Readers Write (Feb. 26): Federal budget, Harlem Shake suspensions, Downton Abbey

  • Updated: February 25, 2013 - 9:28 PM

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Federal budget

In the scheme of things, these cuts are peanuts

There are many definitions of slavery, and I don’t wish to diminish the suffering by many African-Americans who were slaves. However, we exist in a society that for 30 years has allowed and even promoted a form of slavery. My children are slaves, and my grandchildren will be slaves. How else can one define our tolerance of federal borrowing at levels that we can never repay, and that our children and grandchildren are unlikely to be able to pay back to our creditors? This is true even under the most optimistic guise of a future thriving economy and gross simultaneous austerity.

How can our society do what’s right when it’s unable to tolerate sequestration — in this case, a reduction of about $80 billion from $3.5 trillion dollars of planned spending, a trillion of it borrowed? These spending cuts are a drop in the bucket of what is needed or is to come (without choice) if our nation is to survive this fiscal crisis. Anyone who confronts the numbers and possesses middle-school math capabilities and still objects is not being honest with reality.

Kenneth Langr, Coon Rapids

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How is it that when President Obama asks the “rich” to ante up $80 billion a year in additional taxes, he refers to it as “asking the rich to pay a little more,” but when he talks of a similar amount in spending cuts, he says it’s taking a ax to the budget? What logic allows us to think that taking $80 billion from a few is a whiffle, while taking $80 billion from 300 million people is doomsday?

Doug Clemens, Bloomington

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Regarding “Budget ax could cost Minnesota 16,000 jobs” (Feb. 24), I find it disappointing that the Star Tribune has joined the histrionics purveyed by the rest of the media. First, the government will spend more in 2013 than 2012 — ($3.553 trillion vs. $3.538), so the $85 billion in cuts would actually be a reduction in the rate of spending increase. The FAA employs 47,031, of which 26,200 are air-traffic controllers. The USDA employs in excess of 100,000, of which 8,500 are meat/poultry inspectors.

It seems to me that furloughing some of the administrative jobs in the examples cited in the article would make far more sense than cutting the jobs that truly affect the public welfare. But that’s not good political theater, and it makes for lousy headlines, right? And at the end of the day, this is all about the politics of scaring the public, and not doing what’s best for the country.

Jim Mexdorf, Eden Prairie

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Sunday’s article told how Minneapolis-St Paul International would have to curtail flights as the result of budget cuts. As one whose house lies under the FAA’s preferred flight paths and has to suffer the noise all day every day, I say bring it on, and curtail savagely.

John Ferman, Minneapolis

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School suspension

Motion meets rigidity in dancing incident

The horror, the horror! Kids were caught dancing in the cafeteria at Mound Westonka High School! What punishment could be severe enough for these juvenile delinquents? Suspension? Certainly that.

Preventing the hockey players involved in the horrifying behavior from playing their last season game? At the minimum! As coach Doug Runke said, “sometimes you’ve got to learn some life lessons.” And he and activity director Dion Koltes were just the two to teach those lessons (“Mound Westonka hockey players suspended after cafeteria dance,” Feb. 23).

Well, these kids learned some life lessons, all right. They learned that life can be bitterly unfair sometimes. They also learned that the world is full of uptight old stiffs in positions of authority who like nothing more than punishing anyone involved in having a little fun, something one suspects they have little experience with.

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