Witness a winning new leadership style

Finally! I have been getting so irritated with our elected officials accomplishing nothing lately, but that ship has clearly sailed. Two bold moves — House Democrats walking out on U.S. Rep. John Kline’s job-training agenda, and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s rare talking filibuster against John Brennan’s nomination as CIA director — prove that they are again putting in an honest day’s work.

Deadlines and legislation used to just be shelved until an apparent catastrophe would take place, as in the case of the sequestration, but in this bold new Congress there is unprecedented active stalling in order to get nothing done. Doing nothing to get nothing done was infuriating, but doing something to get nothing done — that’s genius and has bipartisan support!

Brett Larson, St. Paul

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Flexibility: Somewhere between the extremes

Fascinating perspectives from the polar-opposite sides of the flex-work debate (“Worker flexibility gets time-out,” March 7). Now here’s a perspective from the middle, where the vast majority of us live and work:

I am fortunate to work for FindLaw, a division of Thomson Reuters in Eagan. About two years ago, FindLaw management implemented a flex-work program that requires employees to qualify by first meeting tough performance and production metrics. To remain eligible, we are held to high standards for meeting our metrics, as well as accountability to the team. We are encouraged to come to the office for special meetings, and we have a comfortable work space available when we choose to. Most of us “full-time flexers” work at least one day a week at the office.

Supervisors hold us accountable, and their training and skill sets include overseeing a diverse workforce in a changing world. I assure you that nobody is lounging on a beach chair and sending in just one e-mail a day. Oh, and whether it’s related to the flex program or not, Thomson Reuters stock continues to go up.

Rick Schuette, Bloomington

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We don’t get by on manufacturing alone

A March 6 letter writer claimed that “wealth is solely created by manufacturing, including mechanized farming.” Professional economists wouldn’t agree. Look it up. Wealth is created not just by tangible assets, but also by intangible ones. Manufacturing, farming and natural resources are all examples of tangible factors, and they are obviously important.

But we can’t disregard intangibles such as human capital; that is, a skilled and educated workforce. It’s not possible for a nation to develop lasting wealth without people who provide services. Consider the contributions of accountants, mechanics, lawyers, medical practitioners, plumbers, sales people, teachers: The list is virtually endless.

Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park

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I agree that manufacturing creates wealth, but the letter writer left out one critical factor. What creates the need for more manufacturing? The simple answer is customers. If no one has the ability to buy a product, any product, there is no need to manufacture. This explains why sometimes even capitalism needs to be kick-started by government.

We don’t have a lack of wealth in this country, there’s plenty of it, but it’s all concentrated at the top. Shrinking wages for the rest of us mean shrinking demand, meaning less manufacturing … and the spiral continues.

George Richard, New Richmond, Wis.

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The state’s money would be well-spent

I’m surprised at the strength of opposition to the Mayo Clinic’s for $500 million in infrastructure. Here are a few good reasons in favor of the state expenditure: First, Mayo is offering to spend 10 times what it’s asking of the public. Second, it’s asking for freeway and other infrastructure work that it cannot do itself. (Ever see a business build its own freeway ramp?) Third, the public sector provides infrastructure in support of new private investment all the time. (Have you seen the rebuilt freeway ramps for Best Buy’s headquarters in Richfield?) Fourth, it’s the Mayo. We blithely talk about world-class this and world-class that — Mayo truly is world-class. Its private investment will more than repay our public one.

Deb Jensen, Maple Grove

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If it feels even a bit like diplomacy, it is

Is the diplomacy of mockery ever helpful? No, it’s not. “Rodman in DPRK” is a perfectly fine move. One would think that the United States demands that its ring must be kissed before there can be a relationship. Why can’t we just try to do the right thing for everyone? All the Great Leader wants is a wee bit of respect and a little attention. I think we can spare it.

North Korea will evolve with more exposure to the world. We make this same mistake over and over. Really — there is nothing to lose with a smile. The mocking disrespect is a blunder. As for starvation, nearly 40,000 people die every day from lack of food in this world. Helping nations like this with a little food support, delivered in an honorable way, would be a cheap way to build sincere friendship.

Robert Perschmann, Chaska