Obama makes his pitch

GOP should oppose, then support, president

“Where we agree, Republicans must be the president’s strongest partners. And where we disagree, Republicans have a responsibility to be candid and offer better ideas for a path forward.”

That was how Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ended the Republicans response to President Obama’s address to Congress Tuesday night. What a joke! The American people have endured eight long years of doing things the Republican way. Look where it has gotten us!

It’s time to try a different approach, and the polls show that the majority of Americans are behind Obama.

It’s time that both Republicans and Democrats offer their best ideas. But, at the end of the day, if the two sides are at odds, it’s the Republicans’ responsibility to put their country, and not their party, first. There is too much at stake for politics as usual to stall our economic recovery.

I shudder every time I hear the likes of Rush Limbaugh and his follows who, if offered the choice of successful recovery under President Obama’s leadership or collapse of the economy, prefer the latter.

This country needs everyone to be pulling in the same direction to expedite a quick recovery. And like it or not, President Obama is at the wheel.

Eric Engels, Eagan

• • •

How in the world did we get from society taking care of the sick and disabled to taking care of those who didn’t finish school and can’t support themselves?

Listening to the president, I thought how nice that we provide everyone the opportunity for a quality education. However, we can’t make anyone take advantage of it.  When they can’t get a job and support themselves, we end up taking care of them all over again.
I say it’s time to stop. Give them a year of assistance, have the social workers require a plan for forward movement, and if they don’t make progress, then just stop paying them.

Able-bodied people who choose not to support themselves in any fashion should not be supported by us either.

Mark Daniels, Apple Valley

A local suicide bomber

Our worst fears may have come to fruition

After the Islamist bombings in Madrid and London, I wondered when, if ever, such a thing could happen here. Would an Islamist radical become a suicide bomber — radicalized in a local mosque — and walk into a restaurant, killing scores of men, women and children?

Apparently, that has happened. A young man from Minnesota killed 30 people in Somalia in a suicide bombing. Why is this not bigger news? Our state has produced an Islamist mass murderer.

Bill Rowe, Golden Valley

Consider a tax swap?

A more fair tax policy is a much better idea

While reflecting on the Feb. 24 editorial, “Consider a tax swap to spur business,” I felt betrayed. Haven’t we been through this with President George W. Bush for eight years and Gov. Tim Pawlenty for two terms?

The editorial advances the theory that no serious legislator would consider piling taxes on corporations because corporations simply pass the tax onto consumers, which burdens those in the middle and poor people. Pawlenty’s notion to eliminate the corporate tax to stimulate business is immoral and callous. Pawlenty’s 21st Century Tax Panel minimizes the fact that a civilized society must support the courts, public safety, roads, education and so on. This can only be accomplished when the tax system is fair, progressive and not political.

Currently, the tax code panders to lobbyists and politicians. The real questions are, what is the effective tax rate corporations pay and how many corporations actually pay taxes?

For five of the last six years that Enron was in business, it did not pay any federal income tax. According to Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winner for economics in 2001, corporations profited by 68 percent during the Bush administration era, while median household incomes were at negative 1 percent. Now Pawlenty’s panel wants to eliminate corporate taxes and pass the total tax burden on to consumers, smokers and consumer services.

Let’s appoint a balanced panel to plug tax loopholes, create progressivism and simplify the tax code for a better society. Minnesota and America must resist the seduction of a politicized tax system.

Sheryl J. Palmer, Stillwater

Snow emergencies

Go ahead and tow, but make sure you plow

Like many residents of Uptown and other parts of Minneapolis, I woke up on Sunday morning to find my car had been towed to the Minneapolis impound lot due to a citywide snow emergency. Due to my mistake, the rest of my weekend was spent waiting in a line with other city residents whose cars had suffered the same fate, as well as having to shell out money that is not in my pocket due to our troubled economy.

While I am not looking for pity or sympathy for my mistake, I am absolutely shocked and appalled that while my car was towed so that a snowplow could come through and clear the streets, no plow actually did such a thing. The streets still remain a mess. It is still difficult to park. There is just as much snow as before, so it is just as difficult to drive.

Please don’t waste my weekend, charge me $138 to release my car and $34 for the actual fine, and then not even have the decency to at least plow the streets.

Sarah Helgen, Minneapolis