On Monday, Donald Trump proposed a major tax cut plan that would benefit most Americans. This follows the proposed tax cut plans of his fellow Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. In comparison, Trump’s plans gives more back. The important unaddressed problem: Where is the money going to come from to pay for the reduction? Where have the fiscally responsible Republicans gone? With the federal deficit shrinking under President Obama, the next president should have as a goal to eliminate it. Tax cuts aren’t going to do the job.

Jay Kiedrowski, Minneapolis

PLACE NAMES

Where does it all lead? Perhaps to a more-inclusive history

Steve Kaplan’s Sept. 29 commentary weighing in on the contentious effort to rename Lake Calhoun did not provide a refreshingly apropos answer, but Kaplan certainly did zero in on the underlying issue, and that is how seriously we hide, even distort, our history.

It’s not a silly argument we’re having over the worthiness of persons honored through place names; it’s a calling we have as participants in community that we rethink how this reflects our values. But it’s even more important that we cleanse our education system of duplicity — at all levels, beginning with elementary schools and continuing throughout higher education.

While we’re arguing about Lake Calhoun, Kaplan’s commentary makes it clear that the finer thing to do is to rewrite our history books.

Shawn Gilbert, Bloomington

• • •

Kaplan and other opponents of changing the name of Lake Calhoun need to answer one question: Why is the name Calhoun a piece of Minnesota history and tradition worthy of preservation, while names that preceded it — Mde Maka Ska, Medoza, Mendoza or others — are not?

Many historical place names around the world have been changed or restored in response to postcolonial realities or the decline of dominant political powers. The country Sri Lanka is no longer called by its British name Ceylon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is no longer called the Belgian Congo. For 67 years, the Russian city of St. Petersburg was called Leningrad before its previous name was restored. Stalingrad reverted to Volgograd. Other examples abound.

It was perfectly appropriate when the name Mount McKinley was recently changed, in favor of its original Koyukon name Denali. The state of Alaska, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Board on Geographic names all agreed to the name change without controversy.

So, why do some Minnesotans so stubbornly cling to the name of a pro-slavery South Carolina senator whose name only appeared in the first place because soldiers sent to the region to control Indian lands wanted to flatter their boss, the secretary of war?

Michael Griffin, St. Paul

 

ABORTION

Even a child who will die at birth deserves birth

After reading the Sept. 22 commentary by Rebecca Cohen (“Why I had an abortion after 20 weeks”) and several letters to the editor that agreed with the commentary, I felt the need to speak out. In the book “Waiting with Gabriel,” author Amy Kuebelbeck tells the story of being 5½ months pregnant with her third child when she learned that her baby had a malformed heart and that his condition was fatal. For Amy and her husband, Mark, the options were few. But, since their first instinct as parents was to do no harm and all interventions would cause harm, they chose to do nothing but make sure their child knew only love.

As it turned out, Gabriel lived only a few hours after his natural birth. Amy wrote: “Maybe circumstances of his birth and death were our miracle. Gabriel spent his entire life surrounded by people who loved him. He died peacefully and painlessly in his parents’ arms. If he had to leave us, it was a beautiful way to go. … Aborting the pregnancy would have meant denying ourselves the life-changing, bittersweet, exquisite experience of holding our beautiful full-term son and hearing his cries. We didn’t realize until later how crucial and sustaining those memories would be. Ending the pregnancy early would have meant rejecting a gift. It also would not have been a shortcut through our grief. If anything, our grief would have been magnified. [Also], we would have been contributing to the perception that the loss of an unborn baby is of little consequence.”

By allowing these late-term abortions due to fetal abnormalities, I fear we may be heading down a slippery slope where any child that is not perfect can become expendable. We would be no better than what Hitler envisioned in his culture of death.

Kathryn Krisko-Hagel, Eagan

 

THE LABOR FORCE

Let fewer people in, and those already here will find jobs

In “Blacks face large and growing gap” (Sept. 27), the Star Tribune staff missed the perfect opportunity to teach readers about economics and supply and demand. What the newspaper was unwilling to explain is that the earned income for unskilled labor will decrease when you double the supply of available labor. We have introduced a huge increase in the unskilled labor force when we allow Somali refugees and undocumented workers. It’s time to tell your representatives (we’re talking about you, Keith Ellison) that’s it’s time to curb refugee and amnesty programs so that Americans can earn a decent living.

John Kreimer, Prior Lake

 

HOMELESSNESS

Letter writer was insensitive to some obvious realities

I have questions for the Sept. 29 letter writer who was critical of the fact that homeless people shown in a photograph in Sunday’s issue of the Star Tribune were carrying smartphones:

If someone needs to contact you, how can they do it? Maybe they call your house, or, if they’re not in a hurry, they can send snail mail to your address. An emergency? If you have a cellphone, you can be reached by text in an instant. What if you need to reach a landlord to ask about an apartment for, or if someone needs to call you to set up a job interview?

Having a smartphone might seem like a luxury to you, but for the people in the photo, it may be their only reliable connection to the outside world. Also, you seem to make the assumption that they were holding the latest iPhone 6 in their hands. Ever consider they might be getting by with a pawnshop special that has a cracked screen and no speaker? I’m betting they would trade those smartphones for a old-fashioned landline if it were connected to a permanent address.

Diane Combites, New Brighton

• • •

Here in the Twin Cities, most school assignments, grades and communications from teachers are electronic, either by e-mail or posted in online learning management systems. Bus schedules and routes, walking routes, store hours, contact information for just about everyone and everything are now accessed using the Internet. Without access, it is much harder to find a job or to stay in contact with your support system. It’s simply how the business of life gets done! Unnecessary? I don’t think so! Smartphones are a tool that allow homeless youths to participate in their communities and remain productive members of society.

Maggie Kiefer, Maple Grove