$1 trillion here and there | Letter, Sept. 16
Are we buying the right defense?
I am weary of politicians of all persuasions handing our military a blank check — in particular the conservatives who rail against budget deficits and want to cut discretionary spending but don’t dare to scrutinize our bloated military. Our armed forces are a necessary evil since we unfortunately do live in a world where a military is needed. However, we keep throwing enormous sums of money at the military without holding the Joint Chiefs and the defense industry fully accountable for the budget’s effectiveness and efficiency. Effectiveness means the mission and goals of the military are aligned with the threats to our country. What is our greatest threat? The Department of Homeland Security recently declared it to be cyberattacks. The 9/11 attackers were armed with box cutters. The main weapon system of ISIS fighters is a machine gun mounted on the back of a Toyota pick-up. The Taliban rely on suicide bombers, IEDs and rocket-propelled grenades to hold the Afghan army and our support troops in a stalemate. Yet the Pentagon spends billions on weapons systems that have no connection with the existing threats.
Richard Horowitz, Palm Harbor
Kavanaugh will furtherdivide us | Column, Sept. 13
Invoking the ‘nuclear option’
Robert Reich conveniently omits the fact that it was Harry Reid who led his fellow Democrats to the first use of the "nuclear option" in 2013 when as Senate majority leader he decided to stop a Republican filibuster of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees. At that time many people, including some Democrats, warned them against opening that Pandora’s box of requiring only a simple majority instead of 60 votes, but they did it anyway. Now we live with it. He seems to have forgotten the concept put forth by a previous employer: "Elections have consequences."
Thomas Davison, Brandon
Young or old, the right thing | Letter, Sept. 12
Use the tax as intended
The proposed sales tax for education leaves me in a quandary. My children were both educated in Florida public schools, and I believe strongly in the concept of public school. However, I remember the Florida lottery referendum in the late 1980s in which we were asked to vote to institute a state lottery. The proceeds of this proposed windfall were supposed to go to supplementing public education. However, once passed, legislators slashed the state budget for education and backfilled with lottery income. Now, the lottery money was no longer supplemental to the state budget, but had become a critical source of financing for it. How do we know that the increased sales tax proposed for education will not be hijacked in a similar manner?
Rudina Richter, Valrico
Toll tweets rile Florida | Sept. 14
The I, me, mine president
President Donald Trump claims that the death toll from Puerto Rico is a number the Democrats are using to make him look bad. Well, Trump doesn’t need the Democrats to make him look bad. He does perfectly well all by himself. Notice, if you will, that anytime he speaks publicly, he always manages to make whatever the topic is about himself. Simply count the number of time he says, "I," "me," or "mine." That tells you everything you need to know about Donald Trump.
Emiliano Quindiagan, St. Petersburg