Good intentions might not solve problems

A March 16 letter writer quipped: “You can bet your bottom dollar that the people who oppose increasing taxes on the rich will be the same ones against raising the minimum wage.”

I agree. It’s the same people who stayed awake though economics class. Both issues, although proposed with the noblest of intentions, would not only not solve the problem they are purported to solve, but more than likely would cause more harm through unintended consequences.

Less than 2 percent of the working population earns minimum wage, and less than 1 percent are older than 24. Raising the minimum wage leaves employers two options: Hire fewer workers, or raise prices to cover the added expense. Result: higher unemployment (mostly in the teenage population) or inflation.

As for taxing the rich, what do people think the rich do with their money? I’ll tell you what they do: They spend it, they invest it and they donate it. If you tax someone an additional $5,000 a year — and as a result they let their landscaper go, cut their charitable donations and reduce their investments, you’re left with an underemployed landscaper, an underfunded charity (that will need tax dollars to offset the gap) and higher interest rates for the rest of the population.

Both issues really speak to one question: What is the more efficient economic infrastructure — the government or the free-market economy? Or more simply: Who would you rather have investing your money — Warren Buffett or Mark Dayton?

Jon Dautel, Lakeville

* * *



The more who say ‘yes,’ the better the stories

Thank you for sharing the inspiring story of Goffrey Duevel and the second chance at life he received through the gift of a heart (“Big-hearted man finally gets transplant,” Gail Rosenblum column, March 18). His story is inspiring to the thousands of people in need of an organ transplant. There are 163 people in Minnesota who, like Mr. Duevel, are in need of a lifesaving heart transplant. They wait with uncertainty and with hope that they will receive the gift of life.

We are fortunate to have in our state three excellent heart transplant programs — the Mayo Clinic, University of Minnesota and Abbott-Northwestern Hospital. These programs have the expertise and ability to accept and care for some of the sickest patients. In 2012, they performed 80 heart transplants — more than any other year on record, and a 23 percent increase over the previous two years. Each of these transplants was made possible by a generous person or family who said “yes” to donation.

Minnesotans are impressively generous. Nearly 60 percent have registered as a donor and many more say “yes” to donation when presented with the opportunity. Matching a donated organ with a recipient is complex; we can best increase the number of transplants in our community by growing the number of people willing to give this precious gift. Minnesotans can visit to register to be a donor.

Susan Gunderson, St. Paul

 The writer is CEO of LifeSource, a nonprofit organization focused on organ donation.

* * *


Dismissive article really dismissed reality

I do not remember a commentary that was so dangerous, inaccurate and lacking in substance as “Bullying: Kids haven’t changed; we have. We’re training victims” (March 19).

The writer, Susan Eva Porter, claims as fact that the Columbine shooters were not bullied, while the preponderance of evidence is that they were. The only support for her statement is a book written in 1999 by Dave Cullen. In any case, Columbine has no relevance to her argument. She also writes that crimes have been committed by parents of bullied children on bullies. This is true, but she refers to the media as treating one of the criminals as a heroic mother defending her child. I am unable to find a single article to support that. This, again, has no relevance to her argument that bullying is harmless.

Let’s list the consequences of unrestrained severe bullying that have been studied and documented: Anxiety, stress disorder, panic disorder, depression, self-harm such as cutting, substance abuse and suicidal ideation. Bullied children are far more likely to skip school or drop out entirely. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder is listed in the latest DSM as a result of its high incidence in bullied children.

The harm is not limited to the bullied. Studies have shown that bullies frequently experience a high level of these types of harm as a result of their actions.

Bullying has no place in our society. It should not be tolerated in our schools, workplaces or community.

Ernie Neve, Minneapolis

* * *


This word also begins with ‘j’ and has 8 letters

As I read the March 19 letter discounting a Maple Grove native’s recent winning streak on “Jeopardy,” I couldn’t help feeling that there was a little jealousy going on.

Larry Leighton, Alexandria, Minn.

* * *


Live and let live … so to speak

I have some advice for the March 19 letter writer who is offended by the pictures in the Sports section of hunters and game they have taken: Don’t look.

John A. McGuire, Plymouth