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Former DFL legislators on Friday night’s Almanac Roundtable panel exemplified the best definition of DFL shovel-ready jobs. I’m betting they didn’t notice but Ember Reichgott-Junge and Mindy Greiling talked themselves into circles, thanks in large part to Amy Koch’s spot on analysis of the state of Minnesota’s economy.

Sen. Koch rightly highlighted the fact that, while Minnesota’s unemployment rate was low, Minnesota’s economy was still underperforming. Prior to her observation, Ms. Reichgott-Junge talked about how Minnesota’s economy was strong and that the unemployment rate was lower than the national average.

That’s when Sen. Koch said that, despite the low unemployment rate, people aren’t feeling good about the recovery because many Minnesotans are working 2 jobs and their wages don’t equal what they used to make. Sen. Koch then talked about the woman with an MBA working “as a barista at Starbucks” isn’t feeling the recovery. She said that, “while being a barista is a fine job”, the woman with the MBA would rather be working in her area of expertise.

At that moment, Rep. Greiling jumped in, saying that “that’s why I think Democrats will get credit for raising the minimum wage.” She explained that people will be grateful for getting a pay raise so they can pay their bills.

Summarizing this exchange up, Ms. Reichgott-Junge insisted that Minnesota’s economy is going gangbusters even though women with MBAs are working a part-time job at half the wages they made when they were working in their career path. Never fear, said Rep. Greiling. Those women should be greatful that these women with MBAs who used to make $25/hr. who had to accept a job paying $7.25/hr. are now making $8.00/hr.

Nothing says recovery like getting a 75-cent/hr. pay hike at a part-time job after making $25/hr. in a full-time job in your career field.

Sen. Reichgott-Junge insists that Minnesota’s economy is a source of pride for the DFL, then Rep. Greiling chips in by saying that people that got displaced from their high-paying, full-time jobs can now find part-time work that pays them the new minimum wage.

Give these DFLers credit. They brought their shovels to the set Friday night. They were prepared to spread the DFL’s bullshit of economic prosperity no matter how many circles they talked themselves into.

The reality is that the Dayton-DFL economy is flailing and failing. It’s ‘working’ in the Twin Cities because 21,523 new government jobs are mostly located there. It’s failing in outstate Minnesota, where job creation has been minimal, if not non-existent.

Why shouldn’t voters in Alexandria, Brainerd, Willmar, Redwood Falls, Park Rapids, Bemidji, Thief River Falls, Moorhead and the Iron Range vote against the DFL? They aren’t better off now than they were 4 years ago. In fact, Iron Rangers are significantly worse off now, thanks mostly to the environmental activist wing of the DFL.

It’s time for Republicans to start talking about the DFL’s economic failures. It’s time they started highlighting the fact that Minnesota’s economy is stagnating. The Dayton-DFL deficit is a matter of when, not if.

The Dayton-DFL policies are hurting private sector, outstate job creation. The Twin Cities are doing ok but the rest of the state is hurting. Apparently, that’s how Gov. Dayton and the DFL measure success.

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When I wrote this post, I wrote it to highlight the tactics Democrats use to steal elections. In the first post, I focused on the things the local Democratic Party is doing.

Unfortunately, this isn’t just happening at the state level. It’s happening at the federal level, too:

NOM said that an investigation revealed that its 2008 tax return and list of major donors was released to Matthew Meisel, a gay activist in Boston, MA. Email correspondence from Meisel revealed that he told a colleague that he had “a conduit” to obtain NOM’s confidential information. While testifying under oath in a deposition in the litigation, Meisel invoked the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination and refused to disclose the identity of his conduit. Documents obtained during the litigation prove that Meisel then provided NOM’s tax data to the Human Rights Campaign (whose president was a national Co-Chair of the Obama Reelection Campaign). The information was also published by the Huffington Post.

The weaponization of government by Democrats can’t be denied. In Wisconsin, John Chisholm, the Milwaukee County Attorney, opened a John Doe investigation into something that isn’t a crime in a blatant political move to scuff up Scott Walker in the hope that he’d either lose his re-election bid or that he’d be damaged goods if he wanted to run for governor.

