1. Opinion

I’m better off than 4 years ago, but Trump isn’t why | Letters

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

Opposing protections | Oct. 9

I’m better off but not for why you think

The standard question for any presidential contest is, “Is life better than it was four years ago?” Personally, the answer is, “Yes.” In my situation, during that time period I qualified for Social Security and Medicare. I paid all owed taxes continually for 50 years and receive a decent pension. I fell into the “insurance gap,” so I did not have health coverage from age 55 to 65 and absolutely love Medicare. While the economy was cooking along nicely, I used the good times to pay down my debt, invest in my property and build some savings. I am better off because I employed strategies, and was able to benefit from government programs, that are in direct conflict with the policies and practices of President Donald Trump and the GOP. So, I am better off because I did the opposite of what the current administration has done, and live better because of government programs they want to kill.

Brian Walkowiak, St. Petersburg

How minority rule corrodes a nation | Perspective, Oct. 4

Popular vote’s problem

While I sympathize with the aggravation felt by political scientist Seth Masket in writing his column about minority rule, this is not a reason to throw out the current system.

If we had a strict popular vote, there would be no reason to ever pay any attention to anyone outside the highly densely populated urban corridors. Florida is flooded with election advertising and visits by politicians; others, not so much.

A better target for our attention is decreasing gerrymandering. The GOP has managed to take over multiple states despite the popular vote because they control the redistricting and pack Democrats in awkwardly drawn districts.

Opening primaries to non-party members would also discourage the rise of the most extremist candidates in both parties. Trying to change the Senate or the Electoral College is not the way to go.

Karla Smith, Tampa

Too much, too soon | Editorial, Oct. 7

Donuts tell the tale of the value of $15 an hour

As an employer of 35 low-wage workers, I must disagree with the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board’s recommendation to vote against Amendment 2, which would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

We opened a donut franchise in 1983 in Pinellas Park at a time when the minimum wage was $3.35 an hour, and we were selling a dozen hand-made donuts for $2.49.

Today, the donuts are $12.95 per dozen (mostly automated production). Proportionally, that would bring the minimum wage to $17.48, applying this to most industries.

Amendment 2 is late, but better late than never.

Jeff Aulipour, Clearwater

Too much, too soon | Editorial, Oct. 7

Higher wages bring prosperity, not woe

The typical McDonald’s worker in Denmark is paid about $20 an hour — or $45,000 a year full-time — more than twice the earnings of a similar U.S. worker.

In addition, all workers in Denmark get five weeks of paid vacation. The experience of most other developed countries proves that living wages do not cause unemployment.

On the contrary, higher wages generate sharply higher demand for goods and services, thereby stimulating economic growth and more jobs.

Robert White, Valrico