401(k) worries are one thing that’s growing

Lee Schafer’s excellent May 12 column (“Booming market not enough for 401(k)s”) got to the heart of the problem retirees face. On the one hand, 401(k)s haven’t been an adequate substitute for traditional pension plans. On the other hand, not everyone can be expected to work past age 66. I started working at age 12 with a paper route. I’m 51 now and would love to retire early and spend time with my wife while we are both healthy. But on top of my putting money in my 401(k), I’m also saving for two college funds, and I’ve started paying for long-term care insurance. I’m not complaining, because my wife and I will be OK when I retire, which probably won’t come early. But our good fortune is partly based on money we inherited, something not everyone has.

STUART D. HENRY, Minneapolis

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A letter writer asked why taxpayers must pay for the shortfall in public pension plans (Readers Write, May 12). He states: “Does that mean when my 401(k) plan goes down, public employees will pay to shore that up?” Well, if his 401(k) plan has gone down when he retires, the public and public employees will eventually pay, because he will be on welfare. The Schafer column explained why 401(k)s are inadequate for retirement. Private employers need to go back to defined benefit plans for their employees. They pay an adequate benefit and can be backed by the U.S. government.


The writer is executive director of the Retired Educators Association of Minnesota.

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How nosy should neighbors be?

The editorial about the neighbors who helped rescue the three Ohio kidnapping victims raises the question: How proactive should one be in possibly uncovering the despicable acts of a neighbor (“In Ohio, the value of not turning away,” May 9)? For years we lived next door to a man who came to his house a few times a week, kept all windows covered and never interacted with neighbors. We never saw anyone else at the house. Aside from mowing the lawn or removing snow, he never was in the yard. Could he have been concealing someone against her will? Should we have tried talking to him more, asking about the house, etc.? We value our privacy and that of others. And a sociopath, such as what appears to have been the situation in Cleveland, would have little difficulty in avoiding scrutiny. So, what more to do?

EDWARD SHAFER, Rochester, Minn.

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Politics plays its part in bringing change

Opponents grumbling about DFL overreach in Minnesota’s historic vote for equal marriage rights need to remember one thing: Republican overreach started this. Not content with Minnesota’s oppressive Defense of Marriage Act, the GOP sought to carve this prejudice into the state Constitution. Voters rejected that bad idea and soundly punished Republicans in the 2012 elections, and that momentum continued through to last week’s historic vote.


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I’m disenchanted by our so-called “representative” government. On the marriage bill, 95 percent of our state representatives and senators voted with their political party. Who do they represent? Are they representing the well-being of the people and the state of Minnesota, or are they representing their political party? How can we be concerned about the purity of our political processes and the effect of outside forces and contributions when we willingly allow our elected officials to be puppets of their political parties?

Tim Probst, Andover

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The big question: How to change violent men?

Thank you for the editorial calling for heightened awareness of domestic violence against women (“Watch for signs of domestic violence,” May 15). Perpetrators must be held accountable and resources made available to victims seeking safety and healing. What are the options for changing the behavior of these men? Is there a way to support them in taking responsibility for their actions and accepting the consequences while also helping them to achieve healthier patterns of behavior?


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A witch hunt is all in the beholder’s eye

Why is it that when the left attacks a situation such as the Michele Bachmann’s handling of campaign funds, it’s considered fact-finding, yet when the right confronts a situation such as the Benghazi fiasco or IRS scrutiny of the Tea Party, it’s considered a witch hunt? Who decides?

GENE ELFERING, Annandale, Minn.