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Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
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Letters to the editor: Four questions

Four questions Can anyone answer why the Senate turned its back on the 90 percent who wanted stronger background checks for gun sales? Do “We, the People” no longer exist? Are the gun lobbyists buying this country, one senator and one representative at a time? If stronger background checks saved just one life, wouldn’t it be worthwhile?
I’m ashamed of Sen. Marco Rubio along with all the other 45 senators who voted no. I am watching, I am listening and I vote! Jan Lella St. Petersburg Florida’s pension system Regarding “Put state’s retirement risk on workers, not taxpayers” (Our Views, March 31): Your editorial supported ending the Florida Retirement System pension system as recommended by House Speaker Will Weatherford. You conceded that the FRS was solvent and in no danger of failing but were in agreement with Weatherford that the $500 million needed to manage it could be spent on other state needs. This opinion on your part lacks any vision of the future. My math says that the FRS pension system will experience a large increase in membership for the next 30 years as boomers retire and try to live long lives. I presume the $500 million is used for salaries and banker/broker fees to manage the funds and that need would continue with little or no savings. Add to that the entry-level workers who started this year and would be the last pension group, and you add another 30-plus years. It appears the state might never have an unmanaged FRS. The bottom line on this is there is no shifting the $500 million into other areas. Like Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, you have joined the team that blames the bad economic times on state workers and pensioners. We stimulate the economy and the tax base. Now change the system to a 401(k) type, and several things happen. First, the banker/broker fees are charged against the workers’ account (lots of new money for them!). Then, retirees will draw much less annually, as 99 percent of investors can’t manage their own money successfully. They’ll either be too conservative or too risky, and their money will run out. Less money per month means spending less at the store and paying less sales tax. You seem willing to give police and firemen a pass on the 401(k). Although I support them and recognize the potential risks in their job, it is unfair let them keep their pensions and take them from teachers and other state workers. Facing a fire is sometimes not as scary as facing 25 fifth-graders! This recommendation by Weatherford would save nothing and eventually have a negative effect on the state’s economy. The FRS is in excellent shape and is an economic stimulus for the state. Leave it alone. Michael Donohue Temple Terrace Appreciating rights Regarding “I pledge allegiance” (Your Views, April 20): The writer reveals his ignorance of how the federal government is, almost desperately, attempting to create extensive intrusion into our private lives. He fails to note that if the bill had passed, the federal government would have had a complete database for all citizens who purchased and registered firearms. Nazi Germany had the same “registration” of citizens, and look what they did with it. It is worth noting that the four Democrats who voted against the bill are an example of “government by the people” because they represented districts where constituents are conservative and are in favor of the First and Second Amendments. Possibly, these constituents unknowingly subscribed to a favorite axiom of Thomas Jefferson, who said: “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” I have no doubt the constituents of these Democrats made themselves loudly and clearly heard — which I believe tens of millions of Americans greatly appreciate. David Heckman Valrico
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