In Minnesota, 13 DFL candidates for the Minnesota state senate coordinated their mailings with the DFL Senate Campaign Committee in an attempt to steal the Senate majority. When 11 DFL candidates got elected, the DFL Senate Caucus wrote a $100,000 check.

Nationally, the IRS sent the Human Rights Council, an issue advocacy organization, confidential IRS filings from the National Organization for Marriage, aka NOM, that listed NOM’s contributors. That’s been prohibited since the US Supreme Court issued its ruling on the NAACP v. Alabama lawsuit on June 30, 1958.

The point of this is to show the Democrats’ disdain for the rule of law, long-settled Supreme Court rulings and the Bill of Rights. If these things are standing between Democrats and election victories, then it’s predictable that Democrats will ignore the rule of law, the Bill of Rights and US Supreme Court rulings.

If I wanted to summarize this with a bit of snark, I’d say that the Democrats’ method of operation is this: Win if you can, lose if you must but always cheat. In the Democrats’ minds, it isn’t really cheating if its for the greater good.

I know that lefties’ heads will explode when they hear this but that’s their problem. These are just some of the most recent incidents when the left just threw the rules out the window. This isn’t a comprehensive list by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s barely the tip of the iceberg.

These days, the Democrats’ defining priority is winning at all cost. If that means lying, fine. If that means breaking well-established laws, that’s ok. If that means intimidating people out of participating in the political process, Democrats don’t have a problem with that.

Democrats won’t hesitate in cheating if it helps them win elections. The only question I have is this: when did Democrats stop caring about the rule of law?

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Yestedray, I wrote this post to highlight Gov. Dayton’s juvenile jab at North Dakota. Here’s what he said that caught my attention:

“Every night I dream before I go to sleep of mobilizing the National Guard and annexing North Dakota.” He then quickly followed that statement by saying he’d just been interested in annexing the part of the state will oil, “They can have the rest of it.”

Apparently, North Dakotans don’t care about Gov. Dayton’s juvenile statement. This Gallup poll is telling. This graphic is exceptionally telling:

Gov. Dayton and the DFL should study this graphic before making another childish statement:

North Dakotans are not just satisfied with their economy, however. Across the 50 states, North Dakotans are the most likely to rate their K-12 education as excellent or good, to agree that their schools prepare students to get a good job, and to be satisfied with the education system or schools overall.

I can hear Gov. Dayton, the DFL and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota screaming that this can’t be. In Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s minds, Minnesota is the education state in the Upper Midwest.

What’s most telling, though, is that Dakotans think their air quality is great. The percentage of people that said they were satisfied with their air quality was the highest in the nation. The percentage of people who said that they were satisfied with their water quality was above average nationally.

Gov. Dayton and the metrocentric DFL should take a look at this:

“Oil is a very thick frosting on a very nicely baked cake,” Peterson says. Oil had been found in North Dakota before, but Dalrymple, Peterson, and Al Anderson, North Dakota state commerce commissioner, agree that the volume and velocity of the boom was unexpected. Dalrymple says there were 200,000 barrels a day in 2009, compared with 1 million barrels a day now.

“The rapid evolution of the oil industry was not foreseen,” says Anderson. “We had seen oil booms come and go but now the technology has changed,” Peterson says. “We didn’t realize how much oil was in the ground. We found ways to extract oil that we could never expect.”

In addition to oil, success in agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism are contributing factors to North Dakota’s having the lowest unemployment in the U.S. for the past four years. The state has added 116,000 jobs since 2000, a job-growth increase of 35.6%. Net migration in the state is up 12.7% since 2000. This onrush of new jobs and workers has strained the housing market. North Dakota residents are fully aware of this, as 61% say they are satisfied with the availability of affordable housing in their state, one of the lowest in the nation.

Gov. Dayton and the DFL insist that North Dakota’s economic boom is tied to the Bakken boom. There’s no denying that it’s a huge factor in North Dakota’s economic success. Still, there’s no denying the fact that manufacturing and agriculture play a big role in North Dakota’s economic boom time.

