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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

GOP Wants To Blame Process, When It Really Is Just Bad Ideas

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 11/12/12 21:45

by Dave Mindeman

Minnesota GOP operative Ben Golnik says he knows what the flaw in Republican politics is...that needs to be fixed:

For Republicans, the endorsing convention is composed of about 2,000 delegates from around the state. To win endorsement, a candidate must receive 60 percent of the vote. Essentially, 1,200 delegates pick the Republican candidate for statewide office.....

This costly, time-consuming process discourages involvement from a broader group of Republicans. For families with young children, it requires money for babysitters. For small-business owners, it requires significant time away from their jobs.

With the complicated process, a well-organized minority can defeat a poorly organized majority. At the Republican caucuses in February 2012, Ron Paul received about one-quarter of the votes cast. At the Republican state convention a few months later, Paul supporters represented more than half of the delegates. Bills, a teacher and first-term state representative, was selected by the ardent Paul supporters as the U.S. Senate candidate.


OK, let's review the primary process in other states for the GOP:

In 2010 Christine O'Donnell took the primary over Mike Castle in Delaware. Sharron Angle won a primary in Nevada over Sue Lowdon in Nevada. In 2012, Richard (Rape is God's Will) Mourdock primaried the venerable Dick Lugar and won. Todd (Legitimate Rape) Akin bested Sarah Steelman in a primary. And a primary pushed Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin into a hard enough right turn to lose in the general election.

Golnik assumes that changing Minnesota to a more open primary state is some kind of solution. Wrong again.

The GOP problem is that they gave the Tea Party free reign. The GOP problem is bad candidates. The GOP problem is bad message. The GOP problem is bad policy.

Primaries or endorsement....blame what you want. The process isn't the problem -- you guys just didn't listen to the voters.
comments (3) permalink

Instead of Higher Taxes on the Wealthy.....

Category: Economy
Posted: 11/12/12 00:40

by Dave Mindeman

This may sound a bit strange coming from a "liberal extremist" like me, but I am not in a big hurry to increase Minnesota state taxes on the wealthy.

Don't get me wrong, the Federal Taxes, the Bush Tax Cuts, are a different deal. The wealthy portion of that deal needs to end and the middle class portion to continue.

But for Minnesota, I would prefer a fuller examination of the overall tax structure.

We do have a high tax bracket for higher incomes. It has been a Republican talking point for decades. I still don't believe that raising those tax rates will somehow hurt the state economy. And as I have said many times, the myth of wealthy job creators is still just a myth.

But there are other ways to increase revenues from wealthier tax brackets than raising the current rates.

I think we should overhaul our sales tax system. Keep the clothing and food exemptions, but broaden the tax base. That means several things....

1) Collect internet sales taxes. That should have happened long ago. It is an unfair advantage for internet commerce over brick and mortar companies.

2) Eliminate exceptions. Keep the exemption on food and clothing but tax the incidental exceptions that have creeped into the code via special interest groups....like feminine hygiene products.

3) Broaden sales tax to include services. This may be a way to collect more taxes from the wealthy. For instance: I pay sales tax on a purchase of TurboTax for doing my income tax. Shouldn't we be taxing accountants and tax attorneys who provide services for high incomes to beat paying tax?

Another means of collecting taxes from higher incomes would be to cap deductions. Put a deduction limit on home mortgage interest deductions. Cap miscellaneous deductions. Tax brokerage services. Cap financial service deductions. Things like that.

And if we broaden the sales tax base, then lets lower the percentage. Instead of 6.5% on a limited base; move it to 5.5% on a broader base. We can still increase revenue. And, if we are so inclined, make the sales tax a two tier tax. With a higher rate on luxury items like jewelry and recreational vehicles.

Some of these possibilities would bring in more revenue from higher incomes without resorting to an income tax increase. That would complicate GOP talking points, but still meet the need for increased revenues.

Do some of that and we can get serious about fixing budgets.
comments (4) permalink

Veterans Day

Category: Economy
Posted: 11/12/12 00:18

by Dave Mindeman

On this November day, the 11th day of the 11th month, the first thing to do is to salute the men and women of our armed forces. It is unfortunate that the news cycle is filled with the indiscretion of General David Petraeus. But soldiers are not perfect. That does not make them any less heroic.

Petraeus served our country well and led us through some very tough ordeals...the politics of which will be discussed in history books. But the military service of Petraeus and our armed forced is beyond question.

Duty, honor, country. Those truths still hold. And maybe it was honor that moved Petraeus to resign rather than weather a political firestorm.

I'm not going to dwell on that today....because today I see uniforms that represent the best in our country. And even better, those uniforrms are finally coming home.

But it is also painful to note that many of these returning veterans can't find jobs. Can't get the full amount of healthcare they need. And are sometimes unrecognized for what they have done.

We must keep working to change that. This much we have to get right. On this Veterans Day and on every day going forward we must properly honor the service of those who paid that disproportionate price in service to country. Some gave their life, some gave permanent wounds. All gave time, talent, and treasure to the call of their country.

Today, especially, we honor that sacrifice. And every day going forward it should be a part of our thoughts.

Thank you, veterans. Thank you very much.
comments (0) permalink

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