President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on March 23, 2010. Since that day, it has been the law of the land -- really! For all who have been whining about its passage, you should have been demanding implementation planning instead of hoping for repeal. The panic was apparent in the Nov. 12 story, "Health Care: No time to spare." The story reveals that Gov. Mark Dayton was on top of things despite the GOP-controlled Legislature's refusal to approve the bill authorizing the important health insurance exchange. He was also able to secure $70 million in implementation grants.
Everyone needs to move on from the denial stage to acceptance. Demand that your government officials and others who are responsible for implementation get on with it and get it right for Minnesota.
JOHN F. CARLSTED, ST. CLOUD
While Xcel Energy may have valid reasons for raising its rates, that does not excuse the fact that in 2011 its CEO, Benjamin G.S. Fowke III, received total compenstaion of $9,676,420. His hourly take (more than $4,000) would pay my bills for more than a year. When the average worker is making $16.37, how does the company justify compensating one employee to the tune of $77.54 a minute? As a captive "customer" of this company, I wish Xcel would take on executive pay before coming to us for more money.
LISA HALVERSON, MINNEAPOLIS
Today I sat down with my children to draw pictures. The pictures we drew made up a thank you card written in crayon. After we finished, my husband and I dressed our kids in their winter clothes and brought them, with their cards, to Fort Snelling National Cemetery. We delivered two pictures to soldiers we knew who died last August in Afghanistan. We honored them and their families. We know their pain. At the same time, I knew someone was honoring my brother and our family with a visit at Arlington National Cemetery. We can get caught up in the latest book about the demise of Osama Bin Laden, or within the tales of a retired general caught in an affair. My money and time will not be spent on them. It will be spent on crayons and paper.
SUSIE VALENTINE, MINNEAPOLIS
If commentary writer Chuck Chalberg had been listening to President Obama's victory speech late Tuesday night, he'd have heard exactly what the president thinks about American exceptionalism ("On debt, we're different? Good luck ...," Nov. 12). "What makes America exceptional," Obama said, "are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations."
I do not dispute that this is a different view than the social Darwinist notion prevalent in the epistemic bubble to which conservatives have retreated in recent years. Chalberg's notion of American exceptionalism as somehow primarily rooted in small government is an ideological assertion that has little meaning. Contrary to the tired right-wing meme, liberals do not believe government should be big. But neither do they believe it is merely a caretaker for a "huge expanse of territory." Liberals believe government should be the size it needs to be to do what it needs to do, specifically "to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." No more than that, perhaps, but also certainly no less.
STEPHEN LEHMAN, ST. PAUL
In contrast to the John Adams quote cited by Chalberg, James Madison (Federalist Paper #51) made an eloquent and secular case as to why we need government, especially one with checks and balances: "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions." As for the much repeated argument that the U.S. debt situation is about to cause us to become "just like Greece," this is utterly false. Greece cannot print its own money, and therefore its economic situation is analogous to a bankrupt state or city government in the United States. The United States can never fail to meet its debt obligations because it can simply issue more currency. Our economy is not, and can never be, analogous to Greece.
THERESA GANNON, HASTINGS
Once again, there is a call for the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra to offer a counterproposal (Readers write, Nov. 12). I'm sure I have 1,200 pages of paper in my house. Quantity does not equal quality. The musicians have not seen the 2012-13 budget that was passed by the board, nor do they have financial information from the past year. It is completely reasonable, in the face of having salaries slashed by 35-45 percent, that the musicians would ask for an outside financial analysis. This is not the same as an audit. Why have the management and board refused to provide this information to the musicians? An outside analysis would serve to show the musicians exactly why these cuts are needed and reassure donors that their money is being well spent.
ELIZABETH ERICKSON, MINNEAPOLIS