At a time when Gov. Dayton and the DFL are trying to make Minnesota’s economy more metrocentric, they should be looking at the success our neighbors to the west are experiencing.

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Gov. Dayton’s dreaming is interesting:

During a rail safety meeting in Red Wing last week, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton said Minnesota does not enjoy much economic benefit from the trains carrying highly volatile crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region.

That led the governor at one point to joke, “Every night I dream before I go to sleep of mobilizing the National Guard and annexing North Dakota.”

He then quickly followed that statement by saying he’d just been interested in annexing the part of the state will oil, “They can have the rest of it.” That generated plenty of laughter among the audience gathered at the Red Wing Public Library.

“But,” Dayton added, “that’s obviously not an option.”— Heather J. Carlson

It’s interesting that Gov. Dayton brought up North Dakota’s oil because Minnesota is sitting on a different economic goldmine. While it’s true the PolyMet and Twin Metals projects won’t have the economic impact that the Bakken will have, there’s no question those mining projects would positively impact Minnesota’s economy for a generation.

The great news is that we don’t have to annex the land where the PolyMet and Twin Metals projects would be built. The bad news is that we’ve got Gov. Dayton kowtowing to the environmental activists. Developing those mines would be fantastic.

My personal dream is to develop those mines while jettisoning Gov. Dayton and the environmental activists. I know that it isn’t possible to get rid of the environmental activists but it’s quite possible to replace Gov. Dayton with Gov.-Elect Johnson.

The thing is that it isn’t possible to develop mining if Gov. Dayton is re-elected.

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David Strom’s op-ed highlights the fact that Minnesota’s economy isn’t as strong as Gov. Dayton and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota have said it is:

Just a few years ago, more than 75 percent of adults in Minnesota were in the workforce. Now that number is 70.1 percent—yet that 5 percentage-point difference isn’t actually counted in the unemployment number, because unemployment only measures people “in the workforce.”

That’s thousands of people who fall into the category of “discouraged worker;” you and I probably think of them as having given up looking for work.

Gov. Dayton’s quote about Minnesota’s economy is utterly dishonest:

“The economy is improving and growing rapidly.”

Either Gov. Dayton isn’t honest or his grip on reality isn’t that tight. An economy can’t be “growing rapidly” when tens of thousands of people have given up looking for work. Rapidly growing economies are characterized by people jumping into the workforce:

Workforce participation peaked in the Clinton years, and slowly drifted down post 9/11. Finally, in 2006 it started rising again, as the economy recovered until the crash.

Since then, it has plummeted, and is still declining.

When an economy is really booming, the workforce expands because opportunity is out there. We simply aren’t seeing that, and people aren’t feeling it either.

There’s no doubt that Gov. Dayton and ABM will continue their mantra that Minnesota’s economy is getting stronger each day Gov. Dayton is in office. That it isn’t growing rapidly isn’t their concern because they aren’t worried about telling the truth. They’re only worried about getting Gov. Dayton re-elected.

There are other warning signs we should be paying attention to: tax revenues have come in under projections in 5 of the past 6 months, signaling that the economy isn’t doing as well as economists predicted. Much of that shortfall is due to poor income tax collections, indicating that people aren’t making as much money.

There’s little doubt that we’re heading for a significant deficit. The only question is how we’ll choose to fix it. Gov. Dayton raised taxes on “the rich” in 2013, which means he can’t raise their taxes again without cratering Minnesota’s economy. The DFL won’t cut spending, either, which means Gov. Dayton and the DFL will deplete the state’s Rainy Day Fund. Once they’ve depleted the Rainy Day Fund, which seems inevitable, then it’ll be a matter of whether Gov. Dayton and the DFL will raise taxes on the middle class.

Mark Dayton risks looking out of touch if he touts the Minnesota economy too much. Hardly anyone thinks things are “booming” right now, unless you count the people striking out for the Bakken oil fields. Most of us, in fact, feel like we are just hanging on, thankful for the job we have, and worried that it might not be there this time next year.

