The impact on jobs is quickly misrepresented

I wonder if we have lost the ability to reason with numbers in this country. A report by the Congressional Budget Office about the Affordable Care Act claims (based on what — who knows?) that more than 2 million workers will go part-time because they don't have to work full time to qualify for health care insurance. This is turned into headlines from a number of media outlets implying that more than 2 million jobs will be lost. Yet what the report suggests is that no jobs are lost, only that the workforce is shrunk by the full-time equivalent of 2.3 million workers.

In fact, any reasoning person would see that this will increase competition for good workers and put upward pressure on wages and benefits. It seems to be the equivalent of 2.3 million workers deciding they don't need full-time employment. What a relief. They can be stay-at-home parents or otherwise contribute to society by means other than working full time at a low-wage job. Unemployment will drop (fewer workers), while wages will rise (more competition for good workers). This seems like very good news, yet it is being portrayed as a disaster. Are we all starting to think like Fox News? Now that's a disaster.

ROBERT VEITCH, Minneapolis

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After reading about the health care law's impact on the workforce, I thought of the adage I learned in a one-room schoolhouse and Sunday school as an immigrant child 60 years ago: "Idleness leads to sinfulness."



No choice in addiction? I'm not buying it

I must vehemently disagree with a Feb. 5 letter writer and his assertion of victimhood — that "there is no choice involved in addiction." I'm sure there are exceptions, but the vast majority of addicts were not held down and forcibly administered the (usually illegal) substance they are addicted to. The road to addiction starts with poor choices.

I am raising four boys, and we are teaching them that there is exactly zero percent chance of their becoming enslaved to dangerous and addictive substances, regardless of any genetic predisposition, if they make the right choice each time such a substance is offered to them. There are a lot of excuses, and making the right choice is not an easy thing to do in our culture, with the pressures young people face, but it is possible. We do not need to be victims of circumstances. Our bodies belong to us, and we choose what to put in them.

The writer's comparisons to wheelchair users and obesity are insulting and flawed. I won't address the wheelchair comparison, but the main difference between obesity and addiction is that we are all required to eat to live, multiple times a day. No one is required to smoke, drink alcohol or take illegal drugs to live.

Many people have great achievements despite their addictions, and those achievements should be recognized. But to deny the role of choice and claim that addicts are helpless victims is to spread a vicious lie to our kids.



Why households need curbside composting

Steve Watson (Opinion Exchange, Feb. 4) is so right about the benefits of back-yard composting for households. When I had a larger yard and a vegetable garden at my previous Minneapolis home, I had a back-yard compost bin almost identical to the one Watson markets. The reality, though, is that the majority of us city dwellers don't have the space (especially in apartments and condos) and enthusiasm to compost that way. Too much work is required to attract wide participation. A perfect analogy is the popularity of single-sort recycling vs. the previous presort method.

In addition, community mass composting also accepts many materials that don't break down well in back-yard bins, including non­recyclable paper products like towels and facial tissue, pizza boxes, milk cartons, egg cartons, and even nonsynthetic clothing.

Minneapolitans should have options of either or both compost methods, but back-yard composting can never work for all of us.

DAVID C. SMITH, Minneapolis

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Back-yard composting is a marvelous idea … between May and December. It can be as hard as our frozen Earth at this time of year, however.

There is a giant garbage can, filled to the brim with organic waste, in our garage, and it will be joined by another before the spring thaw.

Aren't there some hungry hogs around who could put this to good use?

Yes, come spring, we will mix our organics into the back-yard compost, but face it: That is a choice that many producers of organic waste do not have. Curbside pickup of our organic wastes could be a very welcome addition to our recycling program.



Lots of talk, but who's actually stepping up?

As a junior in high school, I was very excited to attend my first precinct caucus Tuesday night. Even though I was not old enough to participate, I was excited to learn more about new resolutions being brought forth by my party.

As I left the caucus, however, I felt disappointed by my experience. While I agreed with many of the resolutions and discussions that were going on, I felt disappointed with the lack of enthusiasm from my fellow citizens. Many of them spent time complaining about several important issues, but when it was time to vote for delegates, it was like pulling teeth to get anybody to volunteer.

As American citizens, we should be eager to participate in our democracy, not avoiding our responsibilities. After all, how can somebody expect change if he or she is not willing to take charge?

ABBY MARTENS, Eden Prairie