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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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First, I’ll stipulate that Newt Gingrich is a flawed man who’s paid a hefty price for his mistakes. Next, I’ll state what I emphatically believe: that Newt Gingrich the visionary isn’t just the right tonic for what’s ailing the GOP. He’s the perfect strategist to lead Republicans to victory. Newt’s speech at CPAC this year is a perfect illustration of what I’m talking about:

The reason why Newt’s got the right strategy is because his speeches aren’t about politics. They’re about improving life with a political twist. Check out this part of Newt’s speech:

NEWT: We must stop being the opposition movement. We must become the alternative government movement that will help make the life of every American better so that they would understand what we would do that we would do right, not just what the left is doing wrong.

The biggest thing that conservatives can do to guarantee the best shot at victories this fall is telling the American people that a) we’re the solutions party and b) we trust families and small businesses to make great decisions.

That necessarily means trusting people with lots of options. If we trust families, we should be the party whose health care reform legislation gives families tons of options to fit their families’ needs. By doing that, Republicans will highlight the difference between Harry Reid’s and Al Franken’s one-size-fits-all plan, aka the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and Republicans’ legislation that trusts families.

That’s a perfect segue into another major point in Newt’s speech:

The smartphone will be the leading public health device of the 21st Century. It’ll be the leading learing device. It’ll be the leading management tool. Congressman Dr. Michael Burgess has a smartphone that has 8 medical applications on it. He can do an electrocardiogram with his smartphone. Now the Food and Drug Administration, seeing the dramatic rise in applications that improve your health, now wants to take over approving applications for smartphones.

Now if you want to see a fight where we can be on the side of young Americans and the left is hopeless, you just go out to any college campus and you say ‘how would you like Washington bureaucrats slowing down the number of new applications you can get, most of them, by the way, are free’?

The party of excessive government can’t control its appetite for controlling people’s lives. Young people naturally love lots of options. In that fight, Democrats lose bigtime.

If Republicans become the party that trusts small businesses to innovate and make families’ lives better, they’ll win decisively because people of all demographic backgrounds will want what we’re selling.

If conservatives return to Reagan’s and Kemp’s and Thatcher’s belief that great ideas that make families’ lives better also makes for great politics, then conservatives will win decisively.

The point isn’t about sounding more conservative or more moderate. It’s about who has great ideas. I’m not advocating for moderation. I’m advocating that makes families’ lives better through entrepreneurship and innovation. Conservatives will jump all over that because it’s from the private sector. Apolitical people will jump all over it because their lives will be improved by the innovations that’s only possible through entrepreneurship.

Watch Newt’s entire speech if you want to see how to win the future. You’ll want to hear Newt’s connecting the dots between the Bakken and defeating Putin. Newt’s speech isn’t getting the buzz like others’ speeches. It’s just the blueprint that’ll make the GOP the dominant party again.

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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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Thursday, Cleta Mitchell testified that the IRS scandal is real and that the investigation is a sham:

I wholeheartedly agree. During her testimony, Ms. Mitchell delivered this devastating information:

When Lois Lerner and President Obama accused line agents in Cincinnati of being responsible, ladies and gentlemen, that is a lie and I knew when Lois Lerner said that in May of 2010, when she admitted it was happening, after we knew it was happening — we knew we were being targeted — it’s just that she admitted it. But I knew it hadn’t happened in Cincinnati because the first time I became aware of this, another group I represent filed for tax exempt status in 2009. And besides cashing our check for our filing fee, we did not hear from the IRS again until June of 2010. And we didn’t hear from Cincinnati. We heard from Washington.

Ms. Mitchell was a one-woman Cat-4 hurricane yesterday. Unfortunately for Democrats, she wasn’t done with that refutation of the Democrats’ chanting points:

This group did one thing, one thing only. For all of the fall of 2009 until the spring of 2010, it lobbied against Obamacare, something that it is allowed to do 100% of the time. We did not get the tax exempt status for that organization until July of 2013.

Ms. Mitchell’s law firm is one of the top law firms in the nation. They didn’t get that reputation by being sloppy. Their record-keeping is meticulous. For the Democrats to insist that this is a sideshow and that the scandal is phony is belied by these documents. It’s real. It’s chilling political speech. That’s the Chicago Machine’s way.

The IRS is picking up where the FEC was told it couldn’t go in Citizens United v. the FEC. The IRS is using the FEC’s definitions in its rulemaking to stifle political speech.