The other people that think Minnesota’s economy is booming are the 21,523 people who’ve been hired by the government. If you’re looking for work in the government, then St. Paul or DC is the place to be. If you want private sector work, however, Minnesota isn’t that great.

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Brian Bakst’s AP article contains this quote, which proves Gov. Dayton will lie if that’s what he thinks he needs to get elected:

Dayton sees it as “an indication of how desperate the Republicans are to find something to complain about because they know the economy is improving and growing rapidly.”

Gov. Dayton’s statement is, at minimum, fiction. At most, it’s an outright lie. If Minnesota’s economy is “growing rapidly”, as Gov. Dayton insists, why haven’t revenues met projections 5 of the last 6 months? If Minnesota’s economy is “growing rapidly,” why did revenues fall 6.6% short of projections last month?

There’s little doubt in my mind that Gov. Dayton will continue repeating that fiction the rest of the campaign. He isn’t worried that the media will question his statement. Brian Bakst certainly didn’t question Gov. Dayton’s statement. I haven’t seen other reporters question the Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s latest video that insists that Minnesota is working, either.

Let’s be blunt about this. Gov. Dayton hasn’t hesitated in insisting that Minnesota’s economy is doing well. ABM hasn’t hesitated in insisting that life under Gov. Dayton is a return to the DFL’s glory days. The Twin Cities media hasn’t questioned the voracity of Gov. Dayton’s statements or ABM’s lies.

ABM won’t say anything about the fact that DEED just announced the fact that Minnesota’s economy just lost 7,800 in the last jobs report. DEED reported that Minnesota’s economy shrunk by 4,200 jobs in July and that they’d overestimated the number of jobs created in June by 3,600.

Gov. Dayton certainly won’t talk about the verifie fact that Minnesota’s economy has create a pathetic 2,900 jobs thus far this year. Why would he when he knows that ABM will lie for him and the Twin Cities media won’t question him?

If Republicans don’t start questioning the media, Gov. Dayton and ABM, they’ll lose this highly winnable election. When I say Republicans, that’s everyone from Keith Downey to Jeff Johnson and Bill Quisle to legislative candidates like Dale Lueck and Jim Knoblach to the activists working to win over voters, then getting them to vote for Republicans.

“The Republicans are right in saying the economy still looks dismal relative to reasonable expectations,” Chari said. “The Democrats are also right in saying there’s only a limited amount in what a governor of a relatively small state can do when faced with headwinds this strong.”

Actually, this graphic says that a governor’s policies can have a rather dramatic impact on the economy:

That graphic is proof that job creation tanked after the Dayton-DFL tax increase went into effect. That graphic verifies as fact that Minnesota’s economy has created few jobs this year. While jobs were created by the hundreds when Republicans had the majority in the House and Senate, jobs are being create by the dozens since the Dayton-DFL tax increases took effect. In fact, Minnesota had negative job growth last month.

It isn’t surprising that Gov. Dayton and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota is telling whoppers about the state of the state’s economy. It’s up to Jeff Johnson and the Republican Party of Minnesota to swat down Gov. Dayton’s and ABM’s myths.

The statistics are there. All we have to do is tell the truth.

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Friday night at the Great Minnesota Get Together, Larry Jacobs offered his predictable commentary on the various races throughout most of the Almanac Roundtable. Then Prof. Jacobs said something so ridiculous that it must be challenged. Here’s what he said that’s questionable:

But, within the states, such as gubernatorial races, the dynamics are a little different. For instance, in Minnesota, the economy is doing very well. People feel much more optimistic than they do nationally and that’s probably going to create a little different dynamic.

It’s insulting to hear a person who’s one of the go-to political gurus in Minnesota say something that assinine. I’m tempted to start a petition telling Prof. Jacobs that there’s more to political punditry than regurgitating the DFL’s chanting points.

