So, let me get this straight. The sea is going to rise over the next 40 years, and our answer to this rise is to plan to build sea walls around the peninsula of Florida? I suggest that we consider what the sea is going to do following that 40 years in the years 40 through 80 as well. Perhaps we should consider changing the federal flood insurance program to reduce all coverage in these expected flood zone areas over the next 40 years at a rate of 2.5 percent per year base on Year One. This means at the end of 40 years, those who insist on living in the expected flood zone will have no insurance and will be need to be self-insured. I suspect over time and flooding, these areas would become uninhabited, a rather simple and cost-effective answer to the change instead of spending $76 billion (in today's dollars) to construct sea walls that eventually will either fail or be overrun. Anybody who expects to stop the sea with a wall will find the sea eventually winning this contest.
E. Seward, Odessa
Answering the 'socialism' charge | Column, June 22
Here's who pays taxes
Once again economists William Holahan and Charles Kroncke write about capitalism's need for public assets, government-funded services. They leave the impression that the government contribution is often unfairly leveraged by private enterprise to its own advantage and therefore government funds are unfairly used to support businesses. What is never acknowledged is that without private enterprise and the taxes paid there would not be funds for public assets. Public funding today is spoken of by many politicians as coming from this big pot of money that is created by government. Remember, government does not create the funds it spends, it is a vehicle for returning tax revenue back to those who work to provide it. Citizens and private enterprise should expect an equitable return on the collected funds.
Thomas Klein, Tampa
Debate climate change | Column, June 27
Choose wildlife over waste
Let us use our imagination for a second. The year is 2050 and we are still consuming plastics and foam containers as we please. We have all the to-go necessities that we need, so you can go and have your picnic on the beach instead of in your house. The sun radiates hues of orange, yellow and even purples, the sea breeze draws across your face, but something feels a little different. There are no dolphin fins peaking out at you, distracting you from that sunset for a second, there are no more sea turtle nests, with caution signs protecting them, and there's also no longer a symphony of birds accompanying the awkward silences on your date. Now it's just that, an awkward silence. You will still have a beach, but it will be empty, a hollow shell that will never, in your lifetime at least, satisfy the old memories you once experienced. The thought of this horrifies me as a native Floridian who still enjoys all these free luxuries in our own back yard. Inspiring, uplifting, serene, paradise, just a few adjectives that hardly scrape the surface of justice for our alluring ecosystem. We need your help, as an individual, to make the necessary changes to avoid this unnerving picture in our mind. We need our state leaders to act ASAP and make the changes to protect the places we love, and the values we share.
Let's choose wildlife over waste.
Trent Carlson, Tampa
Anniversary of Apollo 11
A reminder of what we were
Using technology just this side of Radio Shack, America was able to send men to the moon and back safely. As a young person entering high school, I held out high hopes for the nation. Fifty years later, sad to say, we could not do the same kind of feat now. Foolish and wasteful wars, undermined social policies, and the out-and-out takeover of our governmental entities by huge, multi-national corporations, ended any ability for our nation to do great works ever again. We no longer offer hope to the world or even our own citizens. I'm glad I'm old and won't live to suffer the full weight of where America will end up.
Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg
Help create housing for low-wage workers | Editorial, June 25
A crisis in housing costs
I was happy to see your editorial address the crushing need for affordable housing. State and local governments need to step up their efforts. Florida isn't alone. According to Harvard researchers, U.S. rents have risen by 61 percent since 1960, but renters' median earnings have gone up 5 percent. There are several similar proposals in Congress to help alleviate America's housing crisis: these proposals involve a renters' tax credit. The tax credit would serve as a cap on the amount of rent and utilities a low-income household would pay (around 30 percent of their income). And it would provide a tax credit for the balance above that to local fair market value.
Donna Munro, Bremerton, Wash.
Help them help themselves
Your editorial about the cost of housing for those on minimum wage begs a question. Why would your paper, and those on the left, advocate for a permanent underclass of people who will be dependent on taxpayer-subsidized housing for the rest of their lives? Why not encourage those on minimum wage to seek an education in one of the trades such as welding, plumbing, or construction, to name a few?
Minimum wage jobs were never meant to support a family. They are entry level positions for people just starting out in the working world. Putting these low income people in "affordable housing" does them and the community a disservice. First, it quashes the incentive for these folks to improve their lives and to just be happy with crumbs handed out by the government. Second, it isn't fair to the millions of hard-working Floridians who will have their tax money redistributed in order to subsidize low income housing.
Getting a subsidized home is only part of the picture. How are low-income workers supposed to also pay for water, sewer, property taxes and a vehicle to get to work? Oh, wait, I suppose we'll be forced to subsidize those things too!
Larry Lunsford, Brooksville