Watch the entire video. It’s riveting TV. In fact, I’d recommend watching Catherine Engelbrecht’s opening statement, too:

I’m thankful that citizens like Cleta Mitchell and Catherine Engelbrecht have stepped forward rather than being silenced. They’re the personification of American patriots.

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This Peggy Noonan article dovetails nicely with Glenn Reynolds’ excellent column about “Irish Democracy”, which I wrote about in this post. First, here’s Dr. Reynolds’ explanation of the foundation of Irish Democracy:

In his excellent book, Two Cheers For Anarchism, Professor James Scott writes:

One need not have an actual conspiracy to achieve the practical effects of a conspiracy. More regimes have been brought, piecemeal, to their knees by what was once called ‘Irish Democracy,’ the silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal, and truculence of millions of ordinary people, than by revolutionary vanguards or rioting mobs.

Simply put, people refusing to buy insurance through the Anything But Affordable Care Act’s exchanges are putting the ABACA in impossible financial straights. This was made necessary when Senate Democrats and this administration wouldn’t listen to the American people. In Ms. Noonan’s opinion, they still aren’t listening:

As the president made his jaunty claims and the senators and congressmen responded semirapturously I kept thinking of four words: Meanwhile, back in America…

Meanwhile, back in America, the Little Sisters of the Poor were preparing their legal briefs. The Roman Catholic order of nuns first came to America in 1868 and were welcomed in every city they entered. They now run about 30 homes for the needy across the country. They have, quite cruelly, been told they must comply with the ObamaCare mandate that all insurance coverage include contraceptives, sterilization procedures, morning-after pills. If they don’t—and of course they can’t, being Catholic, and nuns—they will face ruinous fines.

In this instance, it isn’t just that the Obama administration isn’t listening to the American people. It’s that they’re ignoring the Constitution, too. That’s before considering the fact that this administration made exceptions to the ABACA for its well-connected friends.

The message sent to the nation is exceptionally straightforward: Well-connected friends of Barack Obama get special privileges. People whom this President despises get the shaft. (That’s right. I didn’t forget about the bitter clingers.) President Obama’s disdain for blue collar people isn’t news. It’s just disgusting. That’s why people have turned their back on him.

Meanwhile, back in America…

Meanwhile, back in America, conservatives targeted and harassed by the Internal Revenue Service still await answers on their years-long requests for tax exempt status. When news of the IRS targeting broke last spring, agency officials lied about it, and one took the Fifth. The president said he was outraged, had no idea, read about it in the papers, boy was he going to get to the bottom of it. An investigation was announced but somehow never quite materialized.

If ever there was something that got the masses fuming, it should be the thought of a politically ruthless administration using the IRS as a weapon to eliminate its political enemies. And yes, this administration has used the IRS as a weapon against TEA Party activists and other conservative organizations.

In less than 3 years, we’ll have the opportunity to wipe the memories of this administration from our memory. It’s imperative that we accomplish that. It’s imperative that we elect someone that will listen to the American people. That means electing a pro-reform governor that respects the Constitution, preferably Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich or Mike Pence.

I didn’t include Jeb Bush or Christie in that bunch. They don’t respect the Constitution. People want politicians that don’t think of themselves as being above the Constitution or the rule of law. Bush supports Common Core, which wants to strip away local control of education. That’s certainly anti-constitutional. Christie supports gun control, something totally at odds with the Constitution.

It’s time we elected a president that’s run things and accomplished things that’ve helped families. Bobby Jindal fits that description. While campaigning, he listened to parents who hated the education options their children had. That’s why he pushed for school choice. Thanks to his listening, school choice legislation was signed into law in Louisiana.

John Kasich fits that description. He fought for the same union reforms that Scott Walker did. He also cut taxes while eliminating Ohio’s deficit. Thanks to Gov. Kasich’s popular pro-growth agenda, Ohio is headed in the right direction.

Scott Walker listened to Wisconsinites’ cries for lower property taxes. He pushed union reforms that stripped them of the right to hold school districts hostage by saying that they had to buy health insurance through the teachers union’s insurance company. As a direct result, health insurance costs to school districts dropped dramatically…until the ABACA was semi-implemented.

Whether you call it the TEA Party movement, Irish Democracy or whether it’s just doing what President Reagan believed in, it’s time for conservatives to elect someone that actually wants the people to decide what’s best for them. We don’t need another administration that thinks it’s supremely qualified to tell families what’s best for them.

