If you want to raise revenue and dump the budget deficit Illinois languishes under, why not do what Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota did? These three easy steps turned a deficit in revenue into a surplus:

1. Raised taxes on the wealthy.

2. Increased the minimum wage.

3. Passed equal pay legislation.

Once Dayton set these three steps in motion, voila, Minnesota’s tax deficit became a tax revenue surplus even after the state spent mega-buck bucks on education. A surplus of money. Wow. Imagine what that would mean for Illinois.

Esther M. Allman, Frankfort

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More maniacs

President Donald Trump has claimed that the other day’s tragedy in Texas has nothing to due with guns, saying that we have a lot of mental health problems in this country “as do other countries.” Comparing international murder rates then must lead one to conclude that the U.S. has from five to eight times as many homicidal maniacs as countries like the U.K, France, Germany, Sweden and Japan, all countries that limit and regulate gun ownership. It makes you not want to leave the house.

Thomas W. Evans, Mundelein

I don’t see the difference

Just a casual observation about the Blackhawks and mass murder. The Hawks observed a moment of silence after the terror attack in New York (Nov. 1), but not after the terror attack in Sutherland Springs (Nov. 5). I don’t see the difference. Both are indiscriminate acts of violence; why does one garner respect for the fallen and the others ignored? Because the perpetrator was foreign-born and made an online pledge to ISIS and is thus somehow scarier than the native-born white man who came armed for war without an ideology behind his inspiration to kill? Even the Hawks aren’t immune to perpetuating the myth that international terrorism is the gravest threat to American lives.

Patrick Lind, Algonquin

Free breakfasts

Lauren Fitzpatrick’s article “Making the Grade” states that a Stanford researcher has discovered Chicago public schools have risen remarkably over the past five years. Sean Reardon, Stanford researcher, says it’s like our kids received “an extra year of schooling squeezed in somehow”

Do you know what Chicago does that other districts don’t? Provide free breakfasts and lunches to ALL students. When kids aren’t hungry, they are ready to learn. Food available to all means no embarrassment for a free meal, no penalty for running late and skipping a meal for families that can afford them.

That’s the major change that happened in the last five years. The rest of the country should follow suit.

Caren Tarv, North Park

Interesting juxtaposition

What an interesting juxtaposition of articles in Friday’s edition: John Stossel’s opinion piece, “100 Years of Communism Nothing to Celebrate” and, in the news section, the story of the abrupt shutting down of the DNAinfo website by owner Joe Ricketts (patriarch of the clan that owns the Cubs) because his employees dared form a union.

Mr. Stossel talks of the horrors inflicted by “socialist tyrants,” contrasting them with the “natural rights” enjoyed in this country. But these days, collective bargaining and unionization do not seem to be among those rights. Mr. Ricketts’ decision to scuttle his own company rather than accept his employees’ democratically made decision to organize exemplifies economic tyranny.

I look forward to a swift condemnation of this arrogant, job-killing move by Mr. Stossel, who presents himself as a champion of freedom and prosperity.

Hugh Iglarsh, Skokie

Moving headline

I was moved by the front page headline in a recent Sun- Times (“Coffee & Crime) to express my appreciation for the cleverness of so many of the Sun-Times headlines. Many years ago, when newspaper pages were still set by hand, I worked as the sports editor of a weekly, with the responsibility of creating headlines that fit in the column space. I realize that is now done by computer, but the headline must still fit the assigned space.  To accomplish that, and also to be clever, is an achievement which I salute … and enjoy.  Keep it up!

Stephen B. Goldberg, Buena Park

Taken aback

I was taken aback by Rev. Jesse Jackson’s support of statehood for Puerto Rico in his article, “True Scandal in Puerto Rico is U.S. Government Failure” (Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 30 2017). I believe that his opinion on the future of Puerto Rico ignores the complex political history of our country and overvalues the benefits of statehood for our people.

Let me first underscore that it is not only “the failure of the U.S. government to meet the emergency” that is responsible for our current crisis, but also decades of dishonest public administration from our island’s privileged white elites. This is also the view of many in Puerto Rico today, as we all have been informed of their veiled ploys with contracts and other unethical maneuvers after the passing of hurricanes Irma and María, some of which are currently under the scrutiny of the U.S. Congress.

Once integrated, Puerto Rico will have the same greedy elite that has governed the Island for many years in place, organizing the dissolution of our nation along with other U.S. politicians just like them. They are certainly the ones that will remain dominant under statehood, further expanding the social and economic inequities that characterize both our society and U.S. society.

Having lived in your country for many years, I am aware that Americans generally have a positive perception of their government and their Congress, one that is not shared by people in other parts of the world. In truth, statehood is no panacea. Social and economic Inequality and racism are central attributes of each one of the states of the U.S. Moreover, the U.S. Congress has not done enough to improve the conditions of the citizens located at the bottom of the social structure, including its territories. This is particularly true of those with undervalued skins and languages.

We are a Caribbean nation that values its language and history, just like our Cuban, Jamaican, Haitian, Dominican and Barbadian neighbors do. I believe that Puerto Rico should foresee its potential within the Antilles, not as a colony of the US, or as a ghetto within that nation.

Aarón Gamaliel Ramos, retired professor, University of Puerto Rico