Archive for the ‘Special Interests’ Category

Saying that MNsure is an expensive failure is understatement. Here’s another example of how MNsure continues to be an expensive failure:

St. Paul- The Minnesota House of Representatives passed an ObamaCare bailout bill (HF 3172) Thursday by a vote of 70 to 59. In 2013, Governor Mark Dayton and Democrat lawmakers passed a budget that increases all-funds spending by $1,500 for every man, woman and child in Minnesota. This bill spends an additional $323 million in Fiscal Year 2014-15 and increases spending in Fiscal Year 2016-17 by nearly $1 billion. One of the largest expenditures in HF 3172 shifts money from the General Fund to fill a gap in the Health Care Access Fund that has been drained by ObamaCare in Minnesota.

That’s only part of the problem with Obamacare, aka the ACA. MNsure dramatically underperformed, despite the DFL’s attempts to characterize it as a great success. Here’s some statistical proof that it’s a failure:

Projected Enrollment in March 2013: 164,000 to 270,000
Revised Enrollment Goal in October: 69,904
Actual Enrollment: 47,046
Percentage Below March, 2013 Projection: 71% to 83% below projection
Percentage Below October, 2013 Projection: 33 percent below projection

Spending over $1,000,000,000 over the next 3 years on this bailout is immoral. That didn’t matter to the DFL, though. The DFL didn’t hesitate in foolishly spending the taxpayers’ money on this underperforming program. All that mattered to the DFL was that President Obama said that Obamacare is a rousing success. That’s all the DFL needed to hear to squander $1,000,000,000 of the taxpayers’ money.

Kurt Daudt summarized things perfectly:

“After historic increases in wasteful spending last year, Democrats proved once again they can’t stop themselves from wasting more tax dollars. This bill irresponsibly spends more than a billion dollars over the next four years and puts Minnesota at risk for future budget deficits to bailout the failed ObamaCare health law. ObamaCare has hurt Minnesotans with higher cost and fewer choices for health care, and now is hurting Minnesota’s budget,” said House Republican Leader Kurt Daudt (Crown).

Thanks to this foolish spending, Minnesota’s general fund budget spending will reach almost $39,000,000,000 for this biennium. Spending from the previous biennium was an already-too-high $34,000,000,000, an increase of almost $5,000,000,000. That’s a 12.5% increase in spending over the previous budget. Let’s remember that that budget was the biggest budget at the time.

Let’s be realistic. When the DFL was pushing HF5 down our throats, they said that 270,000 people would purchase qualified health plans through the exchange. They missed that figure by 223,000. That 47,000 figure is only 17.5% of 270,000.

Scott Leitz, Gov. Dayton and the DFL’s spinmeisters gleefully told Minnesotans that they’d exceeded their goal of 135,000 enrollments. What the DFL spinmeisters didn’t tell Minnesotans is that the vast majority of those enrollments were in the MinnesotaCare and Medicaid programs.

MNsure, aka Obamacare in Minnesota, is a failure. That’s why the DFL legislature just approved a $1,000,000,000 MNsure bailout for the next 4 years.

Successful programs don’t require $1,000,000,000 bailouts. Tell that to the DFL the next time you hear them brag about how successful MNsure is.

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Charles Koch’s op-ed in Thursday’s WSJ is a fantastic fact-filled defense of himself and his corporation.

Koch companies employ 60,000 Americans, who make many thousands of products that Americans want and need. According to government figures, our employees and the 143,000 additional American jobs they support generate nearly $11.7 billion in compensation and benefits. About one-third of our U.S.-based employees are union members.

Koch employees have earned well over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009, many of them from the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. EPA officials have commended us for our “commitment to a cleaner environment” and called us “a model for other companies.”

Harry Reid said Charles Koch was “un-American.” If winning awards from the EPA for environmental excellence is un-American, then we need more of that type of un-Americanism. If winning awards for safety from OSHA is Sen. Reid’s definition of being un-American, then let’s have a new wave of that type of un-Americanism.

