Review Editor’s Note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters readers online and in print every day. To contribute, click here.
While I enjoyed DJ Tice’s column on the causes of high inflation due to pandemic relief bills (“The Inflated Mystery of Higher Prices,” April 17), I think his description of the beneficiaries of the help was incomplete. It seemed to focus on all disposable incomes that became available and those that became much more demanding to re-enter the workforce. Apparently this refers to a large group of Americans who had the luxury of spending money on additional goods and services and, if they lost their jobs, did not have to immediately re-employ them.
My wife and I are retired and very financially secure. We have received two rounds of stimulus checks as a result of this legislation. It was money we had neither sought nor needed. How many other recipients of these funds are in a similar position? Why were so many at higher income levels included in these distributions? My cynical side says it’s because some in Congress wanted to give something to their base. I am no economist, but is it possible that if the stimulus measures could have been more targeted, inflation rates would not have risen so high?
The funds and policies provided for in these bills were supposed to benefit those less well off. Those who live paycheck to paycheck, work multiple jobs to pay for housing, cannot afford child care, and have to make decisions between feeding their families and getting the necessary health care. They don’t have disposable income or the ability to be “choosy” about their employers. They work hard and struggle to make ends meet. Let’s not group them with those who have the privilege of many more options and have not needed the stimulus money.
Charlie Greeman, Minnetonka
COUPLE KILLED IN MEXICO
Thanks for reporting the story of the murder of two Minnesotans in Mexico (“Coon Rapids Couple Killed on Mexican Highway,” April 18). I believe the story deserves a bit more coverage from the couple, Leticia Carrillo Arellano and Miguel Abrego Hurtado.
I met Leticia in 2004 when she started cleaning my house. We immediately hit it off. Soon her partner, Miguel, joined her cleaning crew and they both became my friends as well as cleaners.
I met their children, Miguel and Diana, their parents and countless sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews. Everyone was so pleasant, warm and welcoming. All were welcome in the home and life of Leticia and Miguel.
I have referred Leticia and Miguel to several of my friends and their families. Everyone who met them adored them. Not just because they were great cleaners, but because of who they were inside and out: loving, caring, caring and generous people.
I’m afraid when people find out that they were shot in Mexico, people will misinterpret the situation. No, it wasn’t a bad part of Mexico. No, they weren’t bad people. They were good people, visiting relatives at a time when violence is so prevalent around the world.
I’m so sorry to lose two of the people I loved the most in my life. I’m so sorry that Diana and Miguel have to grow up so quickly.
Minnesota just lost two of the best people we could ever know.
Ann Osterhus, St. Louis Park
The April 17 report “The Age of Retirement Distribution May Change Again,” detailing the Securing a Solid Retirement Act of 2022 passed by the House and pending action in the Senate, illustrated how point Congress is disconnected from ordinary citizens.
The first paragraph says it all: “Retirees who can afford to stay on their nest egg a little longer could win big with a bill sailing through Congress.” Haven’t we heard reports that many Americans have very small nest eggs, if any at all?
The bill would delay the age at which mandatory amounts must be withdrawn from tax-deferred retirement accounts, the required minimum distribution, or RMD. Yet professionals in the field claim that around 80% of people subject to these distributions withdraw more than the required minimum.
Taxpayers, of course, can still withdraw from their accounts without paying a penalty once they reach age 59½. However, asking account custodians for guidelines on required distributions based on IRS life expectancy tables can at least give some idea of how much to safely withdraw.
There is no doubt that the financial services industry has been pushing this bill after seeing large withdrawals over the past five years as the oldest baby boomers hit their 70s. and a half years. The industry is also expected to see increased revenue as fees are based on account size.
If members of Congress are truly concerned about the financial stability of retirees, they should allow the use of long-term care premiums to adjust gross income.
Hanna Hill, Plymouth
STATE SENATOR. DAVE SENJEM
Lori Sturdevant’s April 17 column “Gas Costs, Climate Crisis Fuel Dilemma” includes insight from one of Minnesota’s top lawmakers – Senator Dave Senjem. Sturdevant describes Senjem as a rare Republican. She understood. Senjem is an old-school Republican created back in the days before the party was hijacked by far-right conservatives in the Tea Party.
Old-school Republicans believe in self-reliance and self-responsibility while simultaneously tending to the basic needs of our neighbors. This differs from the current ilk, which focuses on tax cuts, meeting the needs of the wealthy, cutting public spending to the bone and self-promotion at the expense of everything else.
Senjem is a man who puts the needs of his community (read this community as “Minnesota”) first, constantly sets his priorities on building the future, understands that consensus is essential for success, and sacrifices himself for a fault. He is truly an extraordinary man. Minnesota is lucky to have him in the Legislative Assembly.
Thomas P. Moyer, Greenfield
It’s important that legislation is passed to help protect our children from harmful social media messages (“Bill Tells Big Tech: Stay Away From Kids,” April 21). It is more important for parents to talk to children about what they read and see on social media and for parents to limit the time children spend on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. The more time children spend on these platforms, the more harmful messages they see and the more they suffer.
Jill Thomas, Plymouth
As a native of Minnesota having lived in California for 25 years, I would strongly oppose the creation of any citizen vote initiative or referendum system in that state. (“Curious Minnesota: Why Won’t the State Let the Public Come Up with Laws?” April 17).
My experience with referendums in California was that they were often poorly thought out, poorly written, confusing, and often pushed by narrow interest groups, some of whom came from out of state. In addition, many of the initiatives greatly oversimplified complex issues that required nuanced solutions.
We elect and remunerate state officials, and we must allow and expect them to do their job. They have access to lawyers and subject matter experts and can hold hearings to assess complex issues from multiple relevant perspectives. The process may be slower than we would like, but I believe the well-considered end result is worth the investment.
Lawrence Merwin, Woodbury
I enjoyed reading and could relate to Beth Dooley’s article “Just winging it”, about cooking with a broken arm (Taste, April 21). A year ago, I also fell on ice, breaking my right wrist. In 10 days my husband fell causing 18 stitches in his left hand. We soon learned how with his right hand and my left hand, we could tie our shoes, slice fruits and vegetables, open containers, lift things, among many other tasks. We laugh about it today, but we are both happy to be independent again.