Further, later this weekend, I’m going to send Prof. Jacobs an email telling him that he isn’t helping his credibility to ignore DEED’s (Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development) monthly jobs reports, which he’s obviously doing. If he’d been reading those reports, he’d notice a couple things that won’t help Gov. Dayton.

First, DEED’s latest jobs report showed that a) Minnesota’s economy shed 4,200 jobs in July and b) DEED revised June’s jobs report downward by 3,600 jobs. Next, if Prof. Jacobs had paid attention, he’d see that Minnesota’s economy created a wimpy 2,900 total jobs thus far this year.

HINT TO PROF. JACOBS: Creating dozens of jobs a month isn’t proof of the economy “doing very well.” In most parts of the state, that’s considered rather pathetic.

Had Prof. Jacobs looked at the top 5 cities in terms of job creation for the past 12 months, the Twin Cities led the way with 46,339 jobs create, followed by St. Cloud with 2,894 jobs, then several cities with 1,000-1,200 jobs created each.

That means cities like Alexandria, Brainerd, Fairmont, Little Falls, Moorhead, Owatonna, Redwood Falls and Thief River Falls and regions like the Iron Range essentially didn’t experience job growth. Doesn’t Prof. Jacobs think that those cities and regions should have prospering economies? If not, why not?

I get it that most nonagricultural jobs are in the Twin Cities. I’ll stipulate that it’s probably been that way since the Perpich administration left office. I won’t stipulate, however, that that’s the right economic model for Minnesota. It isn’t right that Gov. Dayton’s economic policies haven’t created economic opportunities in outstate Minnesota.

Prof. Jacobs has spent too much time in Minneapolis. It’s time he started paying attention to cities outside the Twin Cities. Those cities deserve economic prosperity, too.

Yes, I was being sarcastic when I asked if Prof. Jacobs was a DFL operative. Still, I’ll start respecting Prof. Jacobs more when Prof. Jacobs starts paying attention to the world outside the Twin Cities on a consistent basis.

Minnesota’s economy isn’t “doing very well.” It’s time that the Twin Cities pundits figured that out.

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When it was first launched, Democrats praised MNsure, Gov. Dayton’s health insurance exchange. If Democrats are smart, which is still open to debate, Democrats should run from the issue. A pair of stories, this story from CBS and this story from KSTP, show that MNsure is a disaster:

More than 3,700 people in Minnesota are waiting for changes to be made to their health insurance. They purchased private health insurance through the state health exchange known as MNsure. The enrollment period for health insurance ended in April, but people can change or add to their plans if they qualify for “Life Events.”

As disgusting as that is, this is worse:

MNsure officials tell us about 350 people are waiting to add a person to their coverage. They say most of the cases involve things like an address change.

With MNsure closing approximately 100 cases per day, MNsure should get caught up with that backlog by October, which is just in time for the premium increases. On a serious note, though, MNsure has taken months to do what it took agents to do in minutes. Changing a person’s address shouldn’t take months. Adding a newborn baby to a policy shouldn’t take months.

Minnesotans spent $160,000,000 on a website that can’t even make routine changes. This represents a major step back in health insurance. This isn’t just working out a few flaws. MNsure has been riddled with difficulties since its launch. The biggest thing is that most of MNsure’s difficulties are inexcusable.

The things that they’re talking about in these stories should be routine. They should be routine because they were routine prior to the ACA.

Gov. Dayton insisted that Minnesota establish a health insurance exchange. Now that it’s a disaster, Gov. Dayton and the DFL should be judged on MNsure’s pathetic performance.

Minnesota’s economy just took a major hit when it lost 4,200 jobs in July. With MNsure now qualifying as a disaster, too, the biggest items on Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s agendas should be considered failures.

That’s why Gov. Dayton’s competence should be questioned. At this point, the verifiable facts say that he’s a failure.

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While it’s guaranteed that Mark Dayton and Jeff Johnson will debate, it’s equally true that Gov. Dayton is ducking high-profile debates. Eventually, that will turn into a dilemma for Gov. Dayton and the DFL.