Let’s be blunt, though. This won’t stop Sen. Reid from criticizing the Koch Brothers. This op-ed won’t stop Al Franken from using the Koch Brothers as villains in his fundraising emails. That’s because they don’t care about facts. That’s because facts are irrelevant to dishonest people like Sen. Reid and Sen. Franken. This information isn’t relevant to Sen. Reid either:

Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.

It’s indisputable that Koch Industries are good corporate citizens. The top Obama fundraisers got guaranteed loans for green energy initiatives, then went bankrupt. Koch Industries asked for corporate welfare to stop. That comparison proves that Koch Industries’ priorities are the American people’s priorities.

It’s instructive that the Democrats villainize a corporation that’s a great corporate citizens. It’s instructive that Democrats sat silent when corporations that raised millions of dollars for Presiden Obama gets a guaranteed loan from the taxpayers, then files for bankruptcy.

It’s time for this nation to turn the page on this chapter in American history. It’s time to chart a new direction. It’s time to trust in the American people again. It’s time to stop listening to dishonest politicians like Sen. Reid and Sen. Franken. Finally, it’s time to start praising good corporate citizens like Koch Industries.

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Last week, the DFL Senate’s spin about passing ‘tax relief’ was that the DFL added money to Minnesota’s Rainy Day Fund while providing tax relief to the people:

Nearly every Republican joined most DFLers in backing it, but GOP members criticized the majority for a provision in the bill that adds $150 million to state budget reserves. That brings the state’s rainy-day fund to more than $800 million, but Republicans said that money should go back to taxpayers too.

This puts the DFL in a difficult position. When they talk about a bonding bill, their predictable mantra is that spending x amount of dollars in a bonding bill creates thousands of jobs. When they’re talking about tax relief, though, taking $800,000,000 out of the private sector’s hands, the DFL’s argument essentially is that this doesn’t hurt job creation.

Having some money in the Rainy Day Fund is appropriate but having almost $1,000,000,000 in the Rainy Day Fund is criminal because it’s taking money that should be used for creating jobs and putting it away to maintain government spending longer than government spending should be maintained.

The other thing that the DFL has to be exposed on is the myth that the surplus is proof that Minnesota’s economy is booming. That’s BS. The government is wealthier than it was with the GOP legislature but that’s it. The surplus is proof that the DFL’s tax increase is stealing too much money from families and small businesses.

The DFL is ok with that because the DFL has sworn its allegiance to growing government to the point that it’s intruding in people’s lives too much. The DFL objected to PolyMet until recently. They’re still objecting to the silica sand mining in southern Minnesota. They’re objecting while chanting ‘the environment’. Nowhere in their chanting points is there a mention about families needing the high-paying jobs that silica sand mining and PolyMet would provide.

The DFL’s Rainy Day rip-off is proof that the DFL’s highest priorities are feeding government while appeasing militant environmentalists. Those aren’t the average Minnesotan’s priorities. They want policies that create jobs that don’t require raising taxes to create. At this point, the DFL doesn’t champion policies like that.

The DFL’s policies promote intrusive, expensive and inefficient government. How many people know that taxpayers’ money is being used to lobby the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money? The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities spent $840,000 lobbying for the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money. While they’re the biggest in that classification, they weren’t the only organization doing that. The League of Minnesota Cities spent $628,945 lobbying the legislature to spend more of the taxpayers’ money on cities.

The definition of corruption is using the taxpayers’ money to convince legislators that they aren’t spending enough of the taxpayers’ money. In that scenario, the taxpayers are getting shafted twice. How isn’t that corrupt?

That’s before talking about the millions of dollars being paid to legislative liaisons. Legislative liaisons is government-speak for taxpayer-funded lobbyists. State agencies are littered with legislative liaisons. If that position was eliminated from state government, government spending would drop dramatically.

