Minnesota needs to keep leading the way


The Affordable Care Act is a reality that our 2013 Legislature must address. Is Minnesota going to be a leader in providing strong health care coverage for working families, or will it follow the path of so many other states and just do the minimum?

MinnesotaCare was a huge step forward; now we have the opportunity to expand the program with financial aid from the federal government, continuing the legacy of affordable, comprehensive care that was started 20 years ago.

Otherwise, the thousands of Minnesotans currently on the program will struggle to find affordable coverage on the private market. Gov. Mark Dayton has stated that he wants the Legislature to focus on budget issues in the upcoming session. That is certainly important, but thousands of Minnesota families have personal budgets that are dependent on affordable health care.


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Mackay admires model more suitable for sports


Harvey Mackay should be commended for his many years of service on the board of the Minnesota Orchestra (Readers Write, Dec. 4). However, his support for "a strategic plan that contains ambitious revenue-raising actions (including renovating Orchestra Hall)" strongly suggests that he is applying a for-profit, pro sports type of model to the orchestra's strategic plan.

For example, when the NFL Players Association finally won recognition in 1970, the team owners agreed to a $10,000 minimum salary. What does the average NFL player earn today? You won't see a similar trajectory of orchestra musician's salaries.

I would think that after 35 years on the board, Mackay would have learned that most professional musicians are somewhat introverted and sensitive -- in short, they don't "swim with the sharks" very well. I believe that the hyper-competitive, cutthroat worldview that Mackay holds is slowly fading away. I just hope that the fine arts don't become a casualty while we all wake up.


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Nader is on target with Wall Street sales tax


It's good Ralph Nader's commentary on the financial transaction tax brings this great idea up for discussion now, as we're facing what many call the "fiscal cliff" ("To tame Wall Street excesses, tax them," Dec. 4). Why not a national sales tax on financial transactions? It's a new and great source of revenue, and 25 cents on a $100 sale or purchase of stocks is a real bargain when you consider we pay 7 cents or more for much of what we ordinarily buy. If states can use a sales tax for revenue, why not our national government?


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This Edina resident is chagrined about flap


I live in Edina. I am embarrassed about how the city and some of its citizens have reacted to the revised Federal Aviation Administration flight plans ("Loud cities win noise fight," Nov. 25).

First, we all use the airport if not for travel then for the goods and services delivered to us by air. Second, I wasn't thrilled to see that my house is within the new routes.

However, the published diagrams didn't detail what the true effect would be. Finally, I contacted the Metropolitan Airports Commission and asked for more information.

As I understand it, the audible increase is two to four decibels. A whisper is about 20 decibels. According to info from Purdue University, the noise level in a quiet rural area is 30 decibels, considered "very quiet" and measured to be one-sixteenth as loud as 70 decibels.

Considering a cost-benefit ratio, the energy savings seems to be worth four decibels audible to my ears.


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At war with the rich? What have we come to?


Then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama ran for president on the promise of uniting this country. Four years and one election later, we are not only not united, but rather more divided than ever and with no evident propects of that changing over the next four years. Under this admistration, there has been a war waged on the rich, corporations, white men, Christianity, Christmas, conservative women and a whole laundry list of people who this president and his surrogates deem to be misfits.

Gov. Mitt Romney was an example of a great American that was torn to shreds by the left's campaign of division. There has been a concerted effort to pit American against American with race and financial status as the top weapon of choice. That effort has even come to our own community, with a recent letter writer suggesting that Edina deserves more airplane noise because its residents are the only people who can afford to fly. What have we come to?

It may be time for ordinary people around America to take back the dialogue and let this president know that we will no longer be divided and will not covet our neighbors.


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I need some clarification from the GOP on the "fiscal cliff." They refuse to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans but want to eliminate certain deductions to raise revenue. They haven't said which deductions they would eliminate or reduce, or which taxpayers would be most affected, but they insist that increasing taxes would kill jobs.

It seems like common sense to me that eliminating deductions or raising taxes is close to the same thing, both raise revenue. I suggest we do both. That should make everyone happy.