Capital gains tax
Tax gains like ordinary income
Republicans wax nostalgic when comparing their tax proposals to President Ronald Reagan's, yet never mention that the Tax Reform Act of 1986 included an increase in the capital gains tax rate to 28 percent, which was also the top marginal tax rate at the time.
I believe most Americans think it is reasonable for someone whose income is derived from investments such as capital gains and carried interest, like Mitt Romney, to be taxed at whatever the marginal income tax rate is for that individual, just like it is for someone who works for a living. It makes even more sense now than it did in 1986 for capital gains and interest to be taxed at a higher rate than the current 15 percent when one considers the amount of wealth creation and wealth inequality that has resulted from financial engineering in the last 20 years.
A continuation of the 15 percent capital gains tax rate, which primarily benefits the wealthy, is unsustainable, and it is one of the provisions in Romney's tax proposal. The so-called numbers the Republican candidates use in their tax proposal to eventually balance the federal budget are based on fanciful projections of revenue growth from the economy, and some are simply pulled out of thin air.
George Howlett, Tampa
Voters shouldn't be fooled by title of amendment
The misleading title on Amendment 8 on the Nov. 6 ballot, "Religious Freedom," is another attack on public school funding while tearing down the separation of church and state.
Supporters hide behind the title instead of saying what the amendment really does. It allows state government to send our tax dollars to any private religious group or sect it chooses.
If Amendment 8 passes, the Florida Constitution would be changed to smooth the way to a universal voucher program. That would cost public schools billions of dollars at a time when previous budget cuts have left school funding far below the level of a few years ago.
No logical reason for Amendment 8 exists other than laying the groundwork for vouchers. Supporters of Amendment 8 maintain that religious groups are somehow discriminated against under the current Constitution. They say that services provided by religious groups under state contracts are threatened.
In fact, these services are not in danger at all. Faith-based groups deliver social services funded by state agencies without controversy. They're only required under our current Constitution to play by the same rules as every other provider. That means they must serve people without regard to their religious beliefs.
Amendment 8 is opposed by many Floridians of all parties and political philosophies because they are united behind the fundamental principle of separation of church and state — a bedrock American principle since our nation's founding. Don't be fooled into approving a radical change to Florida's Constitution that tears down the separation of church and state and harms public schools.
Eileen Segal, president, Florida PTA, Miami
The amendments we are to vote on are full of double-talk and absolutely confusing. Why can't they be written in plain, everyday English so that everyone that is not a lawyer can understand them?
I realize this is done on purpose to confuse people, but I think this is something that should be addressed in the future so we can all be truly informed when we cast our votes.
Janet Gernaat, New Port Richey
Lives on the line | Oct. 7
Florida drug monitoring
After spending 18 months attending and testifying before both the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine, I can all but assure you that any physician brought before these boards on a matter that involves prescription pain medication will have this as the first question: Did you consult the prescription drug monitoring program before prescribing the medication?
And again I can all but assure you that if the physician answers no, then nothing he or she says in their defense from that point on will carry much weight. The simple fact is that if a physician does not take advantage of a tool (free, no less) that protects their patient from harm, and then harm comes to that patient (or others) that could have been avoided by the use of that tool, then say goodbye to your license to practice medicine in Florida, and rightfully so.
Paul A. Sloan, administrator, First Choice Pain Clinic, Venice
President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have repeatedly said that the increases in defense spending advocated by presidential candidate Mitt Romney have not been requested by the military.
Economists and researchers have shown that every billion dollars saved could create 26,700 jobs in education, 17,200 jobs in health care, 16,600 jobs in clean energy, 15,100 jobs in household consumption, and 11,200 jobs in military spending. Let's do the math.
Rev. Lois Rogers-Watson, Palm Harbor
Clinton says security in Libya is her job Oct. 16
Resignation in order
How magnanimous of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, coincidentally on the eve of the second presidential debate, to fall on her sword and take blame for the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed our ambassador.
Loyalty is a fine attribute, but to cover up for the White House's failed foreign policies is another matter. If in fact Clinton is responsible, she should resign or be fired.
Ray Brown, Tampa
Act to stop domestic violence Oct. 15, commentary
Help, plus and agenda
I was encouraged to read Columba Bush's column on domestic violence. The National Organization for Women has considered domestic violence to be one of its top priorities for 44 years. Mrs. Bush is informed on this issue and provided useful background. Her recognition of staff working in this field, along with her encouragement that we all commit to helping in some small way, is laudable.
But then we learn that Mrs. Bush and former Gov. Jeb Bush are forming the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Foundation to increase resources for services while "reducing dependence on government services." The foundation is a cover for the continued reduction of funding for services.
Eleanor Cecil, Tampa NOW, Lutz