It isn’t that legislative liaisons get expensive salaries. It’s that they convince DFL legislators to spend tons of money they don’t need to spend.

If Minnesotans want a real economy, the DFL is the worst option. If Minnesotans want money spent efficiently, the DFL is the worst option. If Minnesota families want government dictating to them what they can and can’t do, then the DFL is the right choice. If Minnesota families want government ripping them off and putting productive money into a dead fund, then the DFL is the only choice.

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This article sickens me because it’s intellectually dishonest. Baird Helgeson is intent on portraying the DFL as heroic tax cutters. That’s BS. The DFL is the party that taxes first, then waits to see if there’s a backlash. If there’s a backlash, they pass a Tax Repair Bill like they did Friday.

“This is a monumental victory for the DFL leadership in the Legislature and just shows that we have a balanced approach to Minnesota,” Dayton said during a celebratory news conference with DFL House and Senate leaders. “That’s what people wanted.”

Despite Gov. Dayton’s attempt to praise the DFL leadership in the House and Senate, it’s just proof that Gov. Dayton is intent on painting over his criticism of Sen. Bakk earlier this week. Here’s what he said earlier this week:

I’m very disappointed that we have not been able to reach a bill and frankly, we’ve got a meeting this afternoon with House and Senate leaders. I just have to say that the impasse isn’t around the tax bill. It’s about the Legislative Office Building and the Senate’s insistence that they have the building and they aren’t willing to let a reasonable tax bill proceed on a timely basis until they get the building and the House’s unwillingness at this point to agree to that. So I hope that Minnesotans will communicate with their legislators, and these are Democrat legislators, I’m sorry to say, that this is inexcusable and unacceptable.

Which is it, Gov. Dayton? Does Sen. Bakk deserve praise for stalling a bill to pressure the House into approving Bakk’s Palace? Does the DFL deserve praise for passing the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history last year, then repealing a tiny fraction of them this year? Does the DFL deserve praise for raising taxes and fees by $2,400,000,000 last year, then giving $440,000,000 of that back this year?

Minnesotans shouldn’t be happy that the DFL finally listened to them. They shouldn’t be happy that the DFL did the right thing only after the DFL started worrying about this year’s elections. That isn’t representing the people. That’s voting the DFL’s ideology.

It’s proof that the DFL will always do the right thing…when it’s the only option left.

The House and Senate passed the bill overwhelmingly on Friday. Nearly every Republican joined most DFLers in backing it, but GOP members criticized the majority for a provision in the bill that adds $150 million to state budget reserves. That brings the state’s rainy-day fund to more than $800 million, but Republicans said that money should go back to taxpayers too.

Putting that much money into the state’s rainy day fund is criminal. That’s stealing money from businesses that would create jobs with it. The DFL is putting money aside so the DFL won’t have to spend money efficiently. They’d rather pay off their special interest allies with the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. The DFL wouldn’t be able to pay off their special interest allies with taxpayers money if money was spent efficiently. It’s time the DFL stopped feeding their special interest allies and started representing their constituents.

Thus far, the DFL hasn’t proven that they’re interested in doing the right thing the first time. They’ve proven quite the opposite. This week, the DFL proved that they’ll do the right thing only when they’re worried about the next election.

That isn’t leadership. That’s called brinksmanship, which shouldn’t be rewarded with praise. This isn’t tax relief:

Much of the tax relief is delivered by conforming to recent changes in federal tax law, and about $57 million of it is retroactive to taxes paid in 2013.

Typically, tax conformity is the first bill passed by the legislature each year. It’s typically the first bill the governor signs each year. By waiting until after thousands of people have filed their tax returns before passing the tax conformity bill, the DFL just caused taxpayers the headache of filing an amended return. The DFL didn’t give thousands of people the opportunity to do their taxes once. Instead, Sen. Bakk opted to force thousands to file amended returns.

