U.S. needs to be competitive | Nov. 26, letter
Profits keep rising; wages don't
In this letter, the writer asserted that the corporate tax rate in the United States is driving corporations to other countries. He wrote that the United States "has the highest corporate tax rate of any developed country," and "these are facts and are not in dispute."
They are in dispute. If you simply search for information from a reputable and neutral source, like the General Accountability Office, you will see that the situation is complicated. A multitude of U.S. corporations, some very large with high earnings and huge salaries for top executives, have had years in which they paid zilch. Whatever the official rate is, it is greatly reduced by deductions and writeoffs.
As proof that U.S. companies are migrating overseas, the letter cited one company that moved to Ireland. What about the thousands of companies that have remained in the United States? Why haven't they left for tax reasons? If a low corporate tax rate leads to business and jobs, then the following countries should be economic stars because their corporate tax rate is less than 10 percent: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia and Italy.
A common sales technique is to scare people about some dire event that could happen, and then offer a safe solution for a fee. The current version of this is: Unless you reduce corporate taxes paid, your jobs will disappear. If the promise is that higher corporate profits will end up in the pockets of the employees, then it may be possible to offer a lower tax rate to those corporations who can prove that a certain percentage of profits goes to employee salaries. For years, corporate profits have surged while employee wages have remained relatively stagnant. The profits have merely enlarged the numbers of the super-wealthy. Investigate for yourself.
John Dalton, St. Petersburg
Taxpayers get relief | Nov. 27, letter
Try a little compassion
A recent writer cavalierly tosses out the term "freebies" with regard to the roughly 45 million people who live in poverty in the United States.
The writer must be referring to programs like Head Start, which has a track record of preparing children for success in school through early learning programs, or the Women, Infants and Children program, which has been proven to save lives and improve the health of nutritionally at-risk women, infants and children.
The writer cleverly links the term "safety net" with "hammock," suggesting poor people are complacently comfortable not knowing what in the world tomorrow will bring.
How about a little compassion? Meaning not only feeling another's pain but being moved to help relieve it.
Scott Callahan, St. Petersburg
Insurance tax will sting
There's another reason Floridians should oppose the GOP's tax bills: Homeowner insurance rates will increase. Both the House and Senate tax bills include an excise tax on reinsurance, which Florida depends on more than any other state. Citizens, the Catastrophe Fund and many other insurers purchase reinsurance from offshore companies that will be impacted by this excise tax. The result: Reinsurers will seek higher returns elsewhere or charge Florida more, causing our bills to go up.
Why should everyday Floridians be charged more to pay for the Republican tax cuts for billionaires? Shouldn't the burden at least be even across all states? Sen. Bill Nelson opposes the bill. Now we need Sen. Marco Rubio to oppose this proposal that will hit Floridians harder than the hurricanes.
Bill Newton, St. Petersburg
The house on the corner | Nov. 26
Account hits close to home
This article hit home for me because I lived in the South Greenwood neighborhood for about 15 years starting in the early 1980s, very close to where Anthony James Roy and his wife resided. I watched the neighborhood slowly descend from a quiet, friendly place into a cesspool of criminals and drugs. I could look out my window and watch the neighbors across the street openly dealing drugs. This was reported to the police by myself and others, but the police indicated they could not do anything unless they personally witnessed the transactions. I offered them my property to use for surveillance but they never took me up on the offer.
What I went through was nothing compared to what Roy and his wife had to tolerate. Just how much is a rational person expected to endure before he goes off the deep end? I feel the police are somewhat culpable because they did little to help. It appears Roy suffered a tremendous amount of "mental abuse" while his property was invaded by this criminal element, and the police had nothing to offer other than to purchase a "No Trespassing" sign.
Barb Walker, Clearwater
Everyone has a role
Isn't it about time that women (bosses, managers, supervisors) admit that they, too, have perpetuated a tolerance of sexual harassment? I am not blaming victims; I am saying that many times, a woman goes to her female supervisor or manager with a valid concern or complaint, only to be told by the female manager "that is the way it is."
Now that women have jobs that allow them to make changes, it is time for building foundations of respect. How are young men and women supposed to change their thinking, when for so long the harassing behavior has been tolerated?
Sandy Kochis, Tampa
Every day we hear new allegations of improper behavior, usually on the part of men, both in the private and public sectors. I cannot help but notice a large gap when it comes to how these allegations are dealt with. Media and entertainment figures are summarily jettisoned, sometimes within a few hours of the allegations coming to light.
In the meantime, Jack Latvala's investigation drags on and Al Franken and John Conyers vow to remain in office. Why are public officials holding themselves to a different standard? Maybe they consider themselves to be elites and therefore deserving of more lenient treatment.
Mary Bruels, Gulfport