Letters to the Editor - April 11, 2010See what's on our readers' minds this week.
Hoping the ‘liberals’ can cut the deficit ... again
I would like to thank Ralph Doty and Richard Palmer for their columns last weekend and the past many years representing liberal and conservative views.
Conservative and liberal terms were lived up to their meanings when Doty and Palmer were serving in the Minnesota Senate starting in 1971 (I joined them in 1973 in the Minnesota House).
The conservatives controlled the Minnesota Legislature almost entirely for more than 100 years and did a pretty good job, especially in 1971 when they helped enact the so-called “Minnesota Miracle” by increasing income and sales taxes to help local governments and schools not to rely on the regressive property taxes.
Unfortunately, this super public policy was destroyed starting in 1979 when Gov. Al Quie (Republican) cut $710 million. The demise continued in 1985 with $1 billion in cuts spearheaded by Speaker Dave Jennings (Republican). Perhaps the death blow came in 1999, when Gov. Jesse Ventura (an independent) with the assistance of the Pawlenty/Sviggum-controlled legislature enacted $2 billion of income tax cuts with bipartisan legislative support. I am proud that I voted against all of those cuts.
For some reason, starting in 1979 and continuing until now, the GOP became “neo-conservative,” while the DFLers prefer to be called “progressives” instead of liberals. I do not like that label, because I was attacked by special interests throughout my political career claiming that I was “against progress” when I opposed legislation that I considered unconstitutional, anti-conservation of air, land and water ... as well as preservation of history, etc.
Names don’t mean much these days. The self-ordained conservatives have been less fiscally responsible than the progressives as indicated above. Because of irresponsible tax cuts, Minnesota is fiscally unstable and Washington has put our nation in a dangerous position since we depend on loans from foreign countries. Palmer said in his column that we are in debt almost $13 trillion — that figure is the Bush and GOP Congressional 2001 income tax cut of $1.34 trillion times 10 years.
I hope that the “Socialist Obama and Congress” will balance the federal budget like President Clinton and Democrats did late last century.
Use our true assets to attract business
I think we are using the wrong tools for attracting businesses (and jobs). We have been trying to buy businesses with subsidies and tax incentives. We in Duluth do not have to have very long memories in order to wonder if it works.
Do you remember Diamond Tool or the big box office supply store in the Holiday Center?
Instead of hoping the jobs and the labor force will follow the businesses, why don’t we make our state so attractive that businesses will want to locate here because we have a well-educated work force, clean air and water, good transportation infrastructure and sustainable energy. What about having a quality of life — good education, great parks and recreation, wonderful theater and arts, etc. — so that the workforce wants to stay here, and corporate headquarters want to locate here because their executives want to live here? Wouldn’t that do more for our long-term jobs outlook than bribing them with money to locate here?
We will eventually lose any battle over cheaper wages, but we don’t have to lose the battle over a better-educated, more-creative workforce, or a better place to live.
Mary Alice Harvey
Growth of economy will shrink debt
I am pleased to see the many accomplishments of the Obama administration: raising mileage standards for U.S. autos to nuclear arms reductions; saving the country billions by revising the student loan program; to (slightly) increasing the taxes on the super rich to generate revenue for health insurance reform. It is a shame — but not a surprise — to see the media coverage dominated by the spiteful backlash. Fortunately for the Democrats, the GOP has completely refused to assist in finding solutions for any of the difficult problems facing the nation, so all the impressive progress — from the steady economic recovery following Bush’s financial collapse to improved health insurance coverage — may be credited to the Obama administration and the Democrats.
Of course, the great problem facing the nation is debt. Everyone knows this, Democrats and Republicans alike. Obama inherited a teetering financial system, with failing banks and soaring unemployment, and he acted quickly to pump billions into the economy (some prominent economists think that he did not spend enough) and stabilize the situation. Over a little more than a year, he has averted the disaster that many thought was inevitable. And it was expensive. This is a problem that we will all have to bear together. The media personalities who characterize the debt as an exclusively Democratic problem are being dishonest, and they are ignoring history.
The solution to the debt problem will come from the growth of the economy. We are, remarkably, in a good position to move ahead in that direction. I think that the critics on the right should exercise a little humility, principally based on remembering where the problems came from.
A pilot responds to Doty situation
I am an airline pilot based in Denver. My scheduled flights take me all over the country, to airports large and small. While I have no connection to the flight or airline referenced in Ralph Doty’s recent opinion column (“Was Detroit Flight Incident an Abuse of Power?”), I wanted to make a few comments.
First, I am sorry that Doty had such a trying experience. Knowing nothing more about what happened than what he reported, it seems to me that the flight attendant certainly overreacted.
Unfortunately, I feel that this kind of overreaction, in many situations, happens more and more in our society today. It seems to me that people have lost much of the ability to resolve conflict on an individual and personal level, and that many people simply try to invoke a higher authority — even when that response is totally out of proportion to the matter at hand. This trend disturbs me, and I am sorry that Doty was caught up in a situation like that.
I do want to point out, however, one slight misunderstanding he displayed in his column. He opines that he couldn’t possibly have been delaying the flight because “the aircraft’s engines weren’t even running.”
The federal regulations that govern commercial air travel require that the flight attendant ensures that all passengers are seated, with seat belts fastened, prior to movement of the aircraft. At most commercial terminal gates, the aircraft is “pushed back” from the gate by an exterior tug before it taxis under its own power. It is quite common that we don’t start the engines until sometime during, or even after completion of, the pushback. Yet, pilots are required to check with the flight attendant for all passengers seated as above before we can request this pushback procedure — any movement of the aircraft requires this, whether or not the engines are running. Some airlines even go further, and require that all passengers are seated, etc., before the flight attendant may close the aircraft’s exterior door.
I still am not defending the flight attendant’s
handling of the situation — but perhaps this sheds a little more light on her initial insistence.
And I hope that all Doty’s future flights are much more pleasant than that one was.
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