That isn’t cause for celebration. That’s cause for criticism. The DFL, specifically Sen. Bakk, put a high priority on getting the Senate Office Building approved. The DFL, especially Sen. Bakk, didn’t put a high priority on passing what I’m calling the Tax Repair Bill. Sen. Bakk said that the Senate couldn’t be rushed into passing the Tax Repair Bill because they were studying the impacts the tax repeals would have.

Sen. Bakk said that until he was exposed as playing political games with the Tax Repair Bill. Then he went into warp speed.

The GOP deserves praise in this for not supporting the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history. The GOP deserves praise for not buying into the DFL’s counterproductive tax increases. Minnesotans deserve praise for passionately criticizing the DFL’s tax increases.

UPDATE: This video is sickening:

Speaker Thissen spoke about tax relief for possibly 1,000,000 Minnesotans. Sen. Bakk praised the DFL for working at warp speed to get these tax ‘cuts’ passed. Isn’t it interesting that Sen. Bakk conveniently omitted the part about how he tried holding the tax repeals hostage to force the House to approve his Senate Office Building project? He didn’t budge until Gov. Dayton threw him under the bus because the political backlash was threatening a second Dayton term.

Sen. Bakk deserves criticism for playing politics with this Tax Repair Bill. Speaker Thissen and Gov. Dayton deserve criticism for passing the original tax increases which they repealed Friday. The DFL ‘leadership’ deserves criticism for putting a higher priority on voting their ideology than representing their constituents.

The good news is that we can fix two-thirds of the problem this November.

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If someone would’ve told you that the New York chapter of the NAACP and a hardline progressive mayor were siding with the teachers unions in preventing minority students from getting a good education, you’d think it was something from the Onion. Sadly, it isn’t:

On March 17, 19 parents who send their children to Success Academy, a Harlem charter school, filed suit in federal court to stop New York Mayor Bill de Blasio from denying them previously arranged space in a public school building. Without space, their children and 173 others will not be able to continue at Success Academy this fall.

School bullying is a problem nationwide, but in New York the bullies are de Blasio and his pals — state NAACP President Hazel Dukes and teachers unions. Their targets are middle-school kids, 97 percent of them minorities, and 80 percent eligible for lunch assistance.

This shameful behavior is brought to you by the Bigot Wing of the Democratic Party. Don’t confuse these bigots with well-intentioned liberals like Juan Williams. They’re galaxies apart when it comes to education reform.

Juan Williams is fighting for education reforms that give every student the opportunity to live the American Dream. Part of his fight involves limiting teachers unions’ influence on educational opportunities, especially for minorities.

Consider what another Success Academy called Bronx 2 is doing to educate minority students. In that charter school, 97 percent of students passed state exams in mathematics, and 77 percent passed English. In math, the school ranks third in the state, besting schools in well-heeled suburbs. Bronx 2 shares space with a district public school, where kids under the thumb of the union and city bureaucrats, are failing. Only 3 percent passed the state English test. Same building, but a world of difference. Which school is giving kids their civil rights? Not the one Dukes and de Blasio are defending.

I’d love hearing Mayor de Blasio’s explanation on why he’s insisting that minority students’ only educational option is for failing schools. Smart policymakers would notice Bronx 2′s successes and do everything possible to expand those opportunities for minority students. Shouldn’t the NAACP be insisting that minority students be given the opportunity to excel in charter schools.

Instead, they’re being held back. The NAACP and Mayor de Blasio should be ashamed of themselves. Additionally, they should be required to meet face-to-face with these parents and students to explain why they’re being this hard-hearted.

Politically speaking, this is a fantastic opportunity for conservative school choice activists to explain why they’re for expanding choice options. From a human standpoint, it’s the perfect opportunity to explain why expanding educational options is a moral imperative.

Get ready for the bullies. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sued to stop school choice in New Orleans, arguing that it was getting in the way of the federal government’s 1975 court-ordered desegregation plan. When parents protested that they wanted to be the ones choosing their kids’ schools, not the Department of Justice, Holder’s lawyers told the court that parents lacked the standing to make their views known.

