Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday's letters: U.S. heading toward fiscal cliff

Campaign 2012

Heading toward economic cliff

What's old is new again as Republicans ask, "Are you better off now than four years ago?" Hearing the question, I decided to look back, and the answer is, "Yes, I am." But here's the rub — I still haven't caught up to where I was six years ago before the economy crashed under the Bush administration.

My situation seems to mirror what I read about the U.S. economy in general. Ronald Reagan used this question very effectively during his campaign against an economically incompetent Carter administration. Asking the question today seems more likely to highlight the shortcomings of the last Republican administration than the current Obama administration.

The question I have is ,"Will I be better off in a year?" and I'm afraid the answer to that question is "no" regardless of who wins the election. I expect both parties to continue to jockey for position during this election year and ultimately take us over the economic cliff that looms at the end of the year. It's unfortunate, but that seems to be the state of today's American politics.

Jerry Stephens, Riverview

Too much 'me' and too little 'we' | Sept. 4, commentary

Those left behind

As a Democrat, I was surprised to read David Brooks' column in which he wrote that he doesn't see "what the (Republican) Party is offering the waitress with two kids, or the warehouse worker whose wages have stagnated for a decade, or the factory worker whose skills are now obsolete." How refreshing to read those words from someone within the Republican fold. How many other people in the party feel the same way? Why are they not speaking out?

Pamela Avis, Dunedin

Presidential vagueness | Sept. 4, letter

Laying out the record

The letter writer who complained about the Tampa Bay Times' lack of examination of President Barack Obama's "specifics" should refer to Sunday's edition. A front-page article addressed the 508 pledges that Obama made during his campaign to see how well he had delivered. Every single pledge was rated on a scale from "promise kept" to "not yet rated." That should clear things up.

Jane Young, Tampa

Small business

Feeling the tax pinch

President Barack Obama is disingenuous when he says he is championing small business and the middle class. Obama knows the challenges I and other small business owners face. He is counting on you, the voter, to lump small business owners into his campaign to denigrate high earners.

What he doesn't want you to know is that small business people often take a lesser salary while earning more than his definition of "rich" because they pay taxes on the combined total of salary and business earnings. I've run a small business going on 25 years. I pay taxes on my salary as an employee and on the income my small business earns — both as ordinary income.

Today my income tax rate on ordinary income is 28 percent. In another Obama administration it could be much higher, at least 35 percent. That's huge. Even more significant, most small businesses reinvest their income. This practice creates jobs in all segments of the business.

Alan Wiessner, Safety Harbor

Income tax rates

Concede, move on

It seems that most Americans agree that the tax rate should be raised for those earning over a million dollars a year. Even Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and others have supported this rate hike.

It baffles me why Republicans don't see this as a no-brainer, concede the point, and move on to the discussion of other reforms. They would certainly win over some voters.

Carl P. Hansen, Clearwater

A toxic mix of politics and anger | Sept. 2, commentary

Value of compromise

Bill Schneider's column is timely. Compromise is a necessity, not a dirty word. No matter how sensible the proposals, they are pointless if ignored. That is why we need leadership from a president who understands the value of compromise.

According to Pew Research Center polling last year: "Overall, 55 percent of Americans, including 53 percent of independents and 69 percent of Democrats, want lawmakers whose views they agree with to compromise. But 50 percent of Republicans, including 56 percent of conservative Republicans, want lawmakers who share their views to stand by their principles, even if that means the government will shut down."

Both houses of Congress in 2013 are likely to be in Republican hands, but executive leadership is another matter. We need a president who recognizes that in politics we must give to get.

Daniel Rutenberg, Tampa


Two choices for reform

The issue of Medicare's future is possibly the most important public policy debate since President Ronald Reagan convened a commission on strengthening Social Security in the early 1980s that ultimately extended solvency for the program for decades.

On Medicare there are two options: Americans will have to accept higher taxes for this critical program, like most other industrialized countries do, or convert to a voucher-style system that will mean more out-of-pocket expenses.

I can't speak for all Americans, but private health insurance is eating up my family's budget. I understand that I have to rely on private insurance until I qualify for Medicare; however, I would still rather pay a higher Medicare payroll tax than receive a voucher in my old age that would leave me to the private insurance sharks.

Scott Shoup, Tampa

Cut costs or raise revenue

It's not surprising that few voters believe that either political party as a practical answer for sustaining Medicare, because there isn't one. The system as it currently exists is being swamped by an aging population and health care costs that continually outpace inflation. It's simple math. When costs go up faster than revenue, your only options are to cut costs and/or raise revenue. Either solution will lead to a drastically different Medicare program. Both parties have known this for years, but the easiest path to re-election is always to keep promising more and more government goodies rather than deal with the problem at hand.

I'd be willing to bet that if the government had asked us to pay the true costs of Medicare all along, the taxpayers would have demanded cutbacks in this program years ago.

Scott Stolz, Tarpon Springs


Thursday’s letters: A surgeon responds to story about a needle being left in a baby’s heart

All Children’s surgeon left a needle in a baby’s heart | April 22My view as one of the surgeonsI am one of the physicians discussed (but not interviewed) in this article. Whatever the motive for such an article, I disagree with many of the claims...
Updated: 20 minutes ago

Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18