Why do we have judges running for office rather than appointed? In my precinct, this year’s ballot contained seven candidates for one seat and five for another. I did research as I always do, but this year was even worse than usual: For one of the seats, only one candidate had his bona fides posted on the website, and for the other, only one candidate had full information on background; two others had “minimal” information. You can guess which I planned to vote for.

We are not qualified to pick judges, and if a judicial candidate doesn’t care enough about the voters, he or she should be eliminated from the choices. That’s how I see it.

William Darusmont, Greenwood

• • •

If the editors of the Star Tribune wanted to perform a great public service, they would do election endorsements of judges. All of the candidates I knew of seemed to have appropriate credentials, and there was nothing adverse about any of them. How can I vote when there is no way to distinguish among them?

Why doesn’t the newspaper send editorial writers out to ask questions of judicial candidates and make recommendations on who seems to be best?

The bar rates the performance of incumbent judges. Maybe the bar should rate the performance of prospective judges.

And, maybe it all points out that elections are not the way judges should be chosen.

Steve Cross, Minneapolis


Which was absent first: Benefits or hiring?

Cynthia M. Allen (“Benefits run out, people go to work,” Aug. 11) noted studies by economists finding that unemployment compensation prolongs joblessness. Yes, these economists claim unbiased research, but I question the theory. Was it really cause and effect?

A better correlation might include the number of open positions at companies. If the economists could show that full-time job openings were available but not filled because it was easier for prospective applicants to collect unemployment, then maybe the theory is relevant. But if industry wasn’t hiring, the claim is erroneous.

One thing that was neglected in the discussion: Every cent spent on unemployment benefits went back into the economy. No one got rich, but business received the funds in the end. And businesses can prosper when money circulates in the economy. Families were able to stay together, and children were fed and educated. I thought this is what conservatives want.

Linda Schneider, Omaha, Neb.

• • •

The economists theorize that long-term unemployment benefits force companies to raise wages to get people to take jobs. In the real world, where is the evidence that wages have been going up? As for North Carolina illustrating the positive effect of cutting off unemployment benefits, take a close look at the numbers cited from the Wall Street Journal. For every person who found a new job in North Carolina in 2013, more than eight left the labor force. When large numbers of discouraged workers drop out of the job market, the unemployment rate goes down. But, is that good news?

David Aquilina, Minneapolis



So, you don’t take available tax breaks?

None of the recent letters to the editor regarding corporate mergers/inversions has mentioned what I think is the main point, which is that these are perfectly legal transactions for corporations to undertake. They violate no U.S. laws or IRS regulations.

Let me ask you: When you do your taxes each year, do you take each deduction that you are allowed by law/IRS regulation to take? If you do, and the vast majority of us do, then why should corporations not be allowed to do the same?

If you moral-high-grounders don’t think these corporations are being “ethical,” there’s a solution: Flood your congressmen/women and senators with letters demanding that the law be changed. Until then, let’s not waste any more time in this space with personal feelings about those nasty corporations that provide us with jobs and pay taxes to the IRS, taking every deduction allowed.

Jerry Bich, Wayzata



Yes, let’s itemize the government impact

Kudos to the Oasis Cafe in Stillwater for itemizing the cost of the recent minimum-wage increase on its guest checks. Consumers should know what liberal policies cost them.

As a next step, the restaurant should broaden this charge to include all the other costs it directly incurs as a result of government mandates, including property taxes, licenses and fees, utility taxes, gas taxes, waste fees and payroll taxes.

After that, it should include the taxes and fees embedded in the invoices it receives from its vendors and suppliers, including its food wholesalers, janitorial service and waste hauler.

Consumers may be less enamored of big government once they learn that one-third to one-half of the price they pay for everything consists of embedded taxes. They might also be annoyed to discover that a healthy portion of the sales tax they pay is nothing more than a tax on those taxes.

Gregg J. Cavanagh, Maple Grove



Good luck finding helpful ‘moderates’

I was amused to read Hillary Clinton’s new stance on foreign policy and her advocating for arming Syrian “moderates” and a hearty endorsement for continued meddling in the Middle East (“Clinton faults Obama foreign policy,” Aug. 11).

In the 1980s, we teamed up with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to arm and train the Afghan mujahideen and Arab mercenaries to defeat the Soviet occupation. Those “moderate” elements finally came back to repay us on 9/11.

In 2003, we invaded Iraq, claiming — among other things — that we would usher in a peaceful democracy. Instead, we created a corrupt and sectarian regime. Next, we bombed Libya to protect “moderate” rebels in Benghazi — who promptly repaid us by killing our ambassador — under the very watch of Hillary Clinton.

It is galling to see that she’s advocating more meddling and touting our ability to pick “moderates.” Before she signs up for 2016 campaign, she needs to sign up for History 101.

Raj Rajasekar, Plymouth