In referencing Reagan, include tax increases


Let's grant the point made by Pete Hegseth in his Oct. 20 commentary ("Did Obama really inherit an economy beyond repair?"): If President Obama had better emulated the policies of President Reagan during their respective first terms in office, the current economy would be in much better shape.

But for partisan reasons during this election season, Hegseth conveniently omits all the tax hikes agreed to by Reagan from 1981 to 84, including the Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (called by one conservative columnist in the National Review "the largest peacetime tax increase in American history"), the Highway Revenue Act of 1982, the Social Security Amendments of 1983 and the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984.

By contrast, President Obama extended the "Bush" tax cuts and devoted a third of the stimulus -- hundreds of billions of dollars -- to more tax cuts. Given the comparative economic data Hegseth presents for the first terms of Reagan and Obama, the lesson would seem to be that a more balanced approach that included more tax revenues would have helped the economy over these past four years.


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Hegseth ignored two great handicaps that Obama has had to deal with throughout his term and that Reagan did not.

From the first day of his presidency, Obama has been dogged by passionate racism, although that issue has seldom, if ever, been publicly addressed.

Furthermore, he has been opposed in Congress by Republican adherents who have all pledged their fealty to Grover Norquist, not a member of Congress, and under his control have ignored the president's proposals for action in the House, and have filibustered in the Senate, so that Obama cannot claim any political achievement.


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Don't forget about the Supreme Court


Fortunately, the election is almost here. Here's something to consider before you vote. More important than which candidate wins the election is which party controls the White House. The next president will appoint at least one and probably two and maybe even three new justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. Imagine the impact of that to our society. Gay rights? Gun rights? Immigration reform? Voter ID? Abortion rights? Legalized drugs? All of these are likely to come up before the Supreme Court over the next four years. And remember that the only wasted vote is the vote not cast.


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Star Tribune weighs in, to left and/or on point


I categorically disagree with the Star Tribune's Oct. 22 editorial about same-sex marriage. As with so many of the paper's editorial positions, which are far left of mine and those of many friends, we only subscribe to the Star Tribune to be informed of the far-left positions with which we are vitally concerned.

I am not a Catholic but, strangely, support the church's position on the Minnesota constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. The Editorial Board's rationale for defeating the amendment seems to bear on the fact that we already have a law in statute prohibiting gay marriage. With our national liberal courts legislating from the bench, I have no faith that at some point this statute will not be overturned in Minnesota. Thus we need this constitutional law banning gay marriage to be passed in Minnesota, as it has been in 30 other states.


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The editorial arguing for a "no" vote on limiting rights to marry addressed all the pertinent points with clear logic. It's a no-brainer of a vote, which is the problem. If polls are to be believed, it seems that far too many are willing to cast an unthinking vote for an ill-conceived amendment proposition.

Even if there were no other pressing issues of the day, the focus on a constitutional definition of marriage is not relevant. This issue was a strategic invention of the radical right and heralded with a battle cry for fundamentalists who are blind to the larger perspective of the common good. I look forward to a time when we can focus on matters falling within the proper role of government.


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The Star Tribune correctly points out that for young people gay rights is a nonissue, and that in the future, when they are the majority, legislation banning gay rights will be an anachronism.

So, why not just say that human rights should not be subject to a popular vote in the first place?

Women gained the right to vote by constitutionally established processes, and not by a popular vote. The Bill of Rights, freedom of speech, was not subject to popular vote. And, of course, all human rights, including marriage, should never be subject to a popular opinion that can be manipulated by media.


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Today's leaders should see him as a model


In a time when the American public accepts actors as plausible political figures and morally vacuous businessmen as viable political candidates, it is well to note the passing of a real war hero: George McGovern, who flew bombers in World War II -- an honest and strong and considerate man.


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Sen. McGovern was one of the best champions for ending hunger in our lifetimes. One of his biggest accomplishments was recruiting Sen. Bob Dole and other partners, recognizing that hunger is not (and should never be) a partisan issue.

By urging Congress to create a circle of protection around domestic nutrition programs, foreign assistance antipoverty programs, and food aid programs, we're continuing his legacy and preventing his work from being undone.


The writers organize and coordinate for the organization Bread for the World.