I hate disagreeing with George Will and Charles Krauthammer because they’re such intelligent people. Still, that’s what I have to do because, last night, I loved watching Cathy McMorris-Rodgers’ response to President Obama’s depressing SOTU Address. Here’s the first highlight of Rep. McMorris-Rodgers’ speech:

Tonight the President made more promises that sound good, but won’t solve the problems actually facing Americans. We want you to have a better life. The President wants that too. But we part ways when it comes to how to make that happen. So tonight I’d like to share a more hopeful, Republican vision…

One that empowers you, not the government…It’s one that champions free markets — and trusts people to make their own decisions, not a government that decides for you. It helps working families rise above the limits of poverty and protects our most vulnerable.

This is a beautiful explanation of why Republicans believe what they believe. Absent were apologies or tip-toeing so Republicans don’t offend liberals. It was just old-fashioned optimism based on the ability of families to “make their own decisions.” Thankfully, Rep. McMorris-Rodgers’ speech wasn’t a laundry list of conservative proposals. This had the feel of a chat at the dinner table. That said, idealism was an integral part of the speech:

The chance to go from my Washington to this one was unexpected.

I came to Congress to help empower people, not politicians, to grow the working middle class, not the government and to ensure that everyone in this country can find a job. Because a job is so much more than just a paycheck; it gives us purpose, dignity, and the foundation to build a future.

While I watched Rep. McMorris-Rodgers’ rebuttal to President Obama’s SOTU Address, I thought it was sad that President Obama couldn’t sincerely tout these principles. President Obama talks about empowering individuals but only within the context of government first making things possible.

While the speech was idealistic, it also sent the message to Democrats that Republicans won’t put up with Democrats’ policies of decline:

Because our mission, not only as Republicans, but as Americans, is to once again to ensure that we are not bound by where we come from, but empowered by what we can become.

That is the gap Republicans are working to close. It’s the gap we all face: between where you are and where you want to be. The President talks a lot about income inequality. But the real gap we face today is one of opportunity inequality…And with this Administration’s policies, that gap has become far too wide.

We see this gap growing every single day. We see it in our neighbors who are struggling to find jobs…a husband who’s now working just part-time…A child who drops out of college because she can’t afford tuition or parents who are outliving their life’s savings.

Last month, more Americans stopped looking for a job than found one. Too many people are falling further and further behind because, right now, the President’s policies are making people’s lives harder.

The great thing about Rep. McMorris-Rodgers’ speech is that it wasn’t negative. It’s that she offered a vision to get America working again:

Republicans have plans to close the gap, plans that focus on jobs first without more spending, government bailouts, and red tape. Every day, we’re working to expand our economy, one manufacturing job, nursing degree and small business at a time. We have plans to improve our education and training systems so you have the choice to determine where your kids go to school…so college is affordable…and skills training is modernized.

The impressive takeaway was that it connected with people. SR-Bing measured people’s online reactions, splitting it into Republicans, Democrats and independents. While Democrats stayed luke-warm throughout, independents gave Rep. McMorris-Rodgers high marks throughout the speech.

The lesson Republicans should take from Rep. McMorris-Rodgers’ speech is that independents appreciate a political party that empowers families, not politicians and bureaucrats.

While it isn’t likely that many people saw Rep. McMorris-Rodgers’ speech, that isn’t what’s important. What’s important is that she’s given Republicans a path forward to winning elections this fall. That’s why this speech was a success.

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Glenn Reynolds’ latest USA Today column highlights why the Anything But Affordable Care Act, aka the ABACA, is destined for failure:

In his excellent book, Two Cheers For Anarchism, Professor James Scott writes:

One need not have an actual conspiracy to achieve the practical effects of a conspiracy. More regimes have been brought, piecemeal, to their knees by what was once called ‘Irish Democracy,’ the silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal, and truculence of millions of ordinary people, than by revolutionary vanguards or rioting mobs.

Simply put, people, making decisions based on their own self-interests, are saying no to the ABACA. They’re saying no because it’s a rip-off. It’s a rip-off because it was designed by politicians, whose highest priority was passing a bill, not cutting families’ health care costs.

While the political class worries about ‘the art of the possible’, families worry about doing what’s right for their families. The fact is that politicians ignored their constituents when they wrote this bill in Harry Reid’s and Nancy Pelosi’s offices. By making this federal legislation, President Obama eliminated the states’ experimentation, which is the strength of the US’s federalist system.

