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Thursday, Oct 19, 2017
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Letters to the editor: Ryan's Medicare plan

No allies We just had another two. U.S. soldiers shot by a supposed Afghan ally to whom they had just given a weapon. This is one of a growing number of "green on blue" killings and I fear they will continue and increase. Now that it is a "done deal" that American forces are leaving, each Afghan has to decide what the future holds. Many foresee the return of Taliban rule. So they need to shift to get on the right side. Those who cooperated with the Yank "occupiers" need to be especially dramatic in their shift of allegiance for self- preservation and the safety of their families. It is really not a matter of political or religious beliefs, but simple survival.
When serving in Vietnam, I and other troops were frustrated and angered by the timidity of our South Vietnam ally troops, who seemed to avoid combat and any display of courage. But in time and after learning from some of the Viet military, I came to understand that they had similar concerns about their families, even before the U.S. announced its "withdrawal with dignity." Further, we American troops did not have our families at risk and only had to be strong for 12 months. The Vietnamese were there and at risk indefinitely and ultimately saw their Western allies pull back and leave, leaving them to the mercy of the VC and NVA victors. Those who were loyal but could not escape paid a heavy price. Those who covertly or openly helped the VC even while wearing an ally uniform turned out fine. That lesson has not been lost on other Asians. Michael Switzer Tampa Who gets the voucher? Regarding "Time to stand up" (Your Views, Aug. 14): To all those folks who have proudly stated, "Keep your government hands off of my Medicare!" I give you Paul Ryan. Here's a man who would turn Medicare, one of the most successful government programs ever instituted, into a game of "Who gets the Medicare Voucher?"! Medicare is the largest health program in the United States — a federal social insurance program covering 40 million persons over 65 and 8 million with disabilities. Before Medicare came along, older adults had half as much income as younger people and paid nearly three times as much for health insurance. This stacked the deck against many elderly who, despite working hard and saving, were drowning in medical expense debt when anything close to a major illness confronted them. So why does Ryan think we need to change Medicare? Under Ryan's plan, the wealthiest 1 percent would get a massive tax break. Meanwhile, Medicare would be privatized, leaving seniors with vouchers that could never keep up with rising health care costs. It would slash programs, such as food stamps and housing assistance helping struggling families, by nearly a trillion dollars over the next decade. How do I remember Ryan the best? As the guy who joked as a senior citizen, Tom Nielsen, upset over health care issues, was dragged from a "town hall" gathering, and Ryan saying to the audience, "I hope he took his blood pressure medication!" Hilarious, Paul. What a family-values guy, huh? Ron Thuemler Tampa 'A bridge to nowhere' I have always been dismayed by the way political hacks and support groups can waste money on projects that have little value. The Friendship TrailBridge was always such a project. It would have been great as a fishing pier, but as a "trail" it really doesn't have any value. Why? It doesn't go anywhere. The last time I was on the Pinellas side of the Gandy, the folks in Pinellas seemed to be working on a "pathway" to walk or bike somewhere except the roadway. And there is the problem. I bike as many places as possible, and Hillsborough is one of the worst, if not the worst, places for biking. The brilliant folks in the administration waste vast sums of money providing sidewalks in residential neighborhoods where people park cars on them. It puts little effort in to providing trails where they are needed — along the boulevards that connect the city and various neighborhoods. Hillsborough/Pinellas counties had a trail that traversed most of the bay on the Courtney Campbell Causeway. It was a pair of lanes on both the north and south sides of the causeway. With the exception of a small portion that has been vacated and allowed to overgrow on the Pinellas side, it is almost a complete route across the bay. On the Hillsborough side, it even connects with the Skyway Park trail, so there is parking at the head. My suggestion is scrap the bridge idea and repave and extend the causeway access to allow a complete travel trail. We don't need a bridge to nowhere. Robert Lutz Tampa
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