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


Matthew Beckman is correct in noting that Minnesota's DFL leaders have grown comfortable in recent years with hard-left socialist ideas ("Peak hypocrisy in the DFL," Opinion Exchange, Oct. 27). This year the Democratic trifecta at the State Capitol waged war on private enterprise and transformed Minnesota into one of the worst places to do business in America. It's hard to think of any state more hostile toward the commercialized sector than this one.

But where Beckman is in utter error is contending Minnesota's growing embrace of socialism is somehow a positive development for the people here. Has he no understanding of history?

After World War II, Great Britain gave socialism a try. Its government took control of most of the economy, expanded redistributive programs and imposed crushing taxes. As a result, the country was referred to as "the sick man of Europe" and from 1950 to 1975 suffered the worst investment and productivity record of any major industrial country in the world. But tired of lackluster prosperity, the United Kingdom returned to privatization and free markets in the 1980s. During that decade Britain's economy grew faster than that of almost any other European economy, inflation plummeted, and some 3.3 million new jobs were created, bettering the lives of everyone in the U.K.

The reality is that there has never been a greater force in history to alleviate poverty and strengthen the middle class than capitalism. In 1981, 42% of the global population lived in extreme poverty; today only about 10% of it does. Free markets have lifted more than a billion people out of poverty — while the socialism still being tried in places like Cuba and Venezuela have pushed millions into it.

Beckman and many in the DFL want to see Minnesota lurch even further to the left. They would be wise to remember that it was free enterprise and entrepreneurs — not government programs and bureaucrats — that created the prosperity Minnesotans enjoy today. But that inheritance is evaporating quickly as the North Star State continues toward economy-stagnating socialism.

Andy Brehm, St. Paul


Can't touch this

I read with interest about Dean Phillips' run for the presidency and about his campaign bus (front page, Oct. 27). His signature slogan — "Everyone's Invited," enhanced with "Make America Affordable Again" — misfires at the right. Anything less that the original battle slogan "Make America Great Again" is a wannabe.

Sorry, Dean, this direct plagiarism is cheap, even with your deep pockets. Save your money like the rest of us.

Janet Kay, Burnsville


Victor Martinez responds

I was disappointed by the Star Tribune Editorial Board's decision to avoid endorsement in my Minneapolis City Council race in the Fifth Ward (Oct. 26). But I am more deeply troubled by the suggestion that I "do not fit" among my neighbors because of "conservative" views. Minneapolis is a proudly progressive city and we should not discriminate against religious institutions or individuals.

The Assemblies of God Church is largely led by women and minorities across the globe. We stand at the forefront of many difficult social issues, including reducing poverty and addiction, eliminating sex trafficking, serving those in prison, and so much more.

Our call to service is shared by many other churches and faiths in the Fifth Ward and throughout our entire city. We are not alone in our beliefs or our work.

I want my neighbors to know that I will stand for truth, justice and equality for all. Everyone will always have a seat at my table. My mother raised me with a spirit willing to compromise, and my living faith strengthens these beliefs every day.

Minneapolis is paralyzed by strict ideology, indecision and strife. Grand ideas matter little when our lives are full of daily fears, personal loss and economic insecurity. We need leaders who may not agree on every issue, but live with open arms, and love their neighbors enough to always find common ground.

Victor Martinez, Minneapolis