Regarding "Jobless rate at 4-year low" (front page, March 9): Your article on the economy does a disservice to readers. While the official unemployment rate is, in fact, 7.7 percent, it includes workers who work as little as one hour per week. Although it is the lowest since December 2008, the labor force participation rate — which gets at the universe of jobs actually out there — is also the lowest since then. And the real unemployment rate is more than 14 percent, including those who have given up looking.
While the article highlights the 236,000 jobs gained, the article does not mention the 130,000 people who left the workforce. If, as the article says, we need 200,000 new jobs per month to keep even (i.e., not grow), did we really only pick up 106,000?
And while the 236,000 is more than expected, it's way down from the trend of some 300,000. Note that that's per month; we average about 350,000 new unemployment claims per week. What does that tell us?
It's your ticket
Working in sales for 35 years, I've taken clients and prospective clients to countless sporting events and other live events to help build business relationships. My company holds season tickets for the Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Bucs and Orlando Magic, which are accessible to our sales team.
Over the past year, I've read about restricted tickets that limit or prevent people from giving away or reselling tickets in order to stop ticket scalpers. I'm a husband, a father, a salesman, a Bucs and Rays fan, but a scalper? I certainly don't think so.
Season tickets, and even individual game tickets, for a professional sports team like the Bucs are no small investment, and I should be able to give them away or resell them if I choose.
Like many other fans, I support legislation that protects the rights of ticketholders. House Bill 163 and Senate Bill 394 in the Florida Legislature ensure that when a person buys a ticket, it's their ticket. This is policy that simply makes sense.
Enjoy the weather
The article in Friday's Tampa Tribune about the "unprecedented" warming of the Earth is just another example of the "global warming as man-made disaster" clique attempting to mislead the public by manipulating data ("Warming unprecedented, study shows," Nation & World). While the fossil records can certainly show relative temperature changes over long periods of time, scientists cannot identify specific fossils with specific decades in past millennia. Consequently, the claims of the reported study are totally without merit. As the old saying goes, "Figures don't lie, but liars figure."
It was only about 150 years ago that we escaped the clutches of a 500-year period of such brutally cold weather that it is known as "The Little Ice Age." It is astonishing that these people want to plunge us back into another period of misery. We should count our blessings and enjoy our relatively warm weather while we can.
Michael F. McQueen
Regarding "The Obama trap" (Your Views, March 8): Betty Dobson's letter states how clever the president is and how he is ensnaring the governor in a trap. Imagine the governor actually believing that lie about the federal government paying 100 percent of the state's cost for Medicaid expansion for three years and more than 90 percent thereafter. It is interesting to note that while Dobson doesn't believe the president, lobbyists for Associated Industries of Florida (a group with very strong conservative credentials and influence) do, and are pressuring the Legislature to accept the proposed expansion because they feel it is a good deal for their business clients and for Floridians in general.
What do they know that Dobson doesn't? They know that when the president's health care plan passed, it ended a federal program that helped hospitals with the cost of providing care for those who cannot afford to pay. The idea being that since under the new health care law all people would have health insurance coverage (private insurance or Medicaid), there would be no further need for that assistance. Since hospitals cannot by law decline care for people who don't have the money, what are the options? The hospitals could go broke providing the care out of their own resources. The state, if it accepted the new Medicaid funds, could use that money to compensate hospitals for the medical care provided to these people. The last option would be to have the state compensate the hospitals out of its own funds to help them care for the more than 1 million uninsured in this state. Which is the obvious pick?
That is why the governor and Associated Industries of Florida have agreed to go along with the president's plan. It is not that they are gullible and stupid. They understand the reality of the situation. Now all we have to do is hope they can convince the Legislature, especially House Speaker Will Weatherford and his companions in the House, to go along with reason.