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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Trump's Magic Bullet

Category: Economy
Posted: 09/13/16 13:03

by Dave Mindeman

Here is something to ponder....

The incomes of typical Americans rose in 2015 by 5.2 percent, the first significant boost to middle-class pay since the end of the Great Recession and the fastest increase ever recorded by the federal government, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday morning.

You are going to get two completely different takes on that from any Republican or any Democrat. A Democrat will say this is proof that our economy is headed in the right direction. Republicans will either ignore it or simply state it is not true.

The problem with economic numbers is that you can almost always talk about these numbers with opposite arguments. You can make them say whatever you want them to say.

Donald Trump has made trashing the economy the focus of his campaign. After all you can't make America great AGAIN, if it already is great.

And, when you get right down to it, there are always enough people, in good times and in bad, who are dissatisfied with their economic lot.... negative aspersions will resonate with them. And there will always be enough to make a significant counter argument.

Donald Trump is pretty much wrong about everything regarding the economy. But it doesn't matter. He has managed to get a megaphone to reach out to anyone who is behind in this economy.

It is OK to do that. They need a voice. But they need a voice who won't distort the reality as well.

I would venture to say that if Donald Trump gets elected, the new spin on the economy will be that everything is fine - no changes will be needed - the magic force of him taking charge will suddenly make all of those numbers make perfect sense.

Those people who have been left behind will lose their "voice". Once Donald Trump is elected it will be back to the business of the 1% - business as usual.
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The Priority Of Business Over People For The MN House GOP

Category: Economy
Posted: 03/07/16 07:08

by Dave Mindeman

The unemployment benefit situation in northern Minnesota reached critical mass some time ago. Gov. Dayton recognized that and wanted to call a special session to address it. But House Republicans blocked the initiative saying that it could wait until the upcoming regular session. No urgency in their mind. They would address it immediately once the session starts.

Alright, the session begins and already the House GOP is playing games with the issue. Now they want to add a tax cut....

The House Job Growth & Energy Affordability Committee passed a bill extending unemployment benefits for Iron Range workers for 26 weeks but included language that would cut taxes for the employers who furnish the state's unemployment trust fund that carries a $1.6 billion surplus.

Is that really necessary? Apparently the House GOP doesn't think this tax cut proposal can stand on its own merits. They have decided that they need to link it to something that Democrats are anxious to support.

This bill is kind of a microcosm of how the two legislative parties think.

First, the Republicans think that the lives of Iron Rangers are a negotiating tool. Northern Minnesota is hurting, but apparently not hurting enough to avoid the partisan games that they love to play.

Democrats believe this is, plain and simple, an urgent matter that is the right thing to do. They have justified reluctance to take money out of the unemployment fund, particularly when the budget surplus has been reduced because of a slow down in economic activity. If another recession were to hit us in the near future, the extra money in the unemployment trust fund would be a valuable resource to keep our budgets strong.

Again, it is about fiscal responsibility. The legislature needs to address the specific needs of its citizens, but it must also look to the future and make sound budget decisions that account for future problems.

In this one bill, you see that the GOP fails the above test on just about every level.

It has become an ongoing manta....the House Republicans have boasted about helping Greater Minnesota. They are the champions for those outside the Metro.

But they have failed to live up to that promise time and again. And with this bill, we have one more example to add.
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Daudt's Moment Of Venn

Category: Economy
Posted: 02/26/16 16:59

by Dave Mindeman

At a Forum news service media briefing about the upcoming Minnesota legislative session, Kurt Daudt spouted off....

"I think -- forgive me from using some common sense once in awhile -- that we should look at this like a Venn diagram," he said. "Each one of us has a circle, and somewhere there's a point where those circles overlap. There are some controversial things about some of these transportation plans... and I frankly don't believe someone is going to hold up funding for something -- roads and bridges -- that is so broadly supported, not only by the public but members of our Legislature. And I think people that try to hold that up, at the end of the day, will be blamed for it (not passing)."

Venn diagrams.

Daudt thinks that we should pass what we have in common. Yeah, that probably does make sense - except he decides what that intersection is and that it must be passed on his terms.

Transportation will be the main topic during this session - well at least one of them (I am sure tax cuts have to be part of it - you know, Venn diagram).

But although there is bipartisan agreement that something should be done on transportation, it is the method of funding it that blows up any Venn corollary that Daudt wants to imagine.

If you get to the meat of the disagreements, there are a couple of points of contension.

1. How to fund it. The House GOP has this fanciful argument that you can take money we are already collecting - and which has been promised for other purposes - change its destination to transportation and call it "new revenue". It is absolutely absurd, and Dayton has more than once voiced his frustration with it.

2. Leave out transit. Daudt has said that transit is just too "controversial" (apparently too far outside the Venn diagram inner circle) to be included in a transportation bill. Yet, if Daudt were to look inside his own caucus, he would see members who are getting pressure from within their own districts to fund light rail and buses...not in the future, but now.

Venn diagrams only have value if you are drawing them correctly and with the right information. Daudt thinks that he can feed his own data into it and come out with the result he wants....and then proclaim that it states the obvious.

When Gov. Dayton angrily asserted that Daudt and the Chamber of Commerce were cherrypicking their data, Daudt, again, spouted off...

"To listen to the governor of our state call the chamber -- the association that represents businesses in Minnesota that employ Minnesotans, and do a great job at employing -- to hear him call that a 'hatchet job' when they're literally presenting the facts ... I get really sick of people who want to pit this group of people versus that group of people for their own political gain," he said.

Of course, Daudt "never" pits people against each other. Unions against employers. Educators against parents. Metro against Greater MN. LGBT community against social conservatives. Taxpayers against Government Employees.

Naw. Daudt never does that kind of thing.

Don't see any Venn diagrams explaining that, do you?
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