine looks. I'd rather sit on a plane and be assured that no one has swallowed explosives in order to reach heaven.
Times have changed. If you want to travel safely, deal with the necessary inconvenience.
Edith Huber, Trinity
Violence is repudiation of policies Aug. 12, letter
Lack of a moral compass
As somebody who has also lived in England, I have a different view of the cause of the recent unrest. For decades, England has become more and more of a welfare state, instilling in citizens a sense of entitlement. Now the bill has finally come due for these programs and the government has to turn off the tap.
Countless youths who were raised without a work ethic or any moral compass are now revolting at the thought of having to make it on their own without their handouts.
Unfortunately, this is the same path that the Obama liberals are leading us down.
Chris Johnson, Clearwater
Passing the buck
A friend who was active in the demonstration days of the Vietnam War era questioned why young people today are not taking to the streets to express outrage at the destruction of their future by the self-interested Washington pols and the megarich.
Maybe it is because they have been raised in the luxurious belief that someone else will always find the answers to the bad economy, escalating health costs, endangered environment, and so on.
Why have personal concerns? At the worst there will be a societal credit card available to pass the burden on to the next generation. It's sad if that is their thinking.
Arthur Eggers, Tampa