While it’s predictable that Gov. Dayton doesn’t want to debate Jeff Johnson at the State Fair just a week after a terrible jobs report, that doesn’t mean that he’ll be able to dodge the subject of Minnesota’s slumping economy forever.

While the Alliance for a Better Minnesota produces videos touting the fictional blessings of Gov. Dayton’s policies, last month’s jobs report proves that Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s policies are failing.

Thus far this year, Minnesota’s economy has created a pathetic 2,900 jobs. That’s an average of 414 jobs created per month.

Let’s look beyond raw job creation figures, though. Let’s specifically look at the July jobs report. That report shows that Minnesota’s economy lost 4,200 jobs in July and that June’s jobs totals were revised downward by 3,600 jobs.

June’s and July’s job creation figures are, at minimum, disturbing, especially after the weak job growth to start 2014. By the time Gov. Dayton finally agrees to debate, it’ll be apparent that Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s economic policies are failing.

By mid-September, Gov. Dayton’s campaign will be peril. Bloggers like myself, Mitch Berg and Bill Glahn will have had the time to talk about the sluggish economy in outstate Minnesota. By that time, the MNGOP will have highlighted how metro-centric Gov. Dayton’s policies are.

The Dayton debate-ducking dilemma is that it gives Republicans the opportunity to highlight Gov. Dayton’s mistakes. It’s giving the GOP time to say that the decisions made by the all-DFL state government have produce pathetic job growth. It gives Republicans the time to highlight the all-Twin Cities DFL ticket.

Most importantly, it gives Republicans the time to plant seeds of doubt with suburban, exurban and rural voters about a) Gov. Dayton’s competence and b) Gov. Dayton’s disinterest in outstate Minnesota.

When Gov. Dayton finally takes the debate stage, there will be lots of pressure on him to convince voters that he’s the right man to lead Minnesota the next 4 years. While Gov. Dayton is a likable fellow, he’s shown flashes of ineptitude, too.

While there’s a short-term gain for Team Dayton for ducking the State Fair debates, there’s a ton of downside for the Dayton campaign. Republicans will have plenty of time to give people the facts about Gov. Dayton’s mishandling of Minnesota’s economy.

In the end, that’s the thing Gov. Dayton should be most worried about.

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This summer, Gov. Dayton, the DFL and ABM (pardon the repetition) have talked up Minnesota’s economy well beyond reality. As part of their schtick, they’ve talked about how they’ve solved Minnesota’s deficits. They’ve done nothing of the sort.

Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL legislature’s appetite for spending is never satisfied. The gap between more and enough never closes. Whatever they’ve spent isn’t quite enough.

Last month’s revenues came in significantly short of the projection. It came in $69,000,000 short of the projection. That represents a 6.6% shortfall. Further, revenues have fallen short of projections 5 of the last 6 months, with July’s shortfall being the biggest shortfall thus far.

While this doesn’t prove that Minnesota is headed for a recession, it means that we’re likely heading for another significant deficit. With the likelihood of another deficit increasing with each revenue shortfall, the question then becomes how Gov. Dayton and the DFL would fix the deficit.

History often serves as a guide. In February, 2007, Minnesota had a $2,200,000,000 surplus. The Rainy Day Fund was full. The DFL legislature spent every penny of the surplus. When the economy slowed, the DFL spent down the Rainy Day Fund.

With revenues falling short of projection and with Minnesota’s economy shedding 4,200 jobs in July (plus revising June’s job numbers down by 3,600), there’s no question a significant deficit is on its way. The only questions left are a) how big will the deficit be and b) how soon will Gov. Dayton and the DFL admit that their budget didn’t fix the deficit.

This has ramifications beyond Minnesota’s economy, too. Gov. Dayton and the DFL have an incentive for not admitting that their policies have failed. If these economic figures got out during a gubernatorial debate at the Great Minnesota Get Together, Gov. Dayton and the DFL would be put on the defensive by Minnesotans.

I hope that Jeff Johnson highlights these economic statistics in his stump speech. If he starts highlighting the fact that Gov. Dayton’s tax increases have led to shrinking revenues and job cuts, he’ll paint Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature into a corner.

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