I'm a little bit confused by the "taxes kill job creation" idea. As the owner and operator of a small manufacturing business for more than 30 years, my experience was that our ability to "create" jobs was a direct result of an increase (or decrease) in demand for our product, not an increase in our profit after taxes. It would have been silly to hire more people if they were not needed, and demand is not increased by employing more people. Of course, increased expenditures to stimulate demand, such as advertising, trade shows, etc., were business expenses deductible from gross income, as were costs of hiring more employees to meet increased demand.

Since business promotion, expansion (building, equipment, etc.) and employee expenses are all, as I recall, before-tax deductible business expenses, I guess I'm having a little bit of a problem understanding how the rate at which I was taxed on net profit could have had anything to do with my ability or desire to "create" jobs. Could someone explain this for me? Rep. Kurt Daudt? Sen. Paul Gazelka?

Bill Hilty, Finlayson, Minn.
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I strongly urge President Joe Biden to give little ground in his $1.9 trillion budget proposal that Republicans are trying to undercut ("10 GOP senators answer 'unity' call," front page, Feb. 1). There are several factors at play here.

First, when Biden's budget is implemented, Americans will gain a lot of lost ground. Many in the country are utterly desperate. Republicans do not want Biden to have a success that he or Democrats can run on in 2024. They would rather see a less-effective package. Overspending and poorly targeted tax cuts never bothered them when they were distributing well over a trillion dollars to well-off U.S. corporations and taxpayers. If there were any means tests required for a well-off corporation to have received a tax cut, I am unaware of it. The same goes for the very wealthy who similarly gained tax benefits that they frankly neither needed nor pumped back into the U.S. economy.

Two, when you come upon a sinking life raft in the middle of the ocean with 100 desperate survivors on board, you have several choices: 1) Ignore them. 2) Throw them 50 life jackets and hope for the best. 3) Carefully count out 100 life vests and then ask if there are any strong swimmers in the group so you can hold back and save a vest. 4) Toss them every darn life vest, life ring, rope and float you can find and gather up the extras after all the survivors have been made safe.

I am for number four while too many Republicans favor one, two or three. Now is no time to go conservative. We need to throw every well-thought-out dollar into Biden's proposal and work out any overspending problems later.

Bob Brereton, St. Paul


Humor and gratitude help, too

The writer of "Growing older is not awful; ageism is" (Opinion Exchange, Jan. 29) cited many valid examples of what older individuals experience. The piece ended with "never call me young or cute."

Seems to me they have lost their sense of humor. Being recognized is already a coup in this age of self-absorption. When I was still taking Metro Transit, prior to masking, a driver would sometimes ask for an ID from me in order to get the reduced senior rate. They were serious, and truth be told, brightened my day.

My personal feeling is that it is humor that lightens our life, young or old.

I'll take "young," "cute," "frisky" or "spunky" and run with it, smiling.

Ursula Krawczyk, Roseville
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As someone who is over 60 years old, I wholeheartedly agree with the author of the commentary, "Growing older is not awful; ageism is." I've noticed, however, that some of us high-mileage individuals have a tendency, just like many others, to judge and stereotype groups of people who we are unfamiliar with. We should ask ourselves: Have we contributed to opinions and false notions regarding race, culture, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status? If the answer is no, that's great, otherwise we all have more work to do!

Sharon E. Carlson, Andover
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Thank you, Pat Samples, for highlighting eloquently the issue of ageism. It is too often under the radar.

Ageism was in my face when I saw how my elderly mother was treated in nursing home rehab, where she went for therapy to improve her walking after a fall. It started with the nurse manager's attitude during admission. Knowing nothing about Mom, not having read her record, he announced to me: "Be realistic. People go downhill at this age." It was his mantra, chanted frequently. Yet this was "rehabilitation"!

Mom had been very active, and ambulatory, in assisted living — that was her baseline. And she had no life-threatening conditions ... until she arrived in rehab, where the care was so substandard that she did, in fact, go downhill. Staff failed to monitor her or to communicate with other staff or the family, failed to address her needs. Her insomnia went untreated for weeks, which resulted in therapy being terminated because she found it difficult to stay awake and couldn't, therefore, make consistent progress.

Then she ended up in a wheelchair for 12 days, with no walking — there were never two staff available to help and family weren't allowed to assist. And no anticoagulant was given, as it turned out. Staff noted one leg had doubled in size but didn't inform family. The ER doctor said her entire leg was clotted, and she died the next day when clots traveled to her lungs.

Ageism is not just a nice idea to consider. It is a matter of life and death.

Jean Greenwood, Minneapolis
• • •

Many thanks to Pat Samples.

My aging joys: saying "yes, I will" and "no, I won't" more freely than ever; laughing/giggling/acting goofy when alone with a grandchild; swelling with pride at the accomplishments of my children/grandchildren; getting free admission to a granddaughter's soccer game; rewarding discounts because I'm 82; joining hands around the table with my kids, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; taking a loaf of hot sourdough bread out of the oven; remembering/finding what I forgot; meeting an old friend who is pleased to see me; writing (or saying) something that I feel good about; capturing a precious moment with my camera; sharing that photo via a card or slide show; digging, planting, pruning, harvesting, eating; finding new/easier ways to do old things; enjoying a hot shower after a workout; following that fleeting impulse to see where it goes; daring to "open a door" that always seemed locked; crying with sadness or joy, freely and fully; pursuing a cause that is important to me; discovering that something I said or did made a difference to someone; telling someone how much what they said or did means to me; finishing old business with an "I'm sorry" or "I forgive you"; forcing myself to slow down and breathe; inhaling healing, self-forgiveness, vision, values, joy, love; exhaling illness, regrets, hurt, anger, sadness, hate; waking in the morning to the distant call of a cardinal; watching an egret gliding effortlessly to a landing on a pond; hearing music that evokes tears of joy or, yes, sadness; celebrating five decades with the love of my life; surprising her with a tender hug; cuddling in our cozy bed on cold nights; reveling in the trust that she knows me fully and still loves me!

And practicing my mantra: "With gratitude, love and hope always."

Harv Bartz, Stillwater

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