The Aug. 4 commentary “What does China want? The world/one ruler” starts out with a noble position. “But, that’s just the government. Our best strategy is to learn from the Chinese people what vision of their future appeals to them.” What cave has this writer been living in for the last 60 years? China is ruled by a totalitarian government, not any type of true representative government. Does he really think the populace of China has any input into the direction the government chooses to go? His comment “appealing to the Chinese people, over the heads of the government” shows a complete lack of understanding of that society.
In the U.S., there are all types of expression. Do that in China, where there is no freedom of expression, and you will be placed either in an doctrinal retraining camp or in a grave. We in this country have the right to bear arms, at least at this writing, against just this kind of government. The Chinese people do not have this privilege. If we want to see China brought in line with the rest of the world, it will need to be through just what President Donald Trump is doing with tariffs. No matter what type of government we stand against, money has power.
John George, Northfield
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Why are Republicans raising our taxes? Why are they being complicit in sustaining the trade tariffs, especially on goods from China? They accuse the Democrats of trying to transfer wealth. But Republicans are doing the same thing by supporting the tariffs. U.S. tariffs are taxes on U.S. taxpayers.
Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese goods, and China responded with tariffs mostly on U.S. agricultural products. In “What does China want?” Stephen B. Young notes that Trump’s promised payments to American farmers for loss of sales (due to Chinese responsive tariffs) constitute a “transfer of money from American taxpayers to American farmers.” Where does Trump think the money for farmers is coming from, if not from taxpayers? This is essentially a new tax.
In the news article “Spiraling trade tensions threaten economy,” published the same day, Trump is quoted as telling a campaign rally in Cleveland that “we will be taxing the hell out of China.” But — and this is what really puzzles me — China does not pay a cent of taxes to the U.S. government. The tariffs imposed by Trump’s administration are paid by American companies importing Chinese goods, and those costs are passed on to American consumers. Another transfer of money — essentially new taxes on Americans. I thought Trump and Republicans did not want new taxes.
How can Trump act so thoughtlessly on tariffs? He is not dumb, but he is not using his intelligence in his tariff wars. I agree that China has very lopsided policies about intellectual property and business relations, among other issues. These are real problems that should be confronted. But tariffs are not the way to address these problems.
All U.S. tariffs are ultimately paid by the U.S. economy, in higher consumer prices, lower business profits, slower economic growth and lower employment. When will Republicans have the courage to admit the truth and speak up? When will Democrats shout it out loudly and incessantly?
The tariffs are taxes and should end immediately.
Todd Williams, Lake Elmo
PUBLIC RETIREMENT FUNDS
There’s more to lose than gain from tobacco stock divestiture
As a retiree with a public employee pension, I disagree with divesting the state public employee retirement fund of tobacco stocks, especially if this means divesting from passive funds (i.e., index funds). (“State has $297M invested in tobacco,” front page, Aug. 4.) Actively managed funds mostly charge far higher fees, for worse outcomes, so such divesting would broadly damage pension returns, far beyond selling one or two stocks. Using the numbers in last Sunday’s article, the amount in tobacco stocks looks to be three-tenths of 1% of investments, probably in line with an index fund. And if we must divest from tobacco, why not from the extraction industry, various foreign stocks, etc.? There is no natural end to such demands. Please leave my pension alone, and play your political football games elsewhere.
Peter Johnson, Minneapolis
NEWS AND EPISTEMOLOGY, PART ONE
Climate change affects public health — no ‘maybe’ about it
The Aug. 4 Science section ran an article headlined “ ‘Pile of toxic poison’ ” that explored the ways that extreme weather incidents like fires and flooding are making us sicker. As the piece correctly noted, climate change is exacerbating the extreme weather events we are seeing more of, across not just Minnesota but the country and the world.
It was heartening to see the Star Tribune cover this, though I took issue with additional introductory text that read, “Climate change and extreme disasters may have unexpected toll: It may make us sick.” I wish it had said unequivocally that climate change and extreme disasters will make us sick. Climate change is a massive threat to public health all across the world and is one of the things that so many people struggle to grasp.
As we as a country debate the best way to act on climate, we need to remember that this is about more than just the polar ice caps melting. Rising sea levels will force people to move from their homes; extreme weather events and drought will restrict access to clean water and our ability to grow food. We may not always think of it that way, but those are things that are critically important to public health. Public health means the things that keep us healthy as a public. Climate change will affect all of that. We need to grasp that, and to act while we still can.
Liam McMahon, St. Paul
NEWS AND EPISTEMOLOGY, PART TWO
Sixth-leading cause of death is ‘a top cause’? That’s spin, not information.
The Aug. 9 news article “A top cause of death for young U.S. men: police” exposes the Star Tribune’s agenda and is an example of the egregious manipulation of facts that has cost the newspaper any credibility it might have once had.
Boys in their 20s don’t suffer high rates of heart disease and cancer — leading causes of death in the general population — so of course other causes rank higher. According to the article, accidental death is at the top for boys in this age group (76.6 per 100,000), then suicide, other homicides, heart disease, cancer and, in sixth place, police killings at 1.8 per 100,000.
Does that make police killings “a top cause of death for young U.S. men”? This isn’t much of a story, but the Star Tribune took the opportunity to vilify our police.
Sara Amaden, Edina
Minneapolis leaders continue to cater to some at others’ expense
So the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to ban any new drive-through service in the city. People with disabilities have objected, and rightfully so, but there is one group that will be negatively impacted who have not been mentioned: parents of children with disabilities, for example autistic children, and parents of very young children.
Imagine that mother wants to give her two young autistic children a special treat from McDonald’s on their way home. Imagine the difficulty of getting her children out of the car and into the restaurant and hoping and praying that they will not be disruptive to the other diners while they wait for their order. Sometimes even getting them though the parking lot into the door can be dangerous. Throw in some ice and snow, and it’s even harder.
The council is all about providing for the young and able-bodied with bike and scooter rentals and bike lanes, but is uncaring about this very important but overlooked part of our community.
Mary Diercks, Minneapolis