Take care of our own
In response to your editorial “Take the Medicaid money” (Our Views, Sept. 22), I am left with one overriding question: Why would an otherwise sane Florida Republican Party purposely elect not to help fund health care for one million of the state’s poorest residents, especially if Uncle Sam were paying most of the tab in the early years? Could it be these Republicans really are mean? Or are they trying to tell us something — like maybe our government is too broke to pay the tab or, more precisely, promise to pay the tab?
Our federal government is beyond broke. If we add up all personal, corporate and government debt, plus add in the federal government’s “unfunded promises” (Social Security and Medicare shortfall), we the people owe just over $2 million per family of four. We also don’t have the means to pay this unprecedented debt down.
After subtracting just government expenditures from household income, most Americans are in the hole. For instance, total annual government expenditures (city, county and federal) are now just over $80,000 per year per family of four while annual income for that same family is just $60,000 per year.
In other words, folks, collectively Americans aren’t even paying the tab on their government’s annual expenditures, much less paying down debt. In fact, we’ve been adding to the national debt for decades, as in a perpetual borrowing scheme.
Indeed, Florida Republicans are right. Our federal government is not the way to finance health care, at least not until we pay down a bunch of that debt per family of four.
What is the responsible way to help the disadvantaged get health care? Simple. We should pay for the subsidies at the state level, where deficit borrowing and related dollar printing are not allowed. This year Florida’s state budget is about $75 billion, to be spent on all kinds of items less critical than health care for the poor. Why not reduce the expenditures by $5 billion, then simultaneously increase that cut budget by $5 billion ($0 net increase) — except now the health care for the poor would be added back in? Why don’t Floridians fund help for their own poor without raising taxes and without asking for a bailout from our bankrupt federal government?
No place to go
The federal government is out of control. They enforce certain laws and not others. They grant exceptions to certain laws if they like you. Social engineering and redistribution of wealth will not stop until the country is unrecognizable. My grandparents came here for an opportunity to compete. They did not expect government handouts. They did not expect equality of outcome. They knew everybody brings different skill sets to an endeavor. They just wanted a chance.
I feel sorry most for our kids and the people who really expected to benefit from President Obama’s election. The wealthy people can relocate their wealth. Kids and poor people have no place to go.
Support Obama initiative
Last week President Obama drew a line in the sand in the fight against global warming and effectively said: No new dirty power plants. His Environmental Protection Agency proposed first-ever carbon pollution limits on power plants, the nation’s single largest source of the global warming pollutant.
Florida has a lot at stake when it comes to global warming: coral reefs, the Everglades, and beautiful coastal cities such as Tampa and St. Petersburg could be transformed by rising seas and warming temperatures.
A recent Environment Florida Research & Policy Center study finds that Florida ranks third in the country for most carbon pollution from its power plants, the state’s largest single source of global-warming pollution.
If we want a safer climate and future for our kids, we can’t keep building dirty power plants. I urge Florida’s decision makers to support Obama’s proposed carbon pollution limits in the fight to protect our children and grandchildren from global warming’s worst impacts.
Mentoring for Elia
Regarding the conflict between the Hillsborough County School Board and Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, may I suggest a possible solution? In lieu of a raise, use that money to hire a retired superintendent of schools to mentor Elia. It should not be very difficult to find a mentor who is looking for a worthwhile purpose after retirement. This would give the school board a first-hand report on Elia’s strengths and weaknesses. The report would be unbiased and would allow the board to make informed decisions.
Since Elia is enamored of the mentoring program she should not have any reservations of having someone guiding her toward better performance. Having someone following and evaluating her would also give Elia insight to the classroom teachers’ mentoring program. Teacher morale is not what it was in years past, and this is one of the reasons.