If anyone has standing in their child’s education, it’s parents. And parents in New Orleans said that racial balance was less important to them than being able to choose a school that educates their child. Ultimately, Holder had to give up.

Ultimately, this fight is about punching bullies like Eric Holder, Bill de Blasio and the NAACP in the nose. Negotiating with bullies doesn’t work. Inflicting pain does. That’s why the heroes in this fight are the parents and the activists who defiantly stand with them because it’s the right thing to do.

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Rachel Stassen-Berger’s article shows what’s wrong with the legislature:

Unlike House members and Dayton, the Senate is not up for election this year, which may give senators a little less reason to speed measures through their chamber. And as the House is slow-walking its approval of the office building, the Senate is taking its time to approve a politically popular tax cut bill that the House passed and Dayton says is urgently needed.

That’s BS. Whether the Senate is up for re-election or not, passing the bill that repeals the B2B tax increases is important. What’s appalling is the thought that political tactics are more important than doing what’s right to the DFL. Unfortunately, this isn’t that surprising.

While some at the Capitol think the House blockade of the Senate building is at the root of the tension between the two chambers, Bakk shrugged off that idea last week. He said he hadn’t even thought of holding out on other issues to get the building approved. “Everyone knows how I feel. The new building is critical to keeping the renovations of our State Capitol on schedule,” Bakk said.

Again, it’s all about what the politicians want. If a poll was taken of Minnesotans on their priorities for this legislature, building Bakk’s Palace wouldn’t rank in the top 100 of Minnesotans’ priorities. I don’t think it would rank in the top 250 of Minnesotans’ priorities.

In fact, if Minnesotans were asked what’s more important between finishing the Capitol renovation on time ahead or not spending $90,000,000 foolishly, I’m betting they’d pick not spending $90,000,000 foolishly as more important.

If Bakk’s Palace becomes reality, it’ll become a millstone around the DFL’s necks. All of the DFL legislators that voted for the Tax Bill will have voted for B2B tax increases, income tax increases on job creators and Bakk’s Palace. What verdict will voters render on people who raised taxes first, then worried whether raising taxes was good policy later, if at all?

People work hard for their money. The DFL has given taxpayers tons of proof that that isn’t important to them by pissing away money on utterly foolish things. Like Bakk’s Palace.

In 2011, Democrats criticized Republicans for spending $34,000,000,000 on their budget. This year, the DFL passed a budget of $38,400,000,000. That’s $4,400,000,000 more than the GOP budget that they criticized.

Simply put, the DFL’s priorities aren’t Minnesota’s priorities. The DFL’s priorities are determined by what their special interest allies want.

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Thursday, I wrote this post about how Sen. Bakk is playing hardball over the Senate Office Building, which I’ve affectionately renamed Bakk’s Palace for Politicians. In that post, I included Erin Murphy’s quote about the SOB:

“We’re doing our due diligence,” said Murphy of her plans for the bill.

Since the House Rules Committee hasn’t scheduled a hearing to take citizens’ testimony and since they haven’t scheduled a vote on the matter, it isn’t a stretch to think Rep. Murphy is waiting for the spotlight to disappear before they vote to approve construction of Bakk’s Palace. That isn’t too bright.

If Rep. Murphy a) cared about taxpayers and b) was a smart strategist, Rep. Murphy would call Sen. Bakk’s bluff. She’d tell Sen. Bakk that his project was a loser and that it wasn’t happening.

The conventional wisdom is that Sen. Bakk is holding the cards. Technically, that’s true. In reality, he isn’t. If the House Rules Committee torpedoed Bakk’s Palace, what would Sen. Bakk do? Does anyone seriously think he’d torpedo the tax fix bill? I can’t imagine Sen. Bakk would torpedo a bill to raise the minimum wage, either. That’s because that’d be political suicide for Sen. Bakk.

