Migrants' sons tell 'American story' | March 13
Respect success of immigrants
The story of the Galarza family was so inspiring it brought tears. We citizens should hear more about the successes of those immigrants who came to the United States with dreams and the intent to better the future for their families. The struggles of these human beings, who bleed red blood like the rest of us, willing to what they must to survive and become citizens, is our American history story.
There was no mention of sucking up government aid. Hard work, assimilation and citizenship was the goal. Plaudits and deep respect to Pantaleon Galarza for the worthiness he instilled in his children from the very beginning of each life.
America needs such immigrants and they should be welcomed. It was not the average citizen who created the "crisis," it was, and is, politically elected officialdom who bend and sway to the current generation of questionably educated, pampered, defiant and indulged marching, whining and demanding under-35s living on entitlements in this day and age.
We need more Galarza families to lead the way back to American pride, respect and decency.
Janet P. Wurzer, Lakeland
Busting the myth of art vs. science | March 12, Perspective
Too much test-taking
I agree with Adam Savage's dire assessment of our dysfunctional educational system.
The creation of artificial barriers between the sciences and humanities and the raising of students to take tests results in graduates who are ill-equipped to join the labor market. And what better proof is out there than the Program for International Student Assessment, which measures reading, math and science literacy every three years in 71 developed and developing countries. According to the 2015 PISA rankings, the United States placed 38th in math, 24th in science and 24th in reading. In contrast, Singapore ranked first in all three categories. I suggest that the United States send a delegation to Singapore to find out what it's doing right.
Regarding the overemphasis that the United States places on test-taking, I suggest that the SAT and similar tests should be relegated to late bloomers. For students who maintain a 3.0 or better grade-point average, there should be no need to require them to take any other standardized test.
Jorge E. Ponce, Trinity
Health care legislation
We spend more, get less
In the last 20 years, Democrats have garnered more popular votes for president in all but one election. In all those elections, publicly funded health care has been part of the Democratic platform.
In 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act — a compromise, but an important step forward. Now, after the third-largest popular vote deficit for a presidential election winner in the history of the United States (normalized for population growth), President Donald Trump is goading the Republican-led Congress to undo the ACA.
During those past 20 years, the United States has fallen in world rankings for life expectancy (29th in 2000, 39th in 2013) and infant mortality (23rd in 1990, 30th in 2005). These are important indicators of the health of a nation, and our ranking is hurt by differences between socioeconomic groups.
We persist in leading the world in health care expenditures, spending almost three times the average of what all developed countries spend. Most of this is payment to private insurance companies.
Worldwide, health care is getting more expensive and providing people the opportunity to live higher-quality lives for longer. Developments in testing, prevention and treatment have all contributed to higher costs. What we as a nation need to decide is whether we want these benefits to be only for the rich and advantaged among us, or to be extended to everyone. I favor the latter. Giving everyone a chance to succeed and innovate without worry of a health-related disadvantage will make us a stronger nation.
Brad Rosenheim, St. Petersburg
Stand up to big business
I have worked in health care for 45 years. For decades the cost has steadily gone up and services have become more difficult for the average person to understand and obtain.
Long before Obamacare, I saw families financially devastated by a serious illness or accident. I have seen people who worked their whole lives in financial ruin because a spouse got cancer. I hear every day from patients that they must choose between medications necessary for their well being and paying for food, rent or transportation.
Now I listen to members of Congress argue over which party is to blame for the cost of health care and offer even more complicated solutions to fix the problem. The answer is really rather simple: Medicare for all.
The reason that the ACA and other proposed plans do not work is because health care in America remains profit-driven. When you have executives from insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, nursing facilities and medical supply companies taking millions of dollars from the cost of health care before anyone gets treatment, the cost can only continue to rise.
Congress must stand up to the big business of health care in America and do what is right for the American people.
Janet Graber, St. Petersburg
Diplomacy pays off
The White House budget proposal calls for a $54 billion increase in defense spending, offset in part by cuts to foreign aid. However, America can still be first without cutting foreign aid, which is less than 1 percent of the total budget.
Defense leaders agree. Current Defense Secretary James Mattis has said, "If you don't fund the State Department fully, then I will need to buy more ammunition." Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates concurs: "Development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers." Call your senators and representatives and demand no cuts to foreign aid.
David Paul, Tampa