Romney being held to double standard


When President Obama was running for office in 2008, his theme was hope and change. We had no detail about how he planned to "fundamentally transform" the American government. In fact, after his election, the details of his health care plan were unknown by anyone even after it was passed. Now, however, Democrats are insisting that Mitt Romney cross every "t" and dot every "i" with every plan he suggests. Where were these detail oriented people when Barack Obama was running for president?


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I watched the debate last week and came to the conclusion that after about 45 minutes with Romney holding Obama's feet to the fire, Obama decided to just pack it in.

It seemed as if he were saying: I've got two more debates and I'll have to explain the Benghazi screw-up and they will hint at a cover-up, then the "Fast and Furious" gun program and then the lavish government parties described as conventions. I'm in over my head. It's been a nice four years, though. Michelle, the girls and my mother-in-law living in the White House, the big airplane we were able to fly all over the world at taxpayer expense, the vacations at posh resorts and few rounds of golf. It's been great!

I think I'll just go back to Chicago and hang out with my buddies, at least the ones not in jail. Then I'll start raising money for my presidential library that I'm going to build in Kenya.

This may be a bit of sarcastic humor, but it is also very close to the truth. The debate displayed true leadership, and it was Romney who took the prize.


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The need for planning, challenge of insurance


The encouragement of long-term-care insurance (editorial, Oct. 4) missed a crucial point. Such insurance is not financially viable if the Minnesota Department of Commerce refuses to regulate premium increases. The initial cost of the insurance is reasonable if one purchases it by age 60 or so.

But before the purchaser can realize a likely benefit (perhaps above age 80), the premium will have increased so much that it becomes impossible to continue the policy. This was precisely the reason for a Minnesota law stating that premiums can be increased only with approval of the Commerce Department and only based on unanticipated increases in use or costs of long-term care.

One year ago, John Hancock Insurance nearly doubled its premiums. The reasons almost certainly are related to low inflation and low returns on investments. Hancock gave policyholders a choice: double the premium, agree to a much lower inflation of benefits or drop the policy.

The Commerce Department refuses to discuss this with me, but it is very clear that the department is choosing not to enforce the regulation of premium increases, leaving us without a viable long-term-care insurance option.


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I applaud the Star Tribune Editorial Board for sharing information on the state's "Own Your Future" awareness campaign, but I take issue with some of the statements made about long-term-care insurance. The editorial stated that the high cost of such insurance is "a major impediment to middle-class Minnesotans" and that "those who can comfortably afford long-term-care insurance today also are wealthy enough to self-finance long-term-care needs." Frankly, I haven't experienced that reality in the approximately 25,000 long-term-care policies my agency has sold over the past two decades. While some of those people certainly are affluent, the vast majority would be people I think we'd all consider being middle-class Minnesotans.

Generalizations about cost just scare people away from even looking into their options. Solid plans can be created for just about any budget. As Minnesotans begin exploring the options outlined by the state, they should work with their insurance or financial professional to discuss all of their options (including insurance). That way, they will make an informed decision about where they will receive care, who will provide it and how they will finance it. Having those choices is what owning your future is all about.


The writer is founder of Newman Long Term Care.

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Recent congestion concerns exaggerated


As a resident of Park Avenue in Minneapolis, I've read with interest the letters predicting the upcoming carpocalypse brought about by the loss of one lane of traffic each on Park and Portland. The writers were particularly aggravated by the creation of new, wider, safer bike lanes that would give the 99 percent (drivers) the shaft.

On Friday morning between 8 and 8:30 a.m., I decided to check out the horrors for myself. In two trips, one starting from 41st Street and another starting at 45th Street, I was stopped at a total of two stoplights before I made it downtown.

I shall continue to keep my eyes open for any sign of a traffic disaster. I also invite the doomsayers to sit on my porch and watch the seven to 12 cars that pass by my house every stoplight cycle after rush hour has ended. Having two lanes of traffic seems to fit Park Avenue just fine.