Time to tame student debt; Governor keeps college costs low | Aug. 15, editorial, letter
Recognizing the truth
It is unfortunate for Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart and Jesse Panuccio, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, that their self-congratulatory tribute to Gov. Rick Scott on college costs appeared on the same page as the Times' editorial exposing the facts of Florida's college financing. Although Florida's job picture depends more on the national economy than on Scott's magic and college costs may seem low to these officials, the editorial correctly notes that Scott and the Legislature have chosen to lower taxes by ratcheting up the percentage of college costs that must be met by students' tuition and reducing the portion paid by the state. When it comes to the facts, I'll stick with the Times' version, not those of Scott's hand-picked lackeys.
Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg
Be responsible with loans
I graduated from a private college. Like many, I have taken out credit cards and student loans during my four to five years of educational pursuits. Many graduates have short memories. Many have taken out loans, not just to cover tuition and book expenses, but also spring break trips, clothes and other miscellaneous items. When I took out my first federal student loan, I was briefed on the importance of not defaulting. Before I graduated, I was briefed again on the importance of paying my student loans.
I am still paying my student loan debt. One thing I do know: If I didn't take out student loans, I wouldn't be the medical technologist that I am today. I made sure I received a degree in a field deemed by society worthy of a paycheck. Many students are taking out loans, coasting through, trying to find themselves at great cost to themselves in the long run.
Pay down those debts. I am doing it. It's not easy, but it's my responsibility.
Maxine Joy Edwards, Tampa
Scott legal tab grows by $300,000 | Aug. 14
Billing taxpayers is wrong
We have a governor who has gone out of his way to ignore and violate the laws requiring open public records and transparency in state government. As a result of his actions and those of the Cabinet members, the state has been sued repeatedly by those who would seek to have Scott simply abide by the law.
Now we find out that he has used taxpayer money to settle these lawsuits. How is this possible? How is this legal? Where is the outrage? What can the people of Florida do to protect themselves from such an unscrupulous public official?
Janet Graber, St. Petersburg
Rubio: Kerry pays 'lip service' to human rights | Aug. 13
Selective on human rights
Sen. Marco Rubio once again displays his hypocrisy and distorted view of reality by accusing Secretary of State John Kerry of lip service concerning human rights of the Cuban people. Rubio has no right to speak about human rights. He and his Republican cohorts want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and force millions of Americans to lose the health care they depend on so much. Yet he signed up for coverage through the federal exchange for his family — and accepted the federal subsidy.
Second, Rubio has no problem denying basic human rights to same-sex couples fighting for equal rights to marry, adopt children and patronize businesses for their weddings without being discriminated against because of someone's "religious objections." Third, women have to fight for their human rights to decide for themselves on health issues concerning abortion. Fourth, Rubio has said programs such as Social Security and Medicare have weakened us as a nation and has supported various forms of vouchers or privatized programs, destroying human rights for millions. Fifth, Rubio opposes the $15-per-hour living wage.
Now, Mr. Rubio, when you begin to stop attacking middle-class Americans and stripping them of their hard-earned human rights in this country, then you can express concern about human rights for the Cuban people.
Mike Quartucci, Zephyrhills
Move responsibly on Social Security Aug. 14, editorial
Strengthen vital program
Your editorial on Social Security was excellent. The $118,500 cap on taxable income for Social Security only helps the top 18 percent of income earners, and removing it would extend Social Security for another 45 years.
The Social Security part of the FICA payroll tax is the most regressive of federal taxes, and the burden has been on the middle class since the inception of Social Security. As the editorial pointed out, 40 percent of seniors would probably be on welfare without Social Security.
Financial advisers say that if you want to have an income next egg, determine the annual income you will need and multiply it by 25. Accordingly, a person receiving an average monthly Social Security check of $1,223 would need $366,900 of savings to get the same amount each month from savings or other investments.
Social Security provides essential national services that should be strengthened, not weakened.
Eric Elder, Palm Harbor
No more complaining | Aug. 14, letter
It's the Democrats whining
So the writer is tired of whining Republicans? Guess what. I'm tired of liberals and the liberal media in the Tampa Bay area constantly whining about everything that the Republicans do and making stupid statements like "… blatantly and intentionally violating the state Constitution." There is no doubt in my mind that the whiners would complain about any redistricting plan that Republicans proposed. They have no idea if the original plan is reasonable, but because the Tampa Bay Times tells them it's not, they write letters of protest. And why do they insist on attacking only Republicans? Where is their phony outrage over Democratic U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown threatening to "see you in court"? Her congressional district should be in the dictionary next to definition of the word "gerrymander."
Ted Milios, Hudson