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No tipping point

Several weeks ago I corresponded with all of the federal legislators that represent our district. The subject of the correspondence was Minimum Required Distribution (MRD) from individual retirement accounts. With the financial market downturn in 2008 the federal government suspended the required MRD withdrawal in 2009. Since then withdrawals have been required. At end of 2011 the market had still not recovered and many individual retirement accounts were as much as 10 percent to 35 percent below their 2008 levels. Most all financial advisers say to not make withdrawals when market is in a downturn, yet the federal government requires withdrawals to be made, even if it accelerates the decline of a person’s retirement accounts. The question put forth to each of the legislators was: What are your views on Minimum Required Distribution for individual retirement accounts?

The only reply was from Sen. Amy Klobuchar and the first sentence in her reply was most interesting. It was: “Thank you very much for taking the time to send me your thoughts on the future of Social Security.” The next four paragraphs all related to Social Security and not one word about Minimum Required Distribution from individual retirement accounts.

If our federal legislators or their aides (who undoubtedly made the reply) do not know the difference between Social Security and individual retirement accounts such as IRA’s, 401k, 403B, 457, etc., what does that say about our current or future leadership of the United States of America.

Kent Rees


The Obama administration is taking credit for a $25 billion settlement with banks over foreclosure abuses. Seventeen billion will go to an estimated 1 million at-risk borrowers, or $17,000 each on average. In addition, borrowers who went through foreclosure in the past four years will be eligible to receive $1,500 to $2,000.

The bankers had already set aside most of the cost of the settlements, not President Obama. This money will come from the tax money bailout funds that were given to the banks by the federal government. All of this is classified as political election year shenanigans. Who pays the bill in the end?

Richard A. Mann


The Feb. 21 Open Forum writer is mistaken to imply that the 2,500 expert reviewers to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agree that our greenhouse gas emissions are causing a climate crisis. In reality, only 62 of them even commented on the chapter in the IPCC report that addresses this issue. And, of those 62, some disagreed with the conclusion and most of the rest worked for governments so had to say what their leaders said, no matter what they actually thought.

Similarly, the statements of national academies of science about a supposed human-caused climate crisis prove nothing since none of these groups have shown that a majority of their members agree with the organizations’ position. The statements are just the opinions of the groups’ executives or committees appointed by the executive. The rank and file scientist members are rarely consulted at all.

The idea of consensus in the climate science community is simply a myth. No one knows what, if any, “scientific consensus” exists about the causes of the past century’s warming or possible future events.

Similarly, the idea that, at our current 394 ppm atmospheric CO2, the Earth is close to some tipping point, a “point of no return”, as the writer puts it, is completely unsubstantiated by science and history. CO2 levels have been up to 15 times higher (yes, 1,500 percent) than today in the past and there was no catastrophe. In fact plants evolved during periods when CO2 levels were much higher than today and so a return to these levels will enhance crop yield, something we desperately need considering our growing population.

Tom Harris

Executive Director

International Climate Science Coalition

Ottawa, Ontario


Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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