Letters to the Editor - Jan. 26

Published: Monday, January 26, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 11:54 p.m.

Government is not the problem

In her column of Jan. 13, Star Parker re-asserts that old Reagan argument that government is not the solution, government is the problem.

Government is not the problem. Bad government is the problem. Government that looks the other way and ignores problems that only it can deal with is the problem.

Government should not be involved in the basic conduct of business. However, private enterprise, by its very nature cannot regulate itself. Its goal is to make profit and compete. But sometimes, the pursuit of profit by one business can cause injury to people or other businesses.

Pursuit of profit by drug companies, without FDA regulation, would make the drug companies even wealthier than they are, but would cause injury and death to people all over the world from drugs that are profitable but dangerous.

Everyone knows that insider trading is very profitable. Where would we be if it were not prohibited by the dreaded monster, government?

And how can anyone possibly still argue that regulation of the financial community by government is bad, in the face of the fiasco that has arisen from the mostly unregulated mortgage and mortgage backed security activity of the last 10 years?

Now it appears that Star Parker and others like her would have the government sit on its hands and let the results of the fiasco solve itself. I just wonder who really believes that it would have been better if AIG, Citigroup and a bunch of other banks, as well as General Motors and Chrysler, failed totally.

If government does not take an active role in regulating runaway business, our world will be one in which only the strongest survive. That may be fine for Darwin, but not so good for 350 million Americans.

George L. Barnett,


Now is the time

My mom used to have me type the same sentence over and over again when I was learning keyboard: “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.”

It sunk in but always made me wonder how I could ever come to the aid of my very big country. I learned how in the Peace Corps by living on $135 a month, in a house with no plumbing and a well and privy outside.

Coming home I was appalled by the consumer society and the junk we fill our homes with. It’s led to the basic problem of consumer society, as described by Steven Pearlstein in the Jan. 16th Washington Post:

“The basic problem is that over the past several years, the U.S. economy over-expanded in response to a surge in debt-financed spending by American households and government. It all made sense as long as home prices and commercial real estate prices and stock prices and commodity prices were what the markets said they were and we could draw on that paper wealth to support a higher lifestyle. Unfortunately, it was all a mirage.”

It’s news that’s hard to swallow. The “End of Prosperity” may not be right around the corner, but watch out if “peak oil” is in fact true.

We have four years to wean ourselves down to a more sensible lifestyle, and locally that should mean getting city and county commissioners together to initially 1) reduce speed limits on all our highways; 2) charge those driving in from the county to Gainesville and Ocala who do not carpool, and 3) get GRU’s proposed incentive for solar power equipment installation replicated in our region with other utilities.

Tie-in that solar, folks, and sell the power back to GRU to pay for your system. And come to the aid of your country!

Tom Cunilio,


Quit complaining

I wish residents of Alachua County would stop complaining about taxes. Don’t they realize that the main object of all politicians is to spend as much of the taxpayers’ money as they possibly can, knowing full well that if they spend too much they will get voted out of office?

They therefore walk a narrow line trying to spend as much as they can, but not too much.

Instead of complaining, residents should be proud of our commissioners, as they have certainly mastered the art of spending the taxpayers’ money.

Charles Schneider,


A better solution

I have a better solution than M. Klug’s suggested $5 a pack tax on cigarettes (Voice, 1-12). Make it a $10 tax on each pack. That will most likely assure two results:

1. Florida will have the lowest per capita smoking population of all 50 states.

2. Florida will have the lowest income from cigarette taxes of all 50 states.

It’s like cutting your nose off to spite your face, or killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

Paul Oliver,


Thanks, partners

This past December, the Sidney Lanier PTA held its 3rd Annual Heart to Heart Silent Auction. Even in these tough economic times, our friends, new and old, business partners, and members of the community turned out in support of our students and school.

We are grateful to everyone who made this fundraiser a success. Whether you donated items, money, your time, or shopped our auction, you made a difference in the lives of our students.

We would like to send a special thank you to Joe Cirulli and his staff and members at Gainesville Health and Fitness. For the third year, they opened their hearts and their doors to us. Cirulli allowed us to display a selection of our items at each of the fitness centers. He not only gave us a chance to advertise our auction, he allowed us to share the stories of our students.

The members and staff of Gainesville Health and Fitness were equally generous. They were gracious and understanding and, more often than not, eager to browse our auction and learn about our school.

We cannot say enough about the generosity shown to us. You will remain in our hearts.

Robyn Barwick,

PTA president,

Sidney Lanier School,


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