Top-down, government-centric systems don’t work because they implement a system that isn’t individualized. Does anyone think that a nation that loves its iPhones and individualized apps would accept a system where their health insurance and health care choices are made for them?

It’s possible that something called the Affordable Care Act will still be in place a decade from now. If it still exists, which isn’t guaranteed, it won’t look anything like the system that’s currently in place.

That’s because Americans aren’t satisfied with accepting conventional wisdom. When we see difficulties, our initial instinct is to fix them.

Now, as February draws near, things don’t look much better. Far fewer than half the number needed by March 31 have signed up. And, as it turns out, most of the people signing up for Obamacare aren’t the uninsured for whom it was supposedly enacted, but people who were previously insured (many of whom lost their previous insurance because of Obamacare’s new requirements). “At most,” writes Bloomberg’s Megan McArdle, “they’ve signed up 15% of the uninsured that they were expecting to enroll. … Where are the uninsured? Did hardly any of them want coverage beginning Jan. 1?” It looks that way.

Based on public sentiment, this would’ve been the right time to let a good crisis go to waste. It’s pretty apparent that the people are speaking with a loud, passionate voice that they want this system scrapped. They aren’t sending mixed signals on this. They aren’t sounding an uncertain alarm. They’re saying that a) they don’t want to return to the previous system and b) they’re rejecting President Obama’s top-down system.

What they’re saying with exceptional clarity is that they want to design a system that a) puts them first, b) puts doctors, not politicians and bureaucrats, in charge of the health care system, c) lowers health care costs and d) lets them create their own network of health care providers.

The Anything But Affordable Care Act is 0-for-4 on those merits. That’s why it’s destined for failure.

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Yes, the title of this post uses a bit of hyperbole. Still, the case that Katherine Kersten makes in this article tells a disturbing tale:

The Met Council intends to change that in its 30-year plan for the seven-county metro area: “Thrive MSP 2040,” due out in 2014.

Some of us, of course, prefer to live in a condo above a coffee shop on a transit line. But the rest of us likely won’t enjoy lugging rock salt home on the bus, getting the kids to soccer practice on the light rail or pedaling to the dentist on our bikes. Nevertheless, the council has announced that “transit-oriented development” (TOD) will be the guiding principle for development in the metro area for the next 30 years. In its 84-page “TOD Strategic Action Plan,” released in June, it held up Portland and San Francisco as enlightened places we should emulate.

TOD will be an “enormous undertaking,” the council acknowledged. No kidding. To remake our metro area around transit, the council will do all it can to steer new jobs, homes and economic development in our region to areas within “easy walking distance” (one-half mile) of major transit stops — primarily in the urban core and inner-ring suburbs. In these favored places, tax dollars (mostly from people who live elsewhere) will be lavished on high-density housing, bike and pedestrian amenities, and subsidized retail shops.

If you think that’s hyperbole, you haven’t read this part of the TOD’s Executive Summary:

Transit-oriented development (TOD) provides the opportunity to enhance the transit investment by shaping regional development around transit. The working definition of TOD, as defined by the Metropolitan Council and partners at regional think tanks in September 2012 and February 2013, is: A moderate to higher density district/corridor located within easy walking distance of a major transit stop that typically contains a mix of uses such as housing, jobs, restaurants, shops, services and entertainment. These districts/corridors enable people of all ages, backgrounds, and incomes abundant transportation choices and the opportunity to live convenient, affordable and active lives.

In other words, the Met Council and a litany of progressive special interest organizations will do their best to establish these hubs, then, through time, force people to tolerate being told where they’ll live and how they’ll get from where the Met Council tells them to live to where the Met Council tells them to work.

There’s no denying that, theoretically, that’s efficient. Dictatorships and kingdoms are the most efficient forms of government in the history of the world. The Founding Fathers hated that type of efficiency. They established the Constitution in the way that they did to prevent autocratic boards like the Met Council from exercising this type of autocratic control over people.

The Met Council needs that type of control because their ideas run contrary to the American spirit. We love going wherever we want to go whenever we want to go there. The only way TOD becomes reality is through force. Here’s why abolishing the Met Council is imperative:

The TOD Strategic Action Plan has many parts, all emanating from the Metropolitan Council mission, goals and policies. Each component builds off the other and all lead back to the Council’s mission to “foster efficient and economic growth for a prosperous metropolitan region.”

