Watching the Republican debates, I have heard too often versions of a “flat tax” and how simple it is — “file on a postcard” and “eliminate the IRS.”

I suspect most espousing this know that isn’t true, but assume that enough people have simple minds and will ask no questions. I support tax reform, but I also know that a huge portion of tax rules and regulations define the “income” to which a flat tax would be applied and, in many cases, how it is documented.

If people would consider just a few examples, they would think of many more on their own. Rent income to a landlord? Sales income to a grocery store? Fees charged by a lawyer? I doubt anyone would apply a tax rate to these forms of income before deducting a whole slew of costs of generating the income.

And if we eliminate reporting income — wages, stock sales, dividend and interest income, as examples — do we just assume everyone will honestly tell the government how much income they have?

Of course, a huge majority of Americans already file a simple tax return, and knowing that others have unfair advantages makes the siren song of flat tax beautiful music. What they don’t realize is that it is just another scam.

Darrell Egertson, Bloomington


Sympathy, yes, but is such prominent coverage proper?

I’m not surprised that the electorate is uninformed at all when the media focuses on entertainment news and sports stories.

Should the coverage of the presidential debate or the story on University of Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill be placed above the fold? Although Coach Kill is a popular local figure, I believe the choice of president is of far more import.

The media decides what and how to cover the news and is doing us a disservice with its poor choices.

C.J. Rivard, Spring Lake Park

• • •

Kill’s statement that “I’ve given every ounce I had to the game of football for 32 years!” really made me shudder — that his wife, his children, his community (outside of the university) and all “others” with whom he had regular contact in all those years counted for nothing.

The very fact of your paper idolizing him with the front-page lead is disgusting. There is so much of great importance and unheralded value in Minnesota, and football is far from the top of the list!

Yes, I am a woman and still fighting for women’s and “non-sports” equality at 88 years of age because my great-grands deserve a land of equality.

C.S. Thompson, St. Paul

• • •

I feel for the late Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunder’s family, and for Jerry Kill and his family following the coach’s retirement for health reasons. Anyone befallen by such cruel fates deserves compassion.

But I find very disconcerting the focus of so much attention on those high-profile families when so many “ordinary” people go through similar heartbreak every day. I know that every death can’t be on the front page, nor should it be. But I hope that whenever we grieve the passing or the lousy luck of a celebrity, we also make a point of thinking about all those “little people” who face terrible struggles every minute of every day — the minimum-wage worker deciding what to put in the grocery cart and what to leave on the shelf; the student who doesn’t even think about college for fear of being buried in debt; the parents who buy kids’ winter boots knowing that the boots won’t keep those little feet dry or warm but knowing, too, that it’s the best they can afford.

So, yes, we should have the Saunders and the Kills in our thoughts and our hearts. But our compassion would be, I believe, more authentic if we remind ourselves every day of those among us who suffer every day. Though we’ll never see their picture in the newspaper or on the Jumbotron or anywhere else, they’re just as real as the brightest stars, and much more in need of our kindness.

Steven Schild, Winona, Minn.



Taking issue with Star Tribune’s endorsements for St. Paul

As a candidate for City Council in St. Paul’s Fourth Ward who has worked 16 to 18 hours days the past four months knocking on thousands of doors and who, according to the Star Tribune’s rival newspaper, has “waged a substantive, issues-based campaign, focused on priorities and the use — and, sometimes, as he sees it, misuse — of public dollars,” I was disappointed to see the Editorial Board (“Our seven picks for St. Paul City Council,” Oct. 26) reduce my candidacy to a one-sentence sound bite: “Tom Goldstein, 58, an attorney and former St. Paul school board member who’s a vocal stadium critic.”

While I have been an outspoken opponent of public funding for stadiums — most recently the $1 billion U.S. Bank boondoggle in Minneapolis and the $70 million CHS Field debacle in St. Paul in which the Saints put up just 4 percent of the cost yet get all of the stadium revenue — I’m far from a one-dimensional figure. In the past two years alone, I’ve lobbied at the State Capitol for universal background checks, done pro bono foreclosure prevention work for homeowners, cofounded the community broadband initiative Connect St. Paul and worked to prevent needless teardowns in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood.

Ignoring these accomplishments while promoting my opponent’s “good work on transit, energy and environmental issues” is something I might expect from the Russ Stark campaign but certainly not from the Editorial Board of a newspaper — even one owned by Glen Taylor, partner in the Minnesota United franchise seeking to build a new soccer stadium. I trust that voters will be more objective.

Tom Goldstein, St. Paul

• • •

The Editorial Board displayed a disappointing lack of judgment in failing to endorse Zuki Ellis for St. Paul school board (“A time for change in St. Paul schools,” Oct. 23). Ellis is a woman of color and a parent of students in St. Paul schools right now. Of all of the candidates currently running, she best represents the parents entrusting their children to St. Paul schools.

She also brings her experience as a teacher for the district’s highly effective home-visit program that has encouraged many families to become more involved in their children’s education. Her understanding of both parent and teacher priorities uniquely qualifies her to represent both of these constituencies on the board.

When many feel that Superintendent Valeria Silva and the current St. Paul school board are mishandling issues of school safety, student achievement and racial equity, the Star Tribune’s inability to recognize the demand for completely new board members is out of touch. Its endorsement of Keith Hardy recommends a candidate who not only broke faith with DFL convention delegates but also has played an instrumental role in the current failed policies. Rejecting the one woman of color running for school board, who has spoken very clearly and forcefully about true engagement around racial equity, painfully shows that these issues do not actually matter to the Star Tribune’s editorial page.

Zuki Ellis has all the experience she needs to be an outstanding board member: as a parent, a teacher and an advocate for families who make up the majority of St. Paul schools’ population. I am proud to support her for school board, and I urge voters to reject this paper’s misplaced priorities and lack of vision for a truly representative board.

Jess Banks, St. Paul