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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World


Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 07/31/11 02:35

by Dave Mindeman

Disgust at the Debt Crisis Runs Deep....that's what a Star Tribune article pointed out as they talked to residents of Washington County...a district that is mostly represented by Michele Bachmann.

But how do we just fix it? Everybody talks with words like compromise or a deal. But doesn't that require two willing partners?

"You can be a Republican or a Democrat, but you should come into a debate really listening and looking out for the good for all and then you compromise sometimes," Anna Maakestad, a high school teacher from Marine.

There's that word. Compromise.

Tony Sutton, Chair of the MN GOP: "Without being overly rhetorical, a compromise to the left is a compromise of good and evil."

How can we move ahead? If two sides disagree and one of them refuses to move on the most basic of points, where do you go from there? If one side won't play, they both pay.

"Both sides just seem ridiculous," said Margaret LeClair, an insurance broker who took a boating break to walk Leo, her King Charles spaniel, down Stillwater's Main Street. "How they can continue to not get their job done is mind-boggling and disappointing."

The positions harden. Even as the stakes get higher.

Amy Koch, MN GOP Senate Majority Leader: "Never give in to balanced approach."

It seems basic. It seems like an obvious condition. To work together, both sides need to be respected.

Susie Armstrong, said if she were in Washington, D.C., instead Washington County, she'd carry a sign to the Capitol that reads: "'You're all fired.' The Constitution was built on compromise, right?" she asked.

Built on compromise. There's that word again. Shouldn't all of our representatives strive for a compromise that moves us forward?

Michele Bachmann, Republican Presidential Candidate: "I have a very strong, very proven record that I am not a compromiser. I came here as an outsider to fight the current political climate in Washington, D.C., and I have stayed true to that. I have a spine made out of titanium."

You know, if compromise is the way to go, I wonder who should get the blame when no compromise is reached?

I wonder.....
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The School Shift & Tobacco Bond Initiators -Clearing the Record

Category: Economy
Posted: 07/28/11 23:30, Edited: 07/28/11 23:31

by Dave Mindeman

I posted a blog on the Apple Valley Patch local news site (they allow blogs from the community) recently that led to an exchange with my local Senator, Chris Gerlach. It was about the budget solution with "debt" and I commented about credit cards being such a heavy part of the mix.

A comment came from Senator Gerlach taking exception to my characterization of the school shift idea as being the GOP's fault.

You can read the exchange here...

But in Senator Gerlach's comments, I was surprised by this:

On June 30, the day before gov't shutdown, Governor Dayton was the first to introduce the school shift idea into budget negotiations to the amount of $1.4 billion. This was extreme and later that day with the pressure of the shutdown looming, a Republican counter-offer pushed that back to $700 and were dragged kicking and screaming to that number.

Governor Dayton brought this up...first? That seemed odd to me, so later I decided to try and ask around. I sent an e-mail to Rep. Paul Thissen, who was in the room, to see if he might respond. And he did so...very quickly I might add. He said it was OK to quote him on this point:

On June 29 at 8 pm, Sen Koch and Rep Zellers presented an offer that included a school shift and the tobacco bonds. It was an oral offer but I was sitting in the room next to the Governor. It was the fiscal offer attached to the infamous list of social policy that the Republicans were also demanding. It was only the next day - June 30 - that Gov Dayton proposed a school shift that he later expressly withdrew.

Alright, there is the facts. Rep. Thissen was present. Sen. Gerlach may not have gotten the full play by play in all the rapid fire aftermath....but it seems clear that the school shift and tobacco bonding were an original Legislative leadership proposal.

Dayton's counter proposal of the 50-50 shift, which was withdrawn, was probably (if you will allow me to speculate) a reaction to the tobacco bonding measure which I think Dayton finds irresponsible. After all, the school shift is meant to be a delay in payment while the tobacco bonds are a full debt measure backed by commercial paper and corresponding interest payments.

So don't allow the Republicans to escape responsibility in this matter. This is their debt solution to the budget. They rejected all of the proposals that would have added a clear revenue stream and instead, added to our kids obligations.

This mess is a Republican mess.
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Category: Economy
Posted: 07/27/11 18:08

by Dave Mindeman

Lost in all the political talk for these turbulent times is one very simple truth.

Government would not be in its current stat of chaos if Democrats were still in control.

I suppose I had better explain that because after all we just had an election in which people threw a lot of Democrats out because the electorate was so dissatisfied with the current state of things.

But, looking back, even though the economy has been tough to get on track and the deficits difficult to control, government at least still functioned.

Right now, Washington has a fabricated crisis. Completely fabricated. There is no reason that all of this budget cutting and potential revenue needs to be tacked on to the debt ceiling bill. This issue could end in the next few hours if the Senate and House would vote on simply raising the debt ceiling figure alone. A one paragraph bill. End of stalemate.

Republicans in the House are holding the entire government and even the entire US economy hostage over spending they can argue about anytime, anywhere -- and with similar results I might add.

This dysfunction lies at the feet of Republicans. An intentional mess that was intentionally designed. And the economic damage could be enormous.

In Minnesota, our budget is also a mess. We are borrowing money from our kids even though Republican leadership said that it is wrong and that we should never do it. The state has caused budget crises at every level of government...state, county, municipal and school board. All are affected or infected if you will.

And over what?

The GOP says that we have a spending problem. But then, in this budget, the Republicans spent money anyway; they just didn't pay for it. They say that government doesn't work....well, that is true when the word compromise is classified as unacceptable.

Progressives breathed a sigh of relief when Governor Dayton finally took the oath of office. With a Republican legislature we thought how much worse it would have been if we had Emmer as governor.

But, conversely, we should be considering how much better and easier and quieter things would be if Governor Dayton had a Democratic legislature to work with.

That tax increase on the rich would have eliminated some of those draconian cuts and very few Minnesotans would even be affected by the new revenue. School boards wouldn't be looking to borrow for this year's budget. Road construction would be in full swing. Health and human services wouldn't be scrambling to work on changing eligibility and loss of coverage.

It would all be functioning. That's the key word, functioning....functioning as it is designed to be. And when the economy cycles back, things would function even better.

But we don't have that do we.

Word for today? Dysfunction
comments (1) permalink


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