Public employee resistance to forced furloughs, while understandable, flies in the face of private sector realities where layoffs are becoming a daily reality across our state. I would rather see the majority of state offices shut down two Fridays each month than support increased layoffs and across-the-board budget reductions.
A major advantage to this approach would be an increased workload spread over the current number of employees as opposed to an increased workload spread over the remaining employees. In response to concerns regarding our lowest-paid public employees, I would not implement forced furloughs for anyone making less than $30,000 a year.
I am a public school teacher, and I am willing to live by this recommendation. Yes, this will hurt everyone, but if everyone steps up to help, then no one is a victim. This is what good citizenship is all about.
HOWARD W. SCHWARTZ, GOLDEN VALLEY
Rep. Michele Bachmann is wading into "pants on fire" territory with her claim that cap-and-trade would cost the average American household $3,128 annually (Opinion Exchange, April 8).
That number supposedly comes from a study done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, according to the nonpartisan website Politifact.com, John Reilly, an energy, environmental and agricultural economist at MIT and one of the report's authors, said of the $3,128 claim, "It's just wrong. It's wrong in so many ways it's hard to begin." According to Politifact, Reilly told House Republicans it was wrong when they asked him about it, and yet they continue to spew this nonsense.
The MIT report did include an estimate of the net cost to individuals of the cap-and-trade plan: $30.89 per person in 2015, or $79 per family if you use the same average household size the Republicans used of 2.56 people. Bachmann must not be too good with numbers; she is off by a factor of about 40.
JOYCE DENN, WOODBURY
So someone builds a McMansion 13 feet from the St. Croix River instead of the minimum 100 feet ("Encroaching development threatens beloved river," April 7). The solution is simple. Slap a hefty fine on the homeowners and make them tear it down and start over.
As long as there are no consequences for their selfishness, people will continue to do whatever they want at everyone else's expense.
CHRIS TREVIS, LAKE ELMO
Where exactly does an April 8 letter writer get his figure of 6,000 years for the length of time that marriage has been "between one man and one woman"?
First, if you want to talk about the basis for our culture, then you must talk of Rome. Suetonius says that Nero married a slave boy, and also a male friend; Martial also mentions same-sex marriages taking place.
Or how about China? In the southern Chinese province of Fujian, through the Ming Dynasty period, females would bind themselves in contracts to younger females in elaborate ceremonies. Males also entered similar arrangements.
Even today marriage is not recognized as being between "one man and one woman." The Koran allows up to four wives and numerous concubines. In the Bible, Abraham, Esau, Jacob and Gideon all had more than one wife.
I find it amazing how people will project their own lifestyle into the distant past without even knowing what that past was.
If all these naysayers are so concerned with "protecting the sanctity of marriage," why don't I hear anyone talk about outlawing divorce? If marriage is so sacred, one should not be able to end it.
ALAK ROBBINS, MINNEAPOLIS
History is yet again repeating itself with the legalization of gay marriage. In 1865, the 13th Amendment was passed granting African-Americans freedom from slavery or servitude. In 1920, the 19th Amendment was passed, granting women the right to vote. Further reforms and movements throughout the mid-1900s moved toward equality for both women and African-Americans, even though for centuries prior even the thought of equality for them was thought to be ludicrous.
The April 8 letter writer and many others fail to realize that throughout history, the bedrock of society has been persecuting and subjugating others seen outside the "norm" because of ridiculous religious and cultural expectations. Both women and African-Americans would strongly disagree throughout American history that they have "flourished" or have "seen contentment."
Why is it in the country of the free that we find it so hard to let freedom ring?
DAVID ADAM, PLYMOUTH