This unaccountable council has put together a plan that forces lifestyle changes on people who are content with where they live, where they work and how they get from one to the other. That’s irrelevant to the Met Council and their progressive special interest groups allies. They know what’s best and they’ll do whatever it takes to force their vision down other people’s throats. Ms. Kersten’s article shows the foolishness of the Met Council’s vision:

The council forecasts that, by 2040, the population of Minneapolis and St. Paul will grow 24 percent and jobs there will grow a whopping 47 percent, while suburban growth on both measures will parallel each other. Such core city growth is strongly counter to historic trends both locally and nationally and seems unlikely to occur, despite TOD policies that attempt to engineer it.

The last census showed how foolish this prediction is. People voted with their mortgages to abandon the Twin Cities for the bedroom communities. They moved away from liberal mayors like R.T. Rybak and Chris Coleman. They moved away from progressive representation in DC and St. Paul. The most conservative congressional districts grew like wildfire while the most liberal districs shrunk rapidly. Thus far this census cycle, that pattern isn’t reversing.

What is TOD’s track record in Portland, the nirvana of TOD enthusiasts? Portland has poured huge sums into light rail, streetcars, and developments around transit stations. Now its streets are crumbling, and it can’t afford to repave them until at least 2017.

In other words, the Met Council’s vision is a verified failure. That figures. This part of the Executive Summary shows why TOD will be a failure:

Each strategy is ranked as high, medium or low priorities based on the impact and ease of implementation. The highest priority recommendations are collaboration strategies or relate to the creation of a TOD policy:

  • Establish TOD staff capability within the Council to work with partners to deliver high-quality TOD outcomes.
  • Create an internal Council TOD working group and dedicated TOD program staff to improve internal coordination and collaboration across the organizational divisions.
  • Continue talking with regional partners and begin the process of creating a regional TOD Advisory Group to work with the Council on implementing the Action Plan recommendations.

Nowhere in that strategy is it mentioned that the Met Council or the TOD working group hold actual town halls to hear from businesses and other citizens. Nowhere is it mentioned that local units of government should take the lead. In fact, the only thing that’s mentioned is an unelected group of bureaucrats creating another layer of bureaucrats without the consent of the governed.

No taxation without representation and government without the consent of the governed started a revolution 200+ years ago. Under the DFL’s ‘leadership’, taxation without representation and government without the consent of the governed is apparently the norm.

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Another day, another editorial criticizing the TEA Party for everything that’s wrong with America. It’s getting rather tedious to set another media outlet straight but here goes:

Democracy. In 2008 the people elected Obama to the presidency and gave his party, the Democrats, a majority in the House and Senate. Those elected representatives passed the Affordable Care Act. Last year the people re-elected Obama and retained a Democratic majority in the Senate, despite GOP promises to repeal the health care law if it gained power.

In America, elections have consequences. But that premise is undermined by the ability of an intense faction to shut down government because it won’t accept a particular law.

Counterpoint: Yesterday, Breitbart.com published this post to highlight people’s experiences with Healthcare.gov. Here’s what they highlighted:

On Thursday, the government’s official Obamacare Facebook page was riddled with people expressing sticker shock over the government’s high cost premiums after struggling for hours to wade through the technical failures vexing Obamacare exchanges all across the country.

“I am so disappointed,” wrote one woman. “These prices are outrageous and there are huge deductibles. No one can afford this!” The comment received 169 “likes.”

“There is NO WAY I can afford it,” said one commenter after using the Kaiser Subsidy Calculator. “Heck right now I couldn’t afford an extra 10$ [sic] a month…and oh apparently I make to [sic] much at 8.55/hour to get subsidies.”

Another person shared a link found on the federal government’s main Obamacare page listing premium estimates for small business employers:

The information is not very complete as I don’t see anything about deductible or other detailed info, but it does given an actual price as to the “Premium.” It is VERY SCARY!! For example, my insurance plan right now for my spouse and I costs $545 a month with 100% coverage after my $2500 deductible. We are both 32 years old. When I looked at this site for 80% coverage it says it will be $954.78 a month!!!! So compare my old Plan: 100% coverage for $545 a month To New Plan: 80% Coverage for $945 a month. This is only only an estimate but it is VERY Scary for me to see this kind of increase in rates and reduction in benefits!

