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Commendable performance

I am writing in response to your March 11 article about "Driving Miss Daisy" premiering at The Marco Players. I want to commend The Marco Players for using their platform to address the issue of race relations in this country.

I am a longtime resident of Collier County and have worked on Marco Island. I would have never imagined a topic of this issue being displayed, especially in Marco, where the population is predominantly white. I am a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University majoring in communications. Upon my graduation in May, I aspire to educate people on systems of privilege and oppression. Although I have never seen "Driving Miss Daisy," I read a summary about it on Wikipedia and can identify how issues of privilege are prominent in the story with both Hoke and Miss Daisy.

I hope this play creates a dialogue between residents about the reality of race relations in this country. With the election of former President Barack Obama, the Unites States created a mentality that racism is long behind us. This is not true, however, and this play, although set in 1948, still displays incidents and issues that are very relatable to today’s world.

Maria Serna, Naples

Misplaced criticism

Gross federal debt has two components: debt held by the public and debt held by federal government accounts.

The public, in this context, means investors outside of the federal government, both domestic and foreign. The federal government borrows from the public to finance the federal deficit.

The federal government issues debt to federal government accounts, primarily trust funds (like Social Security and Medicare) that accumulate surpluses. By law, trust fund surpluses must generally be invested in federal securities. Thus, debt held by federal government accounts is just for accounting in the operation of these funds.

By its design, debt held by federal government accounts can very likely be influenced by any economic policy of the federal administration. But, obviously, the federal administration’s economic policy influences the federal deficit and, in turn, the debt held by the public, which is issued to finance the federal deficit.

My Feb. 9 letter analyzes the impacts of the federal administration’s economic policy on debt. In this context, the only appropriate debt is the debt held by the public and not the gross federal debt, which includes the debt held by federal government accounts. Letter-writer James Pusateri on Feb. 18 criticized my letter because I did not use gross federal debt in my analysis. I think his criticism is misplaced.

Debt held by federal government accounts does not have any of the credit market effects and, consequently, economic ill effects as does the debt of the public. Thus, citing gross federal debt to exaggerate federal debt’s negative economic impacts is dishonest. In 2015, the gross federal debt was $18 trillion and debt held by the public was $13 trillion.

Mukhtar M. Ali, Marco Island

Keep Rookery Bay funding

Don't let Congress eliminate federal funding for Rookery Bay Reserve and 28 other national estuarine reserves.

I am concerned with wording in the proposed federal budget that will defund estuarine reserves across the United States, in particular, cutting funding for the Rookery Bay Reserve. Florida gulf fishing has improved dramatically over the last 30 years due to the scientific research and management that Rookery Bay Reserve has provided.

Don’t let our world-class fisheries flounder. Keep the scientific and educational funding intact. Good fishing reels in the tourists. Providing pristine estuaries and nesting sites draws flocks of birders. Educational opportunities help foster the citizen scientists of generations to come.

Your voices are critical to the well-being of Southwest Florida’s environment. Take action now by sending your own message to our members of Congress. To learn how to send this important message, visit www.rookery-bay.org.

William Murray, Naples

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