Last week a letter writer compared the U.S. economy to a game of "Monopoly" and bemoaned the fact that at the end of the game, the winner had all of the money and everyone else was broke. He obviously included himself in the group of poor and middle-class citizens who would be left penniless after the winners (the very rich) "progressively capture most of the available wealth." He implied that every dollar earned by someone wealthier than himself is a dollar less that is available to others. That might be true if the amount of available money were finite, as in a "Monopoly" game. Of course, in our economy the supply of money and wealth is not limited. This ruse has long been used by progressives who argue for income redistribution, but it does not hold water. It doesn't take a degree in economics to understand the fallacy of the "Monopoly" theory.

Peter Boyum, Stillwater

Coercive budgeting is a dubious tactic

Gov. Mark Dayton, in his budget proposal, promoted support and funding for higher education. An increase of $32 million for operations, $32 million to freeze tuition and $30 million to increase the "prestige" of the Medical School were all allocated to the University of Minnesota. Noticeably absent were increases to the Minnesota State Universities and Colleges system.

Dayton has continuously chosen to hold MnSCU hostage to the Charting the Future planning process that had failed to force budget cuts, personnel rearrangements and other McDonaldizing methods that would decrease the quality of education for the state's largest provider of higher education.

The governor and the state rely on MnSCU to provide both community college and university graduates. MnSCU is ranked 38th out of the 50 states and District of Columbia in administrative spending per full-year-equivalent student. Member institutions struggle to meet the needs of students and have low rankings due to lack of state support. Instead of worrying about the prestige of the Medical School and the 500 students it serves, the focus should be on the 450,000 students that MnSCU serves each year.

Andrew Andrusko, Ramsey

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"Gov. Mark Dayton threatened Tuesday to cut state aid for signature Minneapolis parks like the Chain of Lakes in retaliation for the Park and Recreation Board's objections to Southwest light rail."

I read this opening paragraph to a Jan. 28 story with interest, as it seems to imply that if one disagrees with Dayton, he will retaliate with defunding. This strikes me as quite similar to another governor's current plight. When Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, took similar steps in his state, he was indicted on a charge of abuse of power.

What do you think, Minnesotans?

David Paton, Mendota Heights

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As a lifelong conservative, I rarely find myself in agreement with Dayton's policies and positions. His $11 billion transportation package, however, is right on the mark, and years overdue. What could be simpler than a direct user fee? No new state bureaucracy to administer the program. The folks who use our roads and bridges get to pay to keep them in good repair. Those who use them the most get to pay the most. (We can worry about the handful of electric vehicles not paying their fair share at a later date.) There is absolutely no excuse for Minnesota not to have the finest transportation infrastructure in the country. The only question now is why didn't the governor propose this new package when his party controlled both the House and Senate, and the bill had a realistic chance of getting approved?

Chuck Millberg, Plymouth

Liberals want to scare you into submission

The Jan. 27 editorial "As the Midwest warms, economy will suffer" is the 2015 version of a sky-is-falling progressive scare. We have seen it all before. In the 1970s, it was the "population bomb," then the coming of a new ice age — both wrong. The next iteration was Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth," complete with a dramatic hockey-stick graph of temperature rise. Undaunted by being totally wrong, progressives revised the global-warming mantra using the meaningless term "climate change." Since climate changes from day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year, this latest scare tactic to save Minnesota, the United States and the world is guaranteed to require more government with higher taxes to support a big new bureaucracy with big new programs. The inconvenient truth is that this is but another boondoggle in a long history of progressive, tax-and-spend, save-the-world ideas.

David Teicher, Plymouth

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Two Jan. 28 articles left me frustrated at President Obama's inconsistency regarding climate change. He came out strongly in his State of the Union message in terms of protecting the environment and dealing with climate change, and the New York Times editorial excerpted in the editorial page's Short Takes feature rightly praises Obama's decision to designate 12 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as permanent wilderness, but a few pages ahead, the article "Obama proposes Atlantic drilling" outlines his plan to open up a "broad swath" of the Atlantic Coast to drilling.

We just can't afford "all of the above" anymore. Statistics show that greenhouse-gas emissions increased last year, both in the United States and worldwide, so we need to do better. We must substantially reduce our use of fossil fuels, and that will require more than individual efforts.

Most people I know are already doing a lot to reduce their carbon footprints. We need strong legislative and executive action, such as by enacting a carbon tax that will force fossil-fuel producers to be responsible for the true costs of the harm they are doing and result in a shift to alternative energy sources. Although I am pessimistic about Congress acting, our only hope is to raise our voices loud enough that they can't be ignored by congressional leaders, and we also need to hold President Obama to consistent positive actions on climate change, as he pledged in his State of the Union speech.

Eleanor Wagner, Edina

Editorial cartoon was on the mark

Thank you, Steve Sack, for your Jan. 28 editorial cartoon. It was fabulous! Ignorance and arrogance are two words that come to mind when I think about the decisionmaking process that parents use in choosing not to vaccinate their children. Disregard and disrespect of the science and history of preventable disease actions and behaviors is beyond my comprehension. I have utmost respect for the public health and medical communities who continue respectfully to provide education and care to these parents and their children — who really are the unfortunate victims of vaccine-­preventable disease.

Susan M. Carolan, Blaine