A single mother of two said she is in school and working full-time while living “75% below the poverty level.” She said she was shocked to learn she did not qualify for a healthcare subsidy. “Are you F’ing kidding me????” she wrote on the government’s Obamacare Facebook page. “Where the HELL am I supposed to get $3,000 more a year to pay for this ‘bronze’ health insurance plan!?!??? And I DO NOT EVEN WANT INSURANCE to begin with!! This is frightening,” she wrote.

If the Kansas City Star wants to argue that Republicans should stay silent while the Affordable Care Act devastates families because “elections have consequences”, then they need to pull their head out of their posterior. The Hoouse of Representatives is representing their constituents. The Constitution doesn’t just give them that right. It gives them that responsibility.

Yes, President Obama was re-elected. Yes, Harry Reid is still the Senate Majority Leader. No, that doesn’t mean the GOP majority in the House of Representatives are relegated to second class citizen status, especially when they’re on the side of the angels substantively.

If Democrats want to go into the next election highlighting the fact that they fought tooth and nail to make health care and health insurance more expensive, so be it. Republicans should step forward and tell people that they listened to the American people. Republicans should tell people that they fought tooth and nail to help families by ignoring polling and listening to their constituents.

I’d love hearing the Kansas City Star or Sen. Reid or President Obama explain why they fought against the American people. I’d love hearing Democrats explain why defending a president’s signature legislation is more important than improving the lives of the American people.

Thus far, Democrats have repeated President Obama’s mantra that the Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama and ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court. That’s all nice but it doesn’t address why the Democratic Party, from President Obama on down, is dramatically increasing the cost of health care and health insurance.

These statistics don’t lie. Health insurance prices purchased through the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges are dramatically higher than under the previous system. Deductibles for the Affordable Care Act’s bronze policies are significantly higher, too. Higher premiums and higher deductibles doesn’t equal affordable health care.

That’s why the TEA Party is right in telling President Obama and the Democratic Party they’ll continue fighting for the American people.

I’d love hearing that fight. In fact, I triple dog dare Democrats to engage in that fight.

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This presidential election is a choice between the failed policies of the Obama administration vs. the proven excellence of the Romney-Ryan plan. We don’t need 3 years in office to know that the Romney-Ryan plan will work because it’s based in large part on Reagan’s plan of streamlining taxes (1986 TEFRA), loosening regulations and applauding the achievements of America’s innovators.

The other choice is to keep the failed policies of the past 42 months in office. Does the nation want another 4 years of umnprecedented levels of strangling regulations, governance through executive orders, disdain for the rule of law, disgust with wealth creation, paltry job growth and anemic GDP growth?

Do we want to hear Jay Carney and other administration mouthpieces yapping about “29 consecutive months of private sector job growth”? Or do we prefer a labor secretary who steps to the podium and announces a third straight jobs report where America’s entrepreneurs created 300,000 jobs?

Not only are economists confident that President Obama’s economic policies won’t consistently create that type of job growth. They’re confident President Obama’s economic policies prevent that type of job growth.

Do We The People want another 4 years of hearing about an endless litany of excuses (President Obama blaming ATMs is my favorite) for why the economy isn’t growing? Or do we want an administration that gets America’s fiscal house in order?

Do people want to hear Ben Bernanke announce another round of quantitative easing? Would people prefer hearing about eliminating deficits, restoring longterm fiscal health and stabilizing, then strengthening, the dollar?

Those aren’t the subjects President Obama wants on this year’s political battlefield. President Obama hates those subjects on this year’s political battlefield as much as vampires hate wooden stakes.

This isn’t the choice debate President Obama and his minions prepared for. That’s why their first response to Romney picking Paul Ryan was utterly lame.

There’s no question that President Obama and his minions will do their best to continue the small, fear-inciting, campaign they’ve run thus far.

There’s another thing to consider. Paul Ryan utterly dismantled President Obama’s arguments for the ACA. President Obama vs. Paul Ryan isn’t a fair fight. In fact, if you watch the video of Ryan demolishing the ACA, you’ll see President Obama initially looking stunned. That quickly changed. It wasn’t long before President Obama looked upset, then irate.

That’s because President Obama thinks of himself as the smartest man in the room whereas Paul Ryan is the smartest man in the room on budget and economic policy.

Finally, Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech has the potential to set the stage for a wild fall campaign. Mitt Romney is energized. Paul Ryan is electrifying.

This isn’t the campaign President Obama wanted to fight. Don’t think that won’t become apparent.

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