Opinion editor's note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.


The Supreme Court cases reviewing President Joe Biden's unilateral decision to cancel student loans are about the constitutional separation of powers and not politics. Tuesday's online Associated Press article "Supreme Court seems ready to reject student loan forgiveness" framed the story as a political confrontation using terms like "Republican-appointed judges," "Republican-led states" and "justices appointed by Republican presidents."

The Constitution is clear that Congress authorizes spending. Biden stretched the interpretation of legislation that was intended to relieve student loans for members of the armed forces who were in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Under Biden's executive order, 95% of all students would be eligible, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That increase would cost $400 billion.

If the current administration believes it is good policy to wipe out all student loans, they could enact a new law using their majority in the Senate. A debate allows Congress to be more specific about who should obtain relief, and it forces accountability for funding. Someone will have to pay the debt — will it be the taxpayer or the student? I suspect the wide swath of students Biden is trying to reach would be narrowed with open discussions of the need and the cost.

The constitutional framers deliberately did not allow the president to have budgetary authority because it would give one person too much power. It's an important principle that should be protected no matter which party holds the president's office.

Using a popular giveaway to break the separation of powers is dangerous. The Associated Press article's political spin missed the real story.

Lee Newcomer, Wayzata


As the Supreme Court determines the fate of student loan forgiveness, one argument really resonates with me: Justice John Roberts questioned the fairness of it, arguing that a small-business owner who takes out a bank loan to start a lawn-care business should be offered the same opportunity for loan forgiveness as a student. Instead of going to graduate school, I should have gone into the auto industry or mortgage banking back in 2007 or 2008, or perhaps I should have opened a small business and taken out a PPP loan in 2020. I could have been looking at one heck of a refund if I had chosen those other options, as apparently some financial relief programs are fairer than others.

Kara M. Greshwalk, Minneapolis


The Supreme Court is hearing two cases challenging Biden's authority to forgive student loan debt. This debt does not just disappear. We will all be paying for it. I'm sure all of us can agree that college tuition has gotten prohibitively expensive and that forgiving student debt does not address this problem. How did we get so far away from reality? What are we teaching young adults when we are even considering paying the debt that they made a choice to take on? What about all the families and students who worked hard to pay for their own college loans or their children's? What about the sacrifices made by these students and families to do the right thing? That is a slap in the face to these students and families.

The message this is sending is that you don't have to make responsible choices because the government will take care of you. How does this help a society? Do you want to sacrifice to pay your own way and then sacrifice again to pay the way of the people who are getting the free ride? Is this the kind of society you want to live in? A society where people don't have consequences for the choices they make? This is a slippery slope. What are we all going to be asked to pay for next?

Kim Pogue, Minneapolis


The subject of student-loan forgiveness continues to be an emotional issue and is presently before the Supreme Court. Articles have been written about the burdens young people face in paying off their student loans. Other articles have raised questions of equity should many receive forgiveness of their loans. None of the articles address the underlying, fundamental issue causing the dilemma in front of us: the exorbitant and excessive costs of a college education. The college education paradigm remains unchanged. It consists of redundant physical structures, redundancy of class offerings both within and across multiple campuses of state systems, yearlong sabbaticals for tenured professors, tuition increases when enrollment drops and revenue needs to be replaced, research being performed for the sake of research even when there is no obvious potential long-term economic benefit to society, and virtually no accountability for managing finances efficiently. All of this is occurring while colleges all across the nation sit on billions of dollars of untouched endowment funds. When can we expect to have colleges held accountable for providing an affordable college education for our citizens?

In the meantime, I would suggest at least 50% of the costs to forgive student loans be shoved back and absorbed by the colleges that fostered the debt to begin with. Perhaps then, they'll realize they need to operate differently.

David A. Kunz, Woodbury


Adams isn't alone

The Star Tribune has chosen to discontinue featuring "Dilbert" on its comics page, and the newspaper is within its rights to do so. The derogatory comments made by cartoonist Scott Adams regarding African Americans merit condemnation. Adams allowed his intellect to fall prey to the lowest — and more readily convenient — form of collectivism: racism.

Unfortunately, Adams' comments are far too frequently expressed in American society. However, appeals to racial separatism and boasts of racial superiority are not the exclusive province of the MAGA right. In academia and in the media, leftist racial ideology has established a double standard which promotes and practices discrimination and defamation against its preferred category of villains.

If we are to condemn Adams' words (and we should), by the same principle we should also repudiate those who adhere to the prescription inherent in critical race theory. The thesis of Ibram X. Kendi that racial discrimination can only be rectified by reverse disparate treatment is to provoke the separatist conceit that Adams expressed.

Racial double standards impede our path toward a post-racist — and post-racial — society of free individuals. In repudiating the appeal to racial separatism that has canceled Scott Adams' career as a syndicated cartoonist, should we not also apply the same moral reasoning to those on the cultural left who also promote segregation and separatism on the basis of melanin quotient?

Robin Lundy, Minneapolis


I am going to miss Dilbert. After spending the 1990s living the cubicle life, I found the cartoon's barely exaggerated episodes to be hilarious.

The Feb. 27 front-page teaser "Papers cancel 'Dilbert' comic" was a surprise, but after reading about Adams' racist comments, I think the cancellation appears justified.

Adams was reacting to Rasmussen poll results that indicated barely half of Black respondents agreed with the statement, "It's OK to be white."

My question is, why would any organization include that question in a poll? Rasmussen is looking for racism and stirring up trouble! Our society is on edge enough without such a taunting poll! Let's all agree to boycott Rasmussen.

So the Star Tribune pulled "Dilbert" off the funny pages. Fine. I am devoted to the daily comics and was anxious to see what would fill the empty spot for a cartoon I enjoyed. But please come up with a better replacement! "Crabgrass" is full of angry faces and nasty remarks about "gifted and talented" individuals — a phrase that should probably be retired.

Please find something fun for the funny pages.

Vicky Ercolani, Minneapolis