HEALTH EXCHANGE

The business interests had their chance

I’m a self-employed, business-owning, job-creating, right-leaning independent who has been waiting for years for a competitive health insurance exchange. For a service that would offer competing plans to help me shop for the best insurance at the best value for the price. Guess what? The market has not been interested in providing that option.

Now, state Rep. Jim Abeler writes to complain about not being included in the decisions to create Minnesota’s heath exchange program (“More cost. Lower quality. Less choice,” March 20). He complains that job creators at the Chamber of Commerce and other Big Business special interests have been left out of the process. Where the heck have they been for, well, forever?

I encourage Abeler and other elected Republicans who rail against Obamacare to lead by example and demonstrate the magic of our free market by shopping, evaluating and purchasing their own health insurance with their own money. At that point, they could truly be champions and patriots of the free-market system, and their words and positions would really mean something.

Wade Russell, St. Anthony

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BULLYING

In essence, some are leaping to its defense

Let’s agree: The antibullying forces have, on occasion, classified boys-will-be-boys and girls-will-be-girls behavior as bullying. Too much coddling. OK.

But the folks on the other side have become downright incoherent. So in the interests of rational dialogue, can we all at least agree to these two principles?

1) Just because it’s always been like this doesn’t make it good. Yes, bullies have always beaten up smaller kids and stolen their lunch money. Does that make it a tradition worth preserving?

2) If we’re talking about something that, done by an adult to another adult, would be classified as a felony, it’s bullying. At least. See “beat up smaller kid and steal lunch money” if you need an example.

If we can all agree to these two points, maybe we can have a productive discussion about subtler issues like cyberbullying, instead of the current shouting match.

Bob Lewis, Eden Prairie

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WAGES

There’s studied support for raising minimum

Remarking that people who support raising the minimum wage must not have stayed awake during economics classes, a March 20 letter writer claims that only 1 percent of minimum-wage earners are older than 24.

In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of those earning minimum wage or less in 2011 were older than 25. Moreover, rigorous studies show that raising the minimum wage does not harm employment and can, in fact, reduce unemployment by putting more money in the hands of people who will spend it.

The wealthy, in contrast, save more than they spend, and are not likely to stop spending when their top marginal taxes return to the rates of the 1990s.

Raising the minimum wage would be so beneficial to the economy that more than 650 economists, including five Nobel Prize winners and six past presidents of the American Economic Association, signed a statement in 2006 calling for an increase in the minimum wage with cost-of-living adjustments. I guess those Nobel laureates in economics must have slept through Economics 101.

Joyce Denn, Woodbury

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In response to a recent letter supporting a tip credit for restaurants, I consider the tip credit a fraud upon restaurant employees and also upon restaurant customers. What the tip credit does is make the stated menu price too low to pay the help minimum wage, thus relying upon the customer’s tips to meet that wage. This is dishonest, and I applaud Minnesota for being one of the few states that bars tip credits.

Tips are at the customer’s discretion, and poor or outstanding service should be recognized as such. By the way, if the tip credit is legalized, wages will go down, but will the menu prices go down as well? Don’t hold your breath.

Peter Hall, Edina

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NO-TILL FARMING

Proving again: Actions have consequences

Recently, research has indicated that “no-till” is the way to go to preserve the land. I am a farmer, too; so I understand the desire to be environmentally conscious. However, the farmer who left his corn stalks in the field near our house is costing me a huge amount of money and stress!

Deer are constant, yes; but I have never seen them in the numbers I have noticed this year. I have watched a local herd not only multiply but grow in bulk as well. I don’t know what to expect at any given moment: Five on the road, confused and disoriented? My children have made a game of counting quickly as I look and state in befuddled disbelief: “Dear God, how many are there?”

I have already hit one; it cost me $6,000 to repair the damage. “Do you want to keep the deer?” I was asked. A little stunned by the question, I said no; I have since discovered how many people would be more than happy to claim the next one I hit.

Please, Mr. Farmer with the fields filled with corn stalks left from last year’s harvest: Cut them down next year. We can preserve our land without risking the lives of motorists.

Kathy Prellwitz, Buffalo Lake, Minn.

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THE WEATHER

By the way, Wednesday was first day of spring

Most Minnesotans are indeed concerned about global warming.

Yes, concerned it won’t happen.

Bob Wickland, St. Louis Park