Neal St. Anthony's July 16 column on job creation ("Do tax breaks for the rich really create jobs?") was excellent, but one point needs to be reinforced: Businesses do not create jobs. They react to a need for increased staffing due to more demand for their product or services.
You can provide regulatory relief and shower them with tax breaks, but they won't add a single employee they don't need. That's good business. Add demand by putting more disposable income in the hands of the middle class, and you'll see jobs "created."
Look in the mirror. If you are a consumer, you are the true job creator.
MICHAEL HILGER, INVER GROVE HEIGHTS
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I am a job creator and proud of it. No, I'm not someone who worries about tax increases on incomes over a million dollars. But I have been directly involved in starting multiple companies over the past two decades that have created jobs for hundreds of Minnesotans. I am proud of that.
The reality is that income taxes are not that big of a deal for job creators. The more we grow, the more we need to spend money on people, technology and other stuff that growing businesses need. We usually lose money until later in the process. The only thing that matters is demand, not taxes.
Mitt Romney has pounced on President Obama's comment that we don't grow businesses by ourselves. Thanks to highly selective editing of an Obama speech and the help of his party's media, Romney makes it sound like Obama is antibusiness. But the reality is that Obama's statements are true. No one is successful by themselves. Read the book about Steve Jobs, and you will see that hundreds of people contributed to his success.
For me, like most, the government has played a role as well. I got an advanced degree at the University of Minnesota. I have hired many individuals who also got degrees at public schools. Government loans helped fund one of my business successes. And, in one case, state and local governments were my most important customers.
The one thing that every one of us job creators hold in common is that we will do anything we can to grow our business.
MICHAEL EMERSON, EDEN PRAIRIE
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If Dennis Carstens is right ("There's no crying in capitalism," July 17) and a CEO's first legal, ethical and moral responsibility is to his or her company's shareholders -- even if meeting that responsibility means laying off employees -- then let's stop calling the heads of large corporations "job creators."
If they have a legal responsibility to (try to) maximize shareholder value, then they are legally required to minimize expenses. If Carstens is right, the heads of publicly owned corporations have a legal responsibility to keep payroll expenses as low as possible. These executives are obliged to be job-killers.
KENNETH JOPP, ST. PAUL
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While the "primary" corporate responsibility is to provide a financial return on the investment of stockholders, it is not the sole responsibility, although it may be in Carstens' world.
Many in the corporate world believe that social responsibility through a company's contributions to its community, and fair treatment of its employees and customers, is important to providing that financial return to stockholders. And, often, those stockholders also place value on social responsibility.
BERNARD P. FRIEL, MENDOTA HEIGHTS
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Carstens illustrates two important points: One is that capitalism is an operational system that is fundamentally flawed and inherently unfair. The second is callous arrogance of capitalist ideology. Capitalism, by its nature, cannot guarantee 100 percent employment, 100 percent of the time. If it is to be a viable system, mechanisms must be in place to adequately provide for individuals who are rendered unemployed "through no fault of their own" (or for any other reason) until they are once again employed.
BRAD SKAPYAK, FARMINGTON
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The July 18 article "Photo ID draws scrutiny of high court" brought to mind the 2008 constitutional amendment regarding the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Act. Nowhere on the ballot was there reference to 19.75 percent of the funds going to the newly created Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
It's too bad that there was insufficient concern about this amendment being a bit of a bait-and-switch. Or maybe it was just that the Democrat-controlled Legislature was exercising its "sole prerogative" to write ballot questions.
MARY WHELAN, MAPLE GROVE
Despite the assertion that today's "shapewear" has little in common with the restrictive girdles of yesteryear ("This isn't your grandma's girdle," July 17), I'm troubled by the notion that firming undergarments can allow a woman to achieve "a look that won't undermine her professionalism."
The article seems to take for granted that body shape is an important aspect of professionalism for women, yet few of us would say the same with regard to men. Mundane, everyday double standards like this serve as impediments to true gender equality, both within and outside of the workplace, and it is important that we teach ourselves to identify and question such attitudes.
CAT HAMMOND, HUDSON, WIS.
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In "Biggest Boy Scout group in state to stay inclusive" (July 18), supporters of the ban on gays by the Boy Scouts of America (not to be confused with the regional Northern Star Council, which has chosen to welcome gays and lesbians among its troops) repeatedly bring up "safety."
Homosexuality is not the same thing as pedophilia, and as long as we keep allowing people to make that false claim without correcting it, we're never going to get anywhere.
JOHN NEELY, MINNEAPOLIS
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.