In your editorial “Overlooked benefits of fixing our broken immigration system” (Our Views, Aug. 15), you rely on actuarial estimates from the Social Security Administration. These estimates are based on extrapolation of existing data and on assumptions where no data exists. How many of these illegals have a grade-school education or higher? How many will be working jobs where they will be required to pay income taxes? How many will be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit?
The immigration bill will permit the illegals to bring in “immediate family members.” How many others does that add to the 11 million? How many of them will pay taxes? Collect SNAP? Welfare? Illegals are eligible for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and so, too, will be their “immediate family members.” They also will be eligible for Social Security without having paid into it. And Medicare.
The ACA is supposed to provide health care insurance to 30 million Americans. When you add the 11 million, plus family members, we must be talking about more than 50 million people. Have we increased the number of doctors, assistants, medical equipment, hospital beds, etc., to handle that number of potential additional patients?
Insurance premium subsidies will be available for families with an income of 133 percent of the poverty level. If your taxable income is between 100 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level, and you are not eligible for any other program assistance, you can still get tax credits to assist you with your premium costs. How many illegals will fall into these categories, and from where will the subsidy money come?
I cannot see where there will be any tax benefits accrued from the 11 million illegals, the majority of whom may need assistance that will cost billions of dollars. The chief actuary is looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. You may have to borrow them.
Paul S. Frappollo
Set up to fail?
I was looking at the school grades for 2012-13 for Hillsborough County. I noticed that about 52 percent of the schools made an A or B. This is very good and says a lot about the administrators and teachers in those schools and how well they are doing their jobs. But about 21 percent made a D or F. This is terrible, and I have yet to read what the Hillsborough school district plans to do to improve these low scores.
If a student attends a D or F elementary school, they are being set up to fail through the remainder of their school career. Without the basics, how will they ever be able to succeed? I think that drastic steps should be taken. If the school grade is below C for more than one year, then it is definitely time to take action. And I do not like Cs for a school grade.
The county is attempting to attract high-paying employment to the area, but if a company looks at the grades and only half of the schools are being successful, is this an indication that there will not be suitable employees to fill the jobs? Hopefully we will read about the district plan to turn these schools around this year.
Snowden and snooping
President Obama has attached way too much importance to Edward Snowden’s “revelations” about electronic spying on American citizens.
The 1960s saw the dawn of a revolution in telephone systems with the advent of the cleverly named “Electronic Switching System” from Bell Labs. The ESS is described in minute detail in a 380-page book published on April 1, 1960.
Before the ESS, phone systems were hard-wired, and tracing a call meant physically tapping into the system and connecting special equipment. Phone systems were not capable of storing much information about calls; all records of a local call disappeared when the caller hung up.
The ESS pioneered “Stored Program Control,” a fancy name for a computer, to handle all the call routing, billing, disconnects, address changes, etc. Instantly, the manual activity involved in tracing calls and generating records could be automated.
Today, 50 years later, everyone knows about computers and databases, and it should be obvious to anyone that tracing calls is a trivial computer exercise. The only impediment to abuse is the rule of law.
In 1994 the Clinton administration passed The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), requiring manufacturers of all telecommunications equipment to include wiretap features for government use. There should be no expectation that our phone, email and pager records would be private from government snooping.
So, what secret could Snowden expose that could have any significance in the current Big Brother environment? He would have been hard-pressed to write even a fictional piece that did not violate the law.
First as a thankful American and second as a resident of Davis Islands, I read with pride and appreciation the inspirational story by Elizabeth Behrman, “Memorial planned for mariner” (Aug. 17) about Tampa’s own Ernest “Mac” MacBryde. How many folks do we know captained a submarine that sank a German U-Boat?