I'm Catholic and I'm angry.
The report on women being paid less than men leaves unanswered the obvious question: Why is there a gender-based wage gap ("Women paid 20 percent less than men," Sept. 23)? I would like to propose an answer to this question and a solution to the problem.
First of all, the professions dominated by female employees -- nursing, teaching, and office support -- have historically been undervalued. Any wage gains in these fields can be attributed to collective bargaining activity, but playing salary catchup for over 50 years, these occupations are still far behind male-dominated ones.
Can we look to government to correct the wage imbalance between professions? Not a chance, since government is the predominant employer in all of these fields. To the contrary, government officials such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are doing all they can to erode the ability of these professions to bargain collectively.
Many women are leaving or avoiding these professions in favor of better-compensated pursuits such as law or medicine, to the detriment of the nursing, teaching and office support fields. But we can't all be doctors and lawyers. So the best thing we can do to close the gender-based wage gap is to support and encourage collective bargaining in the professions dominated by women.
JOSEPH EHRLICH, ARDEN HILLS
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I just heard the Minnesota Orchestra's final contract offer to its musicians, dropping the average player's salary from $135,000 to $89,000 ("Minnesota Orchestra's final offer," Sept. 26). I'd like to know what cuts are proposed for the administration staff. Will they be taking a similar percentage cut to their own salaries?
I'd also like to know what money could be borrowed from the nonessential amenities to the remodeling of Orchestra Hall, even though that money is in a separate fund. It seems to me that the most important ingredient of the Minnesota Orchestra is its incredibly fine musicians.
JUDITH ALLEN KIM, EXCELSIOR
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Joe Senser's indignant news conference at the courthouse doesn't generate much sympathy from me ("Joe Senser rips lawyers, backs Amy," Sept. 25). In the days and weeks following the hit-and-run death of Anousone Panthavong, Senser and his wife, Amy, chose silence and subterfuge. Now that it's time to "pay the tab," so to speak, the Sensers are still trying to dodge the penalty for Amy's crime.
CHRISTOPHER GEGAX, MINNEAPOLIS
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Joe Sensor needs to know that his family might have received more sympathy for his wife's crime had she turned herself into law enforcement the morning after she hit the victim, when proper tests could have been conducted to verify whether she was under the influence of alcohol or another substance. But she chose to wait days before admitting that she was the driver of the car that killed this young man. Later her attorney brought up that the victim had cocaine in his system, which had absolutely nothing to do with his death.
She should remain in prison. After all, her victim cannot go home to his family.
BARBARA WHATLEY, EDINA
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So Romney has contempt for the purported 47 percent of us who do not pay taxes? I'm retired and living on Social Security, and I admit I don't pay income tax any more. But I have paid my income taxes!
I paid them working nights in a factory when my four kids were little. I paid them even though I would sometimes fight back tears at the grocery store because we needed so many things and there wasn't enough money.
I paid taxes when I worked in a cafe while my husband went to school under the GI Bill and we barely got by. I paid them while we ran a mom-and-pop business for 12 years and raised our four kids to adulthood.
We struggled to make ends meet many times, but those four kids are now all hardworking, taxpaying homeowners who make me proud. I finally retired when I turned 65. I have nothing to apologize for when it comes to being on Social Security, and neither do any of the thousands of other retirees like me.
Shame on Romney for his condescending attitude.
JANICE WAGAR, ST. PAUL
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In response to the mailing from the Minnesota bishops asking for money to pay for marriage amendment ads, and as a member of the Catholic Church, I will write a check this week that I may not have otherwise written ("Catholics to pay for marriage vote ads," Sept. 25).
I'm planning to vote against the marriage amendment, but I hadn't planned to make a donation. I will now mail a photocopy of that check to the bishops in an attempt to make them see that they are leading the church in the wrong direction. Why don't we see the bishops seeking support to help the homeless or to feed the hungry? Where is that mailing?
ANNE MCGARRY, Minneapolis
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I'm Catholic and I'm angry. The archbishop's request for money from Catholics to support a "yes" vote on the marriage amendment is the source of this anger. Doesn't the archbishop know that same-sex marriage already is banned in Minnesota?
Instead of supporting the archbishop's effort, I'll be sending my donation to Minnesotans United for All Families, which is focused on defeating the amendment. To all Catholics who are still debating how to vote on this issue: Please stand with me and vote "no."
MARY LU JACKSON, BLOOMINGTON
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Why are there no Minnesota firms on the list of architects being chosen for the new Vikings stadium ("Choice of Vikings stadium designer likely soon," Sept. 15)? All firms being considered should be from Minnesota unless we're more interested in providing jobs for other states.
JUDY HURD, ST. LOUIS PARK
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.