Readers Write: (Sept. 3): Mining, pipeline project, end-of-life planning, city fines, inequality

  • Updated: September 2, 2013 - 5:35 PM
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MINING

You want the jobs? The tax revenue? Or what?

It gets tiring to hear discussion of only the same old partisan arguments (“DFL leaders lay out agenda for session,” Aug. 30). May I submit that both parties get creative and think about an agenda item that supports new tax revenues and job creators instead of tax increases on existing revenue generators.

We as Minnesotans have a rare opportunity to unite and rally our representatives (state and federal) to give their political weight to PolyMet Mining in northeastern Minnesota. This should be nonpartisan and a no-brainer! No tax money, taxpayer financial risk or partner vetting, as with the Vikings stadium. All private investment and investor risk.

It has taken seven years and much private money spent to develop the environmental-impact statement. If Iron Range legislators could support the stadium and same-sex marriage for reasons of job growth, I would think they would lead the charge for PolyMet. This project not only provides permanent jobs but decades’ worth of millions of dollars in tax revenue for all of Minnesota.

We don’t have to look far — to North Dakota — to see a state that seized its opportunity.

W.W. BEDNARCZYK, Minneapolis

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TRICKLE-DOWN ECONOMICS

Infrastructure projects are not the same thing

A recent letter writer commented that many liberals do not believe in trickle-down economics — which is true. However, the economic expansion that the writer described in Grand Rapids, Minn., that resulted from a pipeline construction project is not trickle-down economics in “its purest form,” as he stated. Rather, it is an expansion due to the stimulus provided by an investment in infrastructure.

Trickle-down economics is the idea that tax breaks or other economic benefits provided to businesses or the wealthy will benefit the less fortunate and improve the economy as a whole. Even though President Ronald Reagan’s primary advocate of this idea — David Stockman — now is skeptical of the concept, the GOP continues to tout reduced taxes for business and the wealthy as the means to stimulating a stagnant economy.

The late economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted that trickle-down economics was tried in the 1890s under the name “horse and sparrow theory … the idea that if you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.” Galbraith’s analogous end product, no doubt, was also meant to be his one-word evaluation of the validity of “trickle-down” economic theory.

WILLIAM SWEENEY, Minneapolis

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END-OF-LIFE PLANNING

Muster the courage to think things through

When would you like to die?

The question is unsettling, to say the least (“Lack of end-of-life planning drives up health care costs” Aug. 30). But thanks to ongoing advances in medical science, more and more of us are facing that question. Every day, it seems, medical science discovers more ways to keep us “alive,” but the meaning of “alive” keeps changing. I fully expect my 7-year-old grandson to have the potential to live virtually forever, depending on how “living” is defined. He will have to make a conscious, deliberate decision about when to allow his life to end.

This is not an easy decision to make. It is even more challenging to make the decision for another person — a loved parent or spouse, for example. We owe it to those we love to wrestle with this issue before the choice falls upon them, and health care providers can help. These are not “death panels.” The decision remains with us. But we need the information, and the courage, to make it.

JEFF MOSES, Minneapolis

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CITY FINES

Another way you can pay to be a victim

Maybe the publication of Paul Olson’s commentary (“St. Paul is a rotten place to be the victim of car theft,” Aug. 28) helped improve things.

In July, I learned that if a vandal slashes your tires while you’re parked in St. Paul, you must pay a $481 fine. This did not involve the expense of towing to an impound lot, as happened with Olson’s stolen car; I had a spare tire and was able to drive away within hours after the crime.

A hearing officer said that he could let me off with less than a $200 fine but that if I took the matter to court I could pay far more than the $481 quoted initially. I scheduled a court appearance in October.

Two days after Olson’s opinion appeared in the Star Tribune, I was notified by phone that the charge against me had been dropped.

MICHAEL HARDY, Minneapolis

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RACIAL INEQUALITY

Remember hardships of Native Americans

The commemoration last week of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s 1963 speech rightly brought attention to the racial inequalities that continue to remain 50 years later. However, virtually no mention was made of Native Americans.

The poverty level on many reservations is staggering. Schools, health care clinics and other services are shamefully underfunded. Yet, sequestration will cause cuts and even greater hardship for many who are barely getting by now.

King spoke of the shameful hardship suffered by African-Americans. It is time to address the shameful conditions of Native Americans as well.

PRISCILLA ELWELL, Minneapolis

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