Scott Jensen, student debt, resources

Review Editor’s Note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters readers online and in print every day. To contribute, click here.

•••

Regarding Scott Jensen’s comments comparing the COVID lockdown to Nazi Germany tactics and letters from the readers (“Jensen again compares COVID rules, Nazi Germany”, Metro section, August 25, and “I don’t don’t know much about the story,” readers write, Aug. 26): The emotions reflected in the letters to the Star Tribune, both in support and in opposition to Jensen’s comments, miss the point. The crux of the matter is that Jensen has demonstrated a dismal lack of understanding of the medical and public health challenges posed by the COVID pandemic. A more balanced understanding can be found in the editorial praising the excellent work of Anthony Fauci (“Thank you, Dr. Fauci”, August 25), who did not hide his initial underestimation of the nature and gravity of the problem. (The same can be said for Michael Osterholm, our local expert.)

Jensen chose to make civil liberties a higher priority than a life-and-death emergency. From the standpoint of grim statistics – over a million lives lost, life expectancy decreased nationwide, school test scores affected, economic devastation, psychological devastation, etc. – Jensen’s misplaced priorities are best compared to Emperor Nero playing the violin while Rome burned. It would be unacceptable if it were perpetrated by a layman. That this misplaced priority comes from a doctor is mind-boggling.

Richard Masur, Minneapolis

STUDENT DEBT

House Republicans have been so busy sanctimoniously attacking college loan forgiveness that they seem to have forgotten how some of them have personally benefited from loan forgiveness. As the White House recently tweeted: Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene had $183,504 in canceled paycheck protection program loans; Representative Matt Gaetz, $482,321; Representative Mike Kelly, $987,237; Rep. Kevin Hern, over $1 million; Rep. Markwayne Mullin, $1.4 million; and Rep. Vern Buchanan — who tweeted, “As a college-educated child worker, I know firsthand the sacrifices people make to get an education” — $2.3 million.

It would appear that these elected representatives in Congress are upset that average American citizens are benefiting from a loan forgiveness program and not themselves.

Karl Palazzolo, Minneapolis

•••

One author of an August 25 letter (“If you had known then what you know now…”) thinks those of us who have paid off our student loan debt are suckers. It echoes former President Donald Trump’s similar statement about Americans who have served in the military. I’m proud to have paid off my student loans because I know most veterans are proud to have served. Calling us suckers says more about the name-callers than about those of us who did the right thing.

Peter Hill, Minnesota

•••

There has been strong backlash over President Joe Biden’s decision to forgive student loan debt, up to $10,000 for those who qualify and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.

As with all questions today, the reaction is divided by political affiliation.

For some reason, these same people agreed with a bill passed in 2017 that reduced the top corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. It was planned to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years. A normal middle-class American wouldn’t see a penny of these tax cuts. Wealthy business owners did.

Where was the outrage?

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s estimate of the costs per taxpayer for the Student Loan Forgiveness Plan found the total cost could be $329.1 billion over 10 years, or about 20% of the reduction. 2017 corporation tax.

The U.S. defense budget is estimated at $777 billion in fiscal year 2022 alone. defense, but spread over 10 years.

How do we pay for all these corporate tax cuts and the defense budget? We never ask, “How are we going to pay for this?” when it comes to other government subsidies to agriculture or oil.

Canceling student loans will actually help real Americans, not big business.

Another complaint comes from people who have paid off their student loans and have not been able to take advantage of recent benefits. The best explanation I’ve seen is: “If you have a problem with student loan forgiveness because you’ve already paid off your loans, just pretend it’s a tax cut for the rich that you never obtained, but which you mysteriously did not complain about.”

The idea that because you struggled, everyone else should keep struggling is a lazy argument.

Be happy for the people who will get much needed relief. The lack of empathy in America continues.

Travis Kriens, Mitchell, SD

•••

Unintended Consequences 101:

We have a whole new generation of freshmen starting school in the next few weeks. What happens in four to six years when they graduate with student loan debt? Will we be talking about another student loan cancellation/vote buying program before the 2026 general election or the 2028 midterm?

Gene Niezgocki, St. Paul

RESOURCES

The increase in the number of electric cars will increase the call for copper mining in Minnesota. It may be time to tap into our piggy banks.

Let’s abolish the penny. It’s a win-win. Use copper in crafting and get rid of a troublesome coin.

Canada got rid of its penny in 2013, joining many other countries that have abolished their smaller coins. Some, like Hong Kong and New Zealand, have even phased out their 5-cent coins.

Individual prices do not change, just the total bill which is rounded up or down. If you don’t want to pay that rounded penny, write a check or use a credit card.

Coins made before 1982 contain about 95% copper and are worth more than their face value. However, it is illegal to melt them.

Mint coins aren’t worth as much since they’re mostly made of zinc, but they cost over two cents to make. Additionally, zinc is another metal that needs to be mined.

Of course, the zinc industry is pushing to keep the penny with some people insisting that we need the penny to honor President Abraham Lincoln. Sorry, it’s time to put these metals to more practical use rather than burdening our wallets. Let’s mine the penny jar.

Rochelle Eastman, wild

•••

Reaching for the moon and stars is all well and good, but we really should be focusing on Earth right now, especially our need for clean water.

With more than 50% of the United States in the grip of a severe drought, government or private enterprise must invest in research and development to better desalinate ocean water.

With ice caps melting and sea levels rising, it’s time to start harvesting water from our bountiful seas. This excess water is beginning to engulf the low islands and is beginning to encroach on our coastal areas.

If we can harvest oil from the depths of the ocean, build million dollar refineries, and send oil around the world, we should be able to come up with a better plan to desalinate the water from the ocean.

All over the world, people are starving because of climate change. They can’t grow plants in a desert without water. People need clean water for drinking, bathing and affordable crops.

People also need to conserve the water they have. No more 20-minute showers or three-hour lawn watering. Recycle this rain fixture.

Darlene Thyen, Paynesville, Minn.

Comments are closed.