Doesn't seem logical for child care workers
I am a Democrat and generally supportive of labor unions. In fact, I am just about to join a union as I enter a new job. I must admit to being completely baffled, however, by recent proposals to unionize family child care providers.
I may have missed something in the reporting on the issue, but I fail to understand the following:
1) Unions act as intermediaries between employers and employees. How is it that they can represent the self-employed? With whom would they be negotiating?
2) Union elections take place at individual workplaces. How can an entire sector of the state economy become unionized in one fell swoop?
3) Where would Gov. Mark Dayton's authority to unionize these workers come from? It can't be licensing, since family child care providers below a certain size don't need to be licensed. And it can't be state subsidies for child care, since not all parents receive state subsidies.
If child care providers want a "voice," they can join a voluntary association. For example, I own rental properties. If I wished, I could join the Minnesota Multi-Housing Association. I certainly wouldn't want the governor or anyone else to compel me to join a union.
I fear that the effort to unionize these workers will only backfire.
STEPHEN J. SMELA, MINNEAPOLIS
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A FLAT TAX?
Won't happen, because it hinders politicking
The Sept. 21 Star Tribune included two letters from readers asking, basically, "What is wrong with considering a flat tax?" Well, nothing -- it's a great idea that I've been advocating for years.
It's fair: Everyone would pay the same percentage of their wages, thereby eliminating class warfare.
It's simple: Your tax form would be about the size of a postcard, and you could fill it out with no help in about 10 minutes.
It would reduce taxes by eliminating most of the bloated Internal Revenue Service. But the politicians will never give us a flat tax because it would take away their power by eliminating deductions.
They reward groups that keep them in office and punish those that don't by manipulating deductions. And if there is anything politicians covet more than increasing taxes, it's holding onto their power.
ALBERT LONG, CRYSTAL
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Don't get stuck; go to greener pastures
A Sept. 21 article ("Veterans fill the ranks of Minnesota unemployed") references a young veteran who has received two out-of-state job offers but is still looking for work in Minnesota.
Assuming that the offers were reasonable, there must be extenuating circumstances keeping him from accepting one of them. Most people would be ecstatic to have two job offers in this day and time. Or they should be, even if it means moving.
In 1995, I was laid off of my job in South Carolina, where I had grown up and lived for 43 years. I took a new job four months later in Houston, Texas. The job worked out, and my family and I had a great time there.
In 2003, I was laid off again. My wife said she'd go anywhere but someplace cold. However, after nearly a year of unemployment, "cold" was the least of our worries, and the job offer in Minnesota looked pretty darn good.
So in spite of friends and family asking if we were crazy (even those I interviewed with here asked me why I wanted to come), we packed up and moved. The work has been great, and experiencing Minnesota has been even greater.
So, to those of you with opportunities away from home: Don't discount them. Be flexible. Go out there and experience life in other places.
GIL BOYLSTON, SAVAGE
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Searching for that elusive 'first principle'
The Readers Write column fills me with both wonder and despair-- wonder at the great diversity of views on important issues, and despair that so many are so certain of the truth and wisdom of incompatible views.
I despair especially about those who declare, and those who accept, that discussions/debates on a controversial matter are misdirected, or aren't rational, for lack of "shared axioms and agreed-upon first principles."
Earth to Cloud Cuckoo Land: It is rare, if ever, that one can find axioms or first principles that are simultaneously uncontroversial and complex enough to help much in the resolution of some debatable topic.
Most real discussions can, and should, find us rationally debating the definitions and content of candidates for axiomatic and first-principle status.
Such is what has been going on in recent discussions about one first-principle candidate in the gay-marriage debate, namely "natural law."
My two cents -- the gay marriage debate, very simply put, comes to this: Some people are convinced that gay people are ill-formed creatures, while others are convinced that gay people are real people too.
To invoke another first-principle candidate, I know on which side of this disjunction the rational folks are to be found.
JOHN HUMPHREY, MINNEAPOLIS