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Minnesotans struggling with managing debt ("Owing is growing," Feb. 25) discussed the financial pressures many are under, including credit card debit and the higher costs of everything from utilities to groceries. Missing from the article is the additional pressure of new and higher taxation. Inflation as of late has blown a hole in household budgets. Credit card debit is a financial disaster for individuals and the country. It's runaway taxation, however, that's a permanent and ever-increasing burden on household budgets. Taxes account for a major portion of our financial lives, and its course is unsustainable. Property taxes increase year after year. State sales tax not only goes up repeatedly — but now counties and municipalities are adding in their percentages on top of that to everything we do and buy.

You can fix inflation, you can address credit card debit, and you can learn to live within your financial means. What you cannot do is achieve financial independence when the government has no intent of ever doing with less of our money. Any article that discusses the financial burden borne by Minnesotans and that leaves out the equation of taxation is one that is not fully educating its readers and is doing a disservice by not including a major contributor to financial pressures.

Hans Molenaar, Shoreview


I read the "Owing is growing" article in Sunday's newspaper with interest. I teach a finance class at my church, and there is a large percentage of our students who are also dealing with debt and trying to stretch their dollars. Each story is different and the ages, backgrounds and income of the students vary greatly.

Almost two-thirds of the U.S. population lives paycheck to paycheck. Low-wage earners are most likely to live paycheck to paycheck, with almost 8 in 10 consumers earning less than $50,000 a year unable to cover their future bills until their next paycheck arrives. Yet even 4 in 10 high-income Americans, or those earning more than $100,000, say they're in the same position.

Inflation is partly to blame, but Americans seem to be consumers at heart. We want it, whatever it is, and we want it now. Consumers, despite financial challenges and tighter budgets, indulge in nonessential spending when possible. The simple answer is to make more or spend less. Or both: Cut spending while taking on a second job.

The cold hard truth is that budgets (a plan for how you will spend your money) work if you stay accountable and adjust monthly to achieve your goals. In summary: 1) List your income. 2) List your expenses (essential and non-essential). 3) Subtract expenses from income. 4) Track your transactions. 5) Make a new budget before the month begins.

It takes people about three months to really get the hang of budgeting, so give yourself some grace and keep working on it! The benefits of budgeting will far outweigh the effort.

Tim Rubash, Apple Valley


Your protest will lead to Trump 2.0

With the Michigan presidential primary over with, the results show the majority of Democrats are still with President Joe Biden. But while Wayne County (the home of the city of Detroit and a large number of Arab American voters) was high on uncommitted votes, two other counties should also be noted for their high concentration of uncommitted votes. They are Washtenaw and Ingham counties. Essentially, Ingham and Washtenaw are home to the biggest public universities in Michigan. Ingham is home to Michigan State University, and Washtenaw is home to the University of Michigan and also has another major university in Eastern Michigan University. While these voters will be unlikely to vote for Donald Trump in 2024, they are likely to vote for a third-party spoiler like Cornel West or Jill Stein, which would tilt the election to Trump. This is what happened in 2016 when Trump won the state of Michigan.

Democrats and Biden must spread the word that vote-splitting will lead to Trump becoming president, which is something I am sure these uncommitted voters really do not want. That concern should take priority among these voters more than anything else.

William Cory Labovitch, West St. Paul


The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church bishops, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib and former U.S. Rep. Andy Levin were among those calling for the people of Michigan to vote "uncommitted" in the presidential primaries due to President Joe Biden's policy on Gaza.

The "Abandon Biden" movement is expanding and spreading to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia and Florida. The plan is to vote "uncommitted" or equivalent in the upcoming primaries as a means of telling Biden not to take our vote for granted and to shift his stance on Israel. Specifically, he should end our support and demand a permanent cease-fire. I will vote "uncommitted," and I encourage others to do so.

The Hamas attack that killed 1,200 Israelis was horrific, but Israel's revenge by killing 30,000 Palestinians with thousands of additional children dying of starvation and disease is unacceptable. A final assault on Rafah will accomplish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's genocidal agenda.

I am not antisemitic. I am anti-Netanyahu and anyone who supports him. I do not wish to see a Trump victory. That is the worst possible outcome. But Biden is now like the Republicans, placing politics over principles. I hereby refuse to go along with that and will no longer vote for anyone whose principles I abhor. I will switch my vote to Biden once he demands a permanent cease-fire in Palestine.

Jacqueline Murray Brux, River Falls, Wis.


Minnesota may be considered a stalwart blue state, but even Minnesota could turn red this November if Biden continues to harm everyday Americans with high inflation, high gas prices, high interest rates on home loans, an out-of-control invasion of migrants at our borders, and wars and conflicts on the world stage.

These issues are universal issues that both Democrat and Republican voters care about.

It explains why Democrats like Rep. Dean Phillips, Robert Kennedy Jr. and Tulsi Gabbard criticized Biden and moved to the center of the political divide. Indeed, they even appeared on conservative news shows and achieved favorable reviews by independents and many conservatives.

Incredibly, both Kennedy and Gabbard have been suggested as potential running mates for Donald Trump. How could this be? I guess common problems create strange bedfellows.

The shift in voting dynamics since Trump burst on the scene has left many of us older voters scratching our heads as to who is who on the political spectrum. It sometimes seems like blue is the new red, and red is the new blue.

However, what transcends party affiliation are quality of life issues that affect the majority of Americans. And Democrats should be very worried about the November election based on that bluish-red elephant in the room.

Corby Pelto, Plymouth


Perceptions are what matters, Mr. Biden. The growing perception in America is that your abilities are diminishing. For the sake of not risking another four years with the hopelessly unfit and incredibly destructive Trump as president, do the right thing. Now, before it's too late. Announce that you will not even accept the nomination, much less campaign for it. Please. Please. Please. Yes, I'm begging. Many other very worried Americans undoubtedly feel the same way.

I will not vote for you in the primary. But if you are the nominee in November against Trump, I will vote for you. Yes, that does make sense.

Jim Bartos, Maple Grove