I am writing to respond to the commentary written by Lee Lynch, "Please raise my taxes; I can afford it" (Opinion Exchange, Feb. 2). I agree with everything he said and commend him for the courage to say it. However, I offer a different approach.
Many who express resistance to higher taxes believe strongly that governments that collect the additional taxes are very inefficient and waste a meaningful percentage of the revenues that flow through them. "I would be happy to pay more in taxes to help the disadvantaged, but I can't stand the wastefulness of government" is a frequent refrain of the wealthy.
Regrettably, these same wealthy are free to make voluntary donations to nonprofits that serve the community but do not, even though they profess to care about the disadvantaged. One cannot credibly resist higher taxes as "inefficient" and then not make charitable donations in lieu of paying higher taxes. One way or the other we must address the needs of our community, and we need the wealthy to pay more, as Lynch points out.
My recommendation is that governments impose a special surtax on the wealthy (5% on income above $1 million?) but give the wealthy taxpayer a choice. Either pay the higher taxes to government or make a donation in the amount of the surtax to qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. The donation must be made in the same year that the taxes would be due.
If donated to a nonprofit, the additional money would flow directly into the community rather than through the government, which would eliminate the excuse for not wanting to pay higher taxes.
Steve Sefton, Minneapolis
• • •
A Tuesday letter writer misses the point of Lee Lynch's commentary advocating for higher taxes on the wealthy as a solution to our crippling deficits when making the oft-repeated argument that Lynch is welcome to pay more than his mandatory amount if he feels he is not paying his fair share. Obviously, Lynch electing to pay more in taxes is not going to solve our budget issues by itself. Instead, Lynch would like to see all 1-percenters required to pay more in taxes in order to not leave these huge debts for our children and grandchildren to eventually pay off.
Philip M. Ahern, Shorewood
• • •
A writer from Stillwater complained in Tuesday's letters about the "high" tax rates in Minnesota. He mentioned the steps taken to compensate his employees but fails to recognize the state-supported programs that make Minnesota a desirable place to live. Then he claims without evidence that there is "waste, fraud and abuse" in public spending. Perhaps this writer would care to explain which of the programs contains all this "abuse"? Would it be the underfunded public health system? The underfunded education system? The underfunded transportation system? The underfunded early child-care system? All of these public projects create the opportunity for his employees to show up at work each and every day so that he can be successful as an entrepreneur.
George Hutchinson, Minneapolis
• • •
I certainly have to agree with a Monday letter writer as to the hypocrisy of Republicans now wanting to support fiscal prudence after the massive giveaway that was their tax "reform." To my surprise and gratification, however, on certain points of their counterproposal to the president's stimulus plan, I agree with them. The money, however much it is, really needs to be directed to those in real need — "well-thought-out" dollars, to quote the letter writer. To borrow his analogy of the sinking life raft, we need to make sure the life vests we're tossing out are actually landing in the raft, and not on a passing cruise ship (which is where so many of us, in truth, find ourselves).
Brad Wronski, Red Wing, Minn.
It's too late to excise the 'cancer'
Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, stated in this paper on Tuesday that to "keep our party united" the "family dispute" between the radical right fringe and traditional Republicans must be handled "behind closed doors" ("Emboldened extremist wing flexes its power," Feb. 2). McDaniel would not even condemn Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has embraced QAnon conspiracies, denied the Sandy Hook and Parkland school shootings and supported violence against Democrats. I guess the radical right epitomized by Greene is in the Republican "family."
What? The Republican Party that once stood for law and order now defends the lawlessness of its supporters storming the U.S. Capitol, the citadel of our democracy. The party of accountability for one's actions now wants to "move on" and pretend this violent assault and attempted coup didn't happen.
The party attacking "fake news" perpetuates the fake news that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen," even though more than 60 court decisions, every secretary of state, the FBI and Trump's own administration assert it was fair and legitimate.
The party that condemned "political correctness" now formally censures Republicans who don't hew to the politically correct positions espoused by former President Donald Trump and his right-wing supporters.
Republicans hope they can unite themselves by opposing Democratic legislation. The Republican Party has become one that can oppose but not propose, detract but not enact. Remember its health care plan to replace Obamacare? Never saw it. Remember tax cuts for the middle class? Only saw one for the wealthy and corporations. Remember legislation to rebuild America's infrastructure? Never started. The border wall paid for by Mexico? Never saw a peso.
By obediently enabling Trump in order to maintain power, Republicans adopted into their family the radical right with its "loony lies" and electoral "cancer" (per Sen. Mitch McConnell). In sacrificing principles for power, they have lost both.
Brad Engdahl, Golden Valley
Expectations, too, start to slide
Thank you, Pat Samples, for your excellent commentary on ageism ("Growing older is not awful; ageism is," Opinion Exchange, Jan. 29). I couldn't agree more with your perspective, but I would like to mention one more problem that results from ageism.
When I was 59, I joined a fitness training group at a major facility. I was at a somewhat poor fitness level due to a surgery I had to endure, but thankfully I had a trainer who did not let that stop me. He pushed me to do what I could do within the group and if there was a problem, he found an alternate exercise that made me stay in the game. As time passed, I improved. In just nine months, I was in the best shape of my life. I was stronger than ever and I easily found myself running 5-mile runs each week. Even my sore lower back was free of pain and stronger. I slept better, my body fat dropped from 29% to 19%, and I ate healthier.
As we age, it is normal for well-intentioned people to tell us that we need to slow down and be more careful. This message shapes the thinking of seniors so that they think it is impossible to overcome the aches and pains of life. We need to stop telling our seniors to slow down and instead tell them to go for a walk, play pickleball, swim, bike or go for a hike. Will they get aching muscles? Yes, and that is a good thing. Check with your doctor and if possible, work with a fitness trainer. They can give you the right exercise program to overcome what ails you, but in any case, get back to doing something good for your health.
Mark Anderson, Ramsey
We want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts here.