Every DFL special interest group in the state would want to hang Sen. Bakk by his short and curlies if he torpedoed the minimum wage bill. Sen. Bakk might talk tough but he doesn’t have the cajones required to do that.

If the House DFL was smart, they’d call Sen. Bakk’s bluff. I don’t think they’re bright, though, so they’ll continue thinking that Sen. Bakk’s holding a straight flush when he’s really holding a small pair.

The dirty little secret is that the DFL, despite their protestations otherwise, isn’t the party of the little guy. They’re the Special Interests Party. The DFL isn’t the taxpayers’ watchdog. There’s no question but that they spend money foolishly.

I’d love seeing Sen. Bakk say no to the Chamber of Commerce on not repealing the B2B sales taxes that he pushed last spring. The Chamber would undoubtedly lobby the Senate right to the last day of the session if needed. Rest assured that they’d remember that the Senate a) passed those B2B tax increases, and b) didn’t repeal these taxes.

Finally, does anyone think that Sen. Bakk would be the Senate Majority Leader if he doesn’t pass the minimum wage increase bill? He’d be lucky if the DFL’s special interest groups didn’t string him up, proverbially speaking, of course.

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When it comes to being productive in the U.S. Senate, Al Franken is all about hot air:

WASHINGTON (KMSP) – 28 Democratic U.S. senators hit the floor Monday night, leading off a dusk-to-dawn climate change talk-a-thon that wrapped up early Tuesday morning.

Democratic leaders have no intention of bringing a climate bill to the floor this year, so the move is all about bringing attention to the issue. Senate Republicans criticized the “stunt,” saying the legislation would force the elimination of jobs.

According to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, there were 7 weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each in the U.S. last year.

Minnesota senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken both participated in the all-night session. “A number of my colleagues in Congress don’t believe that human activities contribute to climate change,” Franken said.

The good news for Minnesotans is that Sen. Franken wasn’t doing serious damage while talking. The bad news for Minnesota taxpayers is that Franken is mostly about hot air, as in spewing lots of it while currying favor with anti-business environmentalists.

While Sen. Franken was preaching to the environmentalists, Candidate Franken was criticizing private industrialists:

Dear XXXX,

What has four legs, a ton of money, and big plans for Minnesota?

If you answered “the Koch brothers,” you’re good at riddles. Or maybe you’ve just been paying attention. (If you answered “a wealthy giraffe going canoeing in the Boundary Waters,” then points for imagination!)

The Kochs — and their friends in the right-wing attack-o-sphere — are on the attack all across the country. And Minnesota tops the list of places they want to strike next.

Since joining the U.S. Senate, Franken hasn’t hesitated in supporting anti-mining environmentalists. Since joining the U.S. Senate, Franken hasn’t hesitated in criticizing capitalists who create jobs and make life better for Americans.

It isn’t surprising, then, that the economy still hasn’t recovered. When you’re pro-jobs but hate job creators, the outcome is predictable. Minnesota doesn’t need a hot air specialist in the U.S. Senate. (Just to be clear, Minnesota needs more HotAir specialists like Ed Morrissey.) Minnesota needs a proven job creator instead.

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Longtime readers of LFR know that I haven’t hesitated in highlighting how the DFL is the party of special interests. Lately, I’ve intensified my writings about how Democrats are favoring the environmentalists over the unions. That caught the attention of the Lady Logician, who wrote about Bill DeBlasio’s sucker-punching of the unions in this post:

Facing mounting criticism for refusing to even see the horses he proposes banning from the city, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio Thursday finally promised to go and see the animals in their stables.

He also promised that he wouldn’t change his mind about the ban, no matter what he sees there.

In Minnesota, Democrats are siding with militant environmentalists who hope to kill the PolyMet mining project, which would create tons of union jobs. In NYC, uber-liberal Mayor DeBlasio is siding with animal rights activists and militant environmentalists to kill lots of union jobs. In Washington, DC, the administration has dragged its feet on the Keystone XL Pipeline project, siding with environmentalists over the unions’ interests.

