Debt may be good -- for individuals


An Aug. 28 letter headline states that "liberty comes with a cost." I am quite certain that the "freedom to drink raw milk" statement from which the letter stemmed is nothing more than a metaphor for how involved the government is in our daily lives.

It is unfortunate that the cost of education continues to rise, and that our students must begin careers saddled with significant debt loads. If rural farmers have difficulty finding veterinary care, as the letter suggests,this is a business problem more than a government problem. I don't believe the solution is to further subsidize education or farmers.

A student can choose to invest in education with the expectation of increased earning potential. If it takes $140,000 in debt to double or triple income levels, this is still a good deal for many people when considering the return on investment over a career.

At the end of the day we are talking about national debt. Liberals and conservatives differ on many things, but both need to agree that increasing debt will continue to increase the burden we ask future generations to carry.

Perhaps we all need to examine what we expect from the government. I fully support anyone looking to become more educated, but I also understand it is not something we are entitled to. Opportunity is still plentiful, but I did not see it on a stick at the State Fair.


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With new standards, we'd (gasp!) do our part


It was interesting to read comments about the Obama administration's proposed fuel-efficiency standards ("New fuel standard for 2025 near 55 mpg," Aug. 29).

Environmental organizations hailed the proposal, and the Sierra Club noted that it would be the single most powerful action by any nation to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. U.S. car companies were also in favor of the proposal -- the stated reason was that they did not want California to be the only state with stricter standards

. One has to assume that they also understand that in order for them to sell vehicles outside of the United States, these vehicles have to be more fuel-efficient.

The Republican response? Mitt Romney's spokesperson called the proposal "another example of excessive regulation that would make cars more expensive for U.S. buyers." Way to go, Mitt -- saving our planet from global warming clearly is the rest of the world's responsibility and nothing that should be a burden for U.S. car buyers.

We should really take this freedom from regulation further. Why require garbage cans and garbage pickup -- can't we just dump our trash in our neighbors' yard? Why should we require clean air and regulate the oil industry? The birds and other animals that died after the BP disaster in the Mexican Gulf were to blame -- after all, it was their lifestyle choice to live there, right?

Shouldering our share of global environmental responsibility really is so unpatriotic!


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Disability services are good for all involved


My adult son Nathan has Down syndrome, and many of the supports he receives to live in the community come from Medical Assistance funds. Our family has had several years of experience now with services that give him more independence and more choices in his life. I can tell you firsthand that they are working so much better than what he received before.

Nathan's services allow him to live in his own apartment, have a staff person who takes him to volunteer work around the Twin Cities or to the library to learn computer skills, and exercise more control over how he spends the rest of his day.

Before this, Nathan didn't have a say about whom he lived with and where he wanted to devote his time or energy. We struggled for years to find him services that met his needs; giving him services that gave him more choices and more freedom has been exactly what he needed.

The public is also getting a better deal; his housing costs and staffing needs are now lower than where he lived before with several other men.

Reform 2020, which Minnesota just submitted to the federal government for approval ("State seeks Medicaid option," Aug. 29), could help many other Nathans have more control over their lives. We citizens need to continue to monitor this proposal so it moves our disability service system forward and gives us the best value for tax dollars.

LES BAUER, Richfield

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Hit-and-run leaves one to wonder


I moved to Minnesota from Wisconsin exactly a year ago. I am very active -- running, biking, snow sports. I'm no competitive athlete, but I join organized distance races, both bike and running. The level of activity of the people in the Twin Cities was one of the factors in my decision to move here.

On Aug. 26, I joined the Minneapolis Duathlon. I was cruising along, a middle-of-the-pack type, on the right side (slow lane) so faster riders could pass me. Mile 10 of the bike leg of the race was the last thing I remember ...

Next thing I know, the paramedics were talking to me, and I was being brought to HCMC for head-trauma evaluation. The medics said a guy hit my rear wheel, then drove off, without stopping to check how I was doing. I was knocked unconscious. Another biker who witnessed the accident stopped and stayed with me until the medics came. (Joe, I will always be grateful.)

Thankfully, nothing was broken, but I just can't believe how nasty some people are. Has the hit-and-run become a Minnesota norm? I hope not.