1. Opinion

How about a 'public charge’ test for the rich and others?

Here’s what readers are saying in Thursday’s letters to the editor

Many people are ‘public charges’

Public charge change to begin | Feb. 23

The new immigrant “public charge” policy, also known as the “immigrant wealth test,” is in effect. This will affect both legal and illegal immigrants, by forcing them to forgo services they need, to avoid the risk of being deported. The law says that if a hard-working immigrant might fall on some hard luck and need a public assistance program such as welfare, health care or food stamps, then they will be considered a “public charge,” and then face deportation.

I would like a legal definition of “public charge.” Does that mean that anyone who places a burden on American taxpayers can be considered a “public charge”? Does that mean the farmers, who have been given billions of taxpayer dollars by President Donald Trump to compensate them for the damages they suffered because of his tariff wars with China? Should they be deported, too? How about the huge tax breaks Trump has given the super wealthy in this country? This sounds like a more serious “public charge” than the immigrants might cost us. Placing undue burdens on hard-working immigrants to forgo benefits they may temporarily need, and that many American citizens already use, makes no sense.

Mike Quartucci, Zephyrhills

Coronavirus will test Trump

U.S. braces for outbreak | Feb. 26

Catholic nuns sprinkle ash on the head of devotees during Ash Wednesday rites Feb. 26, 2020 in Paranaque, metropolitan Manila, Philippines. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines has recommended sprinkling ash on the head of devotees instead of using it to mark foreheads with a cross to avoid physical contact and fight the spread of the new coronavirus in the Lenten period in places of worship. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) [ AARON FAVILA | AP ]

The coronavirus could be President Donald Trump’s defining test. Should the frightening prospect of a pandemic come to pass in our country, it will require concerted and unified action, strong management skills and persuasiveness. It will require science and foresight and planning and courage. It will reveal to Americans whether the man can lead the country as a whole — a country he has spent the past 37 months in office dividing and disrupting. Is he capable of that? We’ll see. But he can’t fire it or bully it through Twitter or redefine it as anything other than the threat it is. This opponent doesn’t play politics.

David Rettig, St. Petersburg

Column gave me chills

If good men can’t speak truth, we all should be deeply afraid | Feb. 25

When I finished reading William McRaven’s column, I had chills. Admiral McRaven is a proven patriot who has led our troops in war, not a left-wing zealot, and he has no political agenda other than to preserve our precious country and its Constitution. I hope the portion of this nation who voted for and have supported President Donald Trump will see the damage he is doing and wake up.

Linda Cobbe, Land O’ Lakes

No office for old people

The 2020 election

From left, Democratic presidential candidates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and businessman Tom Steyer, participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the Gaillard Center, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C., co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. [ PATRICK SEMANSKY | AP ]

Why are so many presidential candidates old? By year’s end, Elizabeth Warren will be 71 years old, Bernie Sanders 79, Donald Trump 74, Michael Bloomberg 78 and Joe Biden 78. Why are these old folks running for president? Mental abilities and IQ decrease as we age. The president simply has too many duties and responsibilities to take office at an over-the-hill age. Obviously, a president needs to be smart enough to bring about first-rate solutions to new and serious problems we will be facing. I can still remember when my grandparents were over 75, sometimes they were moody, confused, couldn’t think straight or remember what day it was. Why would America want an old fogey to be the most powerful person in the world? People over 70 should retire, have fun, visit their grandchildren — and not be president. I love America and will vote in the primary for someone younger.

Jennifer Taylor, Naples