Until now, I’ve thought that the Democratic Party was the special interest party. Tonight, I changed my opinion. That’s because I’ve realized that the Democratic Party, in Minnesota and nationally, is owned by militant environmentalists. The only question left to answer is whether unions will continually side with the Democratic Party.

While it’d be a stretch to say that Republicans love all unions, it’s 100% accurate to say that Republicans are siding with mining unions on the PolyMet and Twin Metals projects. Similarly, it’s 100% accurate to say the DFL is tip-toeing through a political minefield while attempting to placate militant environmentalists and the miners’ union.

Honest union workers need to ask themselves why their leadership is constantly selling them out while electing Democratic politicians who talk about how they love unions while stabbing unions in the back. While they’re asking that question, they should ask themselves why they aren’t voting for pro-mining Republicans in Minnesota and pro-union jobs on the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Finally, the unions should ask themselves why they’re supporting Democrats that only pay “working families” lip service. It’s time these unions figured it out that today’s Democratic Party is pro-government unions, not private sector unions.

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After reading this article, I’m wondering if I’m living the United States or in the former Soviet Union. Seriously, does anyone think that governments should be able to use eminent domain to take private property from a family to build biking hiking trails? That’s what Dakota County is attempting to do:

The county is seeking a “quick-take” condemnation, effectively a compelled sale, of four parcels of land in the park reserve, offering a total of about $2 million.

County commissioners voted in November to take the land, saying the properties are a key part of a planned trail and other features.

What’s more important: private property rights or giving government to take any piece of land to do with it whatever it wants to do? This is stealing. What’s especially appalling is the taking of the land to build biking and hiking trails. What’s worse is that Dakota County is attempting to steal this private property for a questionable project while offering the property owners settlements at far less than fair market value:

Aho said the county hasn’t shown enough progress on other planned improvements besides the trail to demonstrate a need for condemnation.

She also said the county’s offer for the land, $370,000, “drastically undervalued” assets like a marina and 1,000-plus feet of lakeshore.

After WWII, eminent domain was used to buy the land needed to build the interstate highway or other high priority pieces of infrastructure that led to great increases of wealth and prosperity to the masses. Since Kelo v. New London, eminent domain has been used to take property from private property owners and give it to government so it can create parks or bike trails.

What’s upsetting to me is that Dakota County thinks that the perceived wishes of the many are more important than the rights of the individual. They aren’t. First, the community’s wish list shouldn’t rate as a higher priority than a private property landowner’s rights. The thought that the landowner’s rights are getting set aside is disturbing enough. The thought that they’re getting set aside for something as frivolous as a community park is especially upsetting.

Next, it’s worth noting that special interest organizations are likely behind this taking. County commissioners don’t just wake up one morning and say to themselves ‘Hey, let’s create a new park.’ It isn’t a stretch to think that they’re approached by special interest organizations who have an agenda but who don’t live near the proposed takings.

Finally, check out the government’s arrogance:

“There’s a great need for this,” commissioner Kathleen Gaylord said at the meeting. “We do need to move forward. The board has come to the conclusion that it is time to move forward. This is a needed piece of property in order to complete our trail in the Spring Lake Park area and to provide the access to the park that our master plan has envisioned for decades. We’re just coming to the head now. It’s time to move forward.”

The board’s conclusion. The commissioners’ needs. The project’s vision. What’s appalling is that Kathy Gaylord and 5 other commissioners put the government’s wish list ahead of the private property owner’s rights. Apparently, Kathy Gaylord and the other slugs who voted to take this land don’t care about these families’ rights.

Anytime that government puts a higher priority on their projects than they put on individuals’ rights, our nation moves closer to authoritarian rule. That isn’t who we are as a nation.

We The People should reject this type of tyrannical government ASAP.

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