Kudos to our legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton. Yes, the bonding bill could have been bigger, but what was adopted marks progress. Passage of the bonding bill required that all sides work together in a very tough legislative session. It will create needed jobs and allow many important projects to proceed across the state.
We have a long way to go to recover from the long recession, but the Legislature and governor working together is good news for our industry, and even better news for the state economy. Along with the Vikings stadium, they delivered on many of their promises, and that will lead to many job opportunities in construction and other sectors of our economy.
DAVE SEMERAD; CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF MINNESOTA
• • •
Hooray! The Legislature saved the Vikings from leaving Minnesota. Too bad members didn't expend the same amount of enthusiasm, time and effort to keep the Ford plant in St. Paul and Northwest Airlines and Lockheed Martin in Eagan. What a shame, or should I say sham?
KEVIN WENDLAND, CHASKA
* * *
Katherine Kersten's May 6 column cited a Pew Research Center report that found that 28 percent of liberals have "blocked, unfriended or hidden someone" on social-networking sites because of political postings ("Liberals, take a long look in the mirror").
The number was 16 percent for conservatives. Kersten concluded that the data demonstrated that conservatives are more open-minded toward people of various views. Her conclusion is wrong.
Perhaps it merely means that anyone left of the far-right-wing conservatives is overwhelmed daily by e-mails containing distortions, half-truths, misattributions, downright lies and Photoshopped images which distort the truth.
JUDY REED ADKINS, Lakeville
• • •
Kersten wove together a series of minor factoids and came to broad, sweeping conclusions unsupported by the data she cites. Take, for example, her point that liberals block some social media posts. Is that because of propensity to censor dissenting views, as she asserted, or because of conservatives' propensity to be in hermetically sealed environments where no dissenting views are allowed in the first place?
SCOTT CHAMBERLAIN, MINNEAPOLIS
• • •
Kersten's contention that conservatives are more open-minded, more charitable and better-informed than liberals is based mostly on opinion, not fact. Has she never attended a Tea Party rally? Those people are not liberal, and if you read the signs they're not very charitable.
Here are the facts: Liberals put forth Social Security, which was opposed by conservatives. The same is true for Medicare, the Equal Rights Amendment, the Voting Rights Act and a whole host of other programs that have aided ordinary Americans while wealthy conservatives have lived off their tax loopholes.
Kersten was obviously trying to pull the wool over our eyes. That may work with lesser-informed conservatives, but it doesn't work with those of us who call ourselves liberals and are proud of it.
KEN WAGNER, BIGFORK, MINN.
* * *
My heart goes out to those families who have lost a child, especially if it's due to negligence ("Asleep at day care, and in deadly peril," May 6). But last week's article made all of us who dedicate our lives to the care of other people's children in our home seem negligent and uneducated. I have been an in-home provider going on 10 years.
I don't have a single correction order. Nor has something like SIDS ever happened. I pray every day that it never does. Most of us make this not just our job but our life's work. We give of ourselves every day to make sure that the children who come through our door feel loved and respected.
Their safety and well-being is of the utmost importance. For those parents who have a dedicated provider who loves their day-care children like their own, please remember to say "thank you."
Some providers who read these types of articles and who never hear a kind word may decide that this work isn't worth it. I would hate to lose those providers.
TONYA KRAMER, ELK RIVER
* * *
Dane Smith's May 6 commentary ("You're entitled. And that's a good thing. In fact, it's the American way") misstated the American way. America was founded on the principles of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
This is meant to be a statement of individuals having the liberty to pursue opportunities of their choice and reaping the benefits of their pursuits, not social justice and income redistribution to bring about equal outcomes.
The American way means working hard to succeed, not relying on the government to take care of you. The latter is the way of countries in Europe, like Greece and France, and we know how badly that is turning out.
DAVID TEICHER, PLYMOUTH
* * *
I disagree with Eric Wieffering's column about student loans ("Student loans are a great deal -- for the government," May 6). He stated that the 3.4 percent interest rate on student loans is a "bargain for taxpayers."
Wieffering admits that the default rate on federally guaranteed student loans is higher than the 10 percent default rate on most unsecured consumer loans. He also writes that the "federal Department of Education estimates that it will recover as much as 80 percent of defaulted loans."
As much as 80 percent? Really? According to a November Wall Street Journal article, investors who trade in student loan debt historically have assumed an overall default rate of 25 to 30 percent. As of last November, investors were upping that to an assumption of 30 to 40 percent defaults among the current crop of graduates.
I'm not a banker, but I am pretty sure you need to charge more than 3.4 percent interest to cover a 30 percent default rate. And that's before any of President Obama's "student loan forgiveness" campaign promises are made into law. By Wieffering's own admission, this program is costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.
Obama seems determined to make it worse. A few more bargains like this, and we will be able to swap balance sheets with Greece.
BRUCE KNIGHT, NEW BRIGHTON