Pensions, Detroit and Florida
A lot of people have said that Detroit’s pensions should be slashed because they are bloated. Detroit pensions were never bloated to begin with. They were future obligations that were predicated on the healthy continuation of a city’s current financial picture. Detroit did not have a blend of employers in the city. It was Big Auto. So when the auto industry received competition from foreign automakers, and revenue was failing, Detroit’s city-mayor management did not go out and shore up new industry.
Although we are all held hostage to a pessimistic future, one thing is sure: We cannot afford to pay billion- dollar companies and give them tax breaks so they will give low-wage jobs. Florida and Gov. Rick Scott are going to learn a sad lesson if they do not heed this.
Scott is getting business, but the net yield to the cities, counties and state in taxable revenue is poor. And that is because we are deferring future taxation and paying companies money and other incentives to come to our state. If we were true Republicans, we would expect them to engage in a free-market economy and stop expecting subsidies.
Florida will not have a slow bleed on pensions because we are privatizing a lot of governmental jobs, such as corrections. And because we pay higher electric rates, have deregulated phone rates, and have little or no restraint on insurance rates, an equation for very slow growth is emerging: high costs for home ownership and low wages for employment — which means poor state revenues.
Good luck to all of us, as our politicians have a scorecard for immediate numbers to attempt to substantiate their continued employment.
Support Global Fund
Regarding “Working to eradicate a disease that seems a thing of the past” (Views, Aug. 18): Although tuberculosis is under control in our country, we must eliminate it in the poor countries where it is most prevalent, or it will find its way here via people exposed while pursuing international travel. A recent case of TB at USF required dozens of people to be tested. Since TB is the chief cause of death for people with AIDS, we will also reduce the number of AIDS deaths by eliminating TB.
By supporting the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the U.S. and other donor nations can continue the effort to eliminate TB. The Global Fund effectively channels more than 80 percent of the international financing provided to fight TB. With adequate funding the Global Fund could support universal access to TB diagnosis and treatment.
The triennial funding conference for Global Fund replenishment looks to the U.S. for financial leadership. Historically, donor nations have collectively committed $2 for every $1 pledged by the U.S. So take five minutes to call your representative in Congress and let them know it is in our vital interest to fully support the current funding level of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
I watch a lot of news and read two newspapers and several magazines. I have heard many pundits and politicians discussing the situation in Egypt. There seems to be much confusion.
Sam Ervin’s quote makes the issue quite clear: “Political freedom cannot exist in any land where religion controls the state, and religious freedom cannot exist in any land where the state controls religion.”
Holding elections in these countries is a fool’s errand — until and unless they agree to separation of church and state.
Gerald A. Cerveny Sr.
It’s for transportation
The recent Tampa Tribune article about Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) dealing with a controversy about appropriate advertising on the side of taxpayers’ buses is infuriating. Who really benefits from this form of marketing — the taxpayer or the advertiser?
I highly doubt there is a financial benefit to the taxpayer — after you take into account the cost of having a department to handle the advertising, the amount of board time allocated to review the ads instead of working toward better service to the commuting public and last, but not least, the cost of legal council.
What is absolutely clear is the financial cost to the taxpayer, and the aesthetic pollution caused by the constant bombardment to everyone’s senses from the increased advertising on public property.
How much will this current “hot potato” cost us — the taxpayer? Why can’t a bus just be a transportation vehicle?