We shouldn't idolize or demonize wealth | Column, April 30
It's not the wealth, it's the inequality
Columnist David Von Drehle is right that many successful American entrepreneurs give back to the community by endowing hospitals, museums and universities. But he is wrong in asserting that many Democrats demonize wealth. This is a false dichotomy. No, it is the increasing concentration of great wealth (now at 19th century Gilded Age levels) in the hands of a very few that concerns most Democrats. Democrats will point to billion-dollar corporations such as Amazon that paid no corporate income taxes. Too many politicians over the last 40 years seemingly ignored the "general welfare" clause in the Constitution. They lower taxes for those who can afford to pay and who nonetheless breathe our common air and use our public roads, state universities, sewers and police. The Trump tax cuts mostly benefiting the top 1 percent while our infrastructure crumbles is a perfect example. A few of us can recall the period of greatest American economic growth — along with such monumental public endeavors as the interstate system, the Clean Water and Air acts and the moon landing — coincided with marginal top tax rates of 91 percent in the 1950s and early '60s and 70 percent in the '70s.
Tony Branch, Madeira Beach
Holding out hope for justice reforms | Editorial, April 30
Innocent until proven guilty
I was shocked by the last paragraph of this editorial about criminal justice reform. I cannot understand how you can come to the conclusion that an arrest record or record of being found not guilty should be available on a background check. If a person is arrested but not charged with a crime or if they were found not guilty, they are innocent in the eyes of the law and should not be subject to suspicion by an intended employer. I volunteer with an organization helping ex-offenders find employment and am keenly aware of how difficult it is for a fully rehabilitated ex-offender to get a job. Why should individuals judged innocent or arrested by mistake be subject to the scrutiny of a background check?
Richard Horowitz, Palm Harbor
Texting law to get teeth | April 30
That thingie is a turn signal
Even worse than texting or fiddling with electronic devices while driving is the bad habit of Florida drivers who don't use turn signals. I recently moved to Tampa Bay from another state. I have been appalled at the number of accidents and how unsafe Florida drivers are. I have even witnessed police cars failing to use signals. Why are drivers not stopped and fined?
Rosario Camacho-Reyes, Wesley Chapel
Voucher plan advances | April 26
Vouchers for everybody
Here is a way to resolve the issue of school vouchers for private schools vs. public schools. Since all parents are taxpayers (in one way or another) and the education of their children is the end goal, why not issue school vouchers for the cost of a public school education for each child of school age? This would give parents the flexibility to send their child to either a public school or private school, paying the difference between the tuition and the value of the voucher. This option will promote educational competition and result in an improved education for our children. This way, everyone wins.
Ken Gagliano, Clearwater