Why are the Republicans making tax reform so hard? | April 20
Voodoo economics comes back
Arthur Laffer and his wealthy friends are like the Energizer Bunny that just keeps on going and going. Many years ago Laffer's restaurant-napkin outline of tax reform was referred to George Bush, then running against Ronald Reagan, as "voodoo economics" and yet, here Laffer still is, along with co-authors, wanting more of the same. I was particularly struck by the article's reference to the Reagan tax cuts in August 1981 as "historic" and the "longest period of prosperity in American history."
Prosperity indeed, but for whom? We can surely all agree that from 1935 until 1981 the middle class in America grew to a level that had been unprecedented in history. The amount of growth dollars that were returned to the middle and lower classes during that period was roughly 80 percent of GDP. Then, after those wonderful cuts in regulation and taxes the money flowed upwards, all of it, to the upper class, where it rests today, in the hands of the elite 1 percent. The middle class and lower classes have been decimated. The wealth is clearly at the top and Laffer's "trickle down" ideas have been laughable (pun intended). The angry and frustrated white blue-collars voted in large numbers for Trump, who promised to turn their lives around. And now we are moving so far from the successful middle-class politics of pre-1981 that even Reagan looks almost like a moderate.
Cutting the corporate tax rate to 15 percent for corporations who now pay zero taxes anyway is theater. Getting rid of guidelines/rules that regulate extraction industries? How many jobs will be created by allowing coal ash to be dumped into our water?
How will we provide all those promised infrastructure jobs by decreasing revenue? Answer: We won't. We've been conned yet again.
Thomas Maciocha, Tampa
One in five of us was born abroad April 20, letter
Illegal immigration pitfalls
This letter outlined all the major benefits brought to our country by immigrants. The only question I have to ask is "How many of these immigrants came to our country legally"? It's great to tout all the good things about immigration. However, what about all the problems created by illegal immigration? Such things like gang violence, drug smuggling, murder, rape and other crimes? Our institutions, like schools, welfare benefits and public safety services become overburdened by illegal immigration. As they say, there are two sides to every story, the pitfalls of illegal immigration are the other side of this story.
Vic Hobson, Palm Harbor
It's about time we showed our might April 19, column
Find the ships first
Columnist Adam Goodman commends the "new" American stance of asserting military might, and showing it to the world.
But shouldn't the leader who does this at least know where his navy actually is, before boasting?
Mortimer Brown, Lutz
No need to scare nations
Adam Goodman's saber rattling is another worrisome example of a middle-aged man sitting behind a desk urging his country to wars he won't have to fight. Why? He wants us to scare other countries and restore "honor."
The United States doesn't need to scare anybody. We have been the biggest military and economic engine in the world for 70 years. Any country that doesn't get that won't be swayed by a few cruise missiles. Military action should be for specific military objectives, not general concepts. Diplomacy is about as exciting as watching grass grow, but it saves a lot of suffering and money.
Military action is very prone to unintended consequences. Ask the Confederacy at Fort Sumter, or the Japanese at Pearl Harbor or President George Bush in Iraq (his father had the wisdom to stop on Highway 1). Goodman doesn't get the military.
First, military codes and mottos are written by PR officers, not the troops. If the troops wrote the code it would be a lot more profane and ironic, and you couldn't print it in the newspaper.
Second, troops fight for each other in squad- and platoon-sized units, not for airy concepts such as honor or country.
Third, whatever the code, it belongs to that unit. No one else can use it. If you can't make your point in the language of your civilian readers, you haven't made the point.
Rich Brown, Tampa
Fox drops Bill O'Reilly | April 20
On O'Reilly, money talks
The ouster of Bill O'Reilly from Fox News confirms the hypocrisy of conservatives who fail to practice the family values they preach so often. As long as the money keeps pouring in, the sexual harassment of women will be swept under the rug by corrupt old men who deny everything.
Dennis Bush, Tampa
O'Reilly will be missed
I was shocked that Bill O'Reilly is officially out at Fox after two decades due to sexual harassment. He had ruled cable news ratings and was the signature figure in the network's rise as a powerful political player. I will miss The O'Reilly Factor. He had great guests and commentary about news and politics.
Paul Bacon, Hallandale Beach
TIA expansion caught in GOP's legislative crossfire | April 19
Leave airport alone
The Florida Legislature should stay out of the Tampa International Airport expansion. The airport authority, the airport CEO and staff are doing a fine job moving our great airport to the next level. Please don't mess this project up as you all certainly don't have a stellar record in making Florida better. I thought the GOP liked local control.
Ross P. Alander, Tampa