Archive for the ‘Limited Government’ Category

It’s often a big deal when Sarah Palin endorses a candidate. Much pomp and circumstance accompanies Ms. Palin’s endorsements. It’s perfectly within Ms. Palin’s First Amendment rights to endorse the candidates she chooses. I’d just respect Ms. Palin’s endorsements if she’d do her homework, which she didn’t do with her latest endorsement:

A 12-year state senator, Ortman is challenging Democrat Al Franken in Minnesota. Palin contrasted her qualifications with those of the incumbent, whom she labeled a “clown.” (Franken had a successful career as a comedian before entering politics.)

Ortman “is a conservative champion. … She is running a grassroots campaign against a well-funded favorite of the Washington GOP establishment whose policy record is a blank slate,” Palin said in her endorsement.

Is a politician who won’t repeal Obamacare, who’s proposed raising taxes and who’s voted for Cap and Trade “a conservative champion” just because Sarah Palin says so?

By contrast, the candidate that Ms. Palin criticized as being a “favorite of the Washington GOP establishment”, Mike McFadden, favors repealing Obamacare, reducing regulations, simplifying our tax code and limiting government spending.

The reality is that Mike McFadden has laid out a legislative agenda that’s conservative. Altogether too often, Julianne Ortman has voted against common sense conservative principles because she’s been a go-along-to-get-along legislator for nearly 12 years.

The proof is clear. Contrary to Ms. Palin’s endorsing statement, Julianne Ortman isn’t “a conservative champion.” She’s the type of politician that Ms. Palin has railed against in the past.

That’s why Ms. Palin’s endorsement rings hollow. That’s why I’m questioning Ms. Palin’s endorsement. If she doesn’t want her credibility questioned, she needs to prove that she consistently stands for conservative principles.

This time, Ms. Palin didn’t stand for conservative principles.

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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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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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Yesterday, I wrote this post highlighting Paul Thissen’s reaction to my post about how unions didn’t build the middle class. The activists in the MOB, aka the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers, aren’t unlike NATO in that, an attack against one is an attack against all of us. When they saw that Speaker Thissen had taken issue with my post, Mitch Berg and the Lady Logician jumped into the discussion. Here’s how the Lady Logician responded to Speaker Thissen’s tweets:

You misrepresent the smaller gov’t policy stance to mean no govt & that is simply NOT what small gov’t ppl want. No one is arguing against roads & education but when govt gets in2 the minutia of telling ppl what lightbulbs 2 buy or what HEALTHCARE to buy or whether or not they can own a specific type of dog, then we are going to argue.

Here’s Mitch’s response to one of Speaker Thissen’s tweets:

The evidence is, in fact, that gov’t research *follows* corp. innovation. Ditto education. Not other way around.

Mitch wasn’t done schooling Speaker Thissen. Here’s the rest of Mitch’s tweets to Speaker Thissen:

So did gov’t build roads out of pure goodwill? Or did biz pay for them? You’re saying government is the only body that can give us clean water? Record shows that’s untrue. Most municipal water systems in the US *started* as private enterprises. Nearly a quarter still are. The “gov’t brings us all riches” argument is the black/white one. Markets, not politics, deal well with nuance. Either is “private enterprise is lost without government”. Or rather it’s a fallacious place to start the conversation. At best, it’s “assisted” by gov’t. But the idea that prosperity follows infrastructure is utterly ahistorical.

That’s a typical Mitch-slap. Spoeaker Thissen probably didn’t realize conservatives were this principled about free markets and limited government. The reality is that Speaker Thissen didn’t address why he thinks government is equipped to run a complex online health insurance business for the entire state. That’s essentially what MNsure is. (That isn’t just my opinion. It’s what Jim Nobles said on Almanac last Friday.)

Was government responding to free markets when they passed legislation that specified what types of lightbulbs could be used? Why did government inject itself into the discussion as to what dogs were legal in Minnesota? Was there an outbreak of dog violence against people? Or were they just inserting themselves into an issue because they were reacting to one of their special interest allies? I’m pretty certain it’s the latter.

Speaker Thissen’s tweet that questioned whether people could get to their jobs or companies could move their goods without public roads dovetails with President Obama’s now-infamous statement that entrepreneurs didn’t build their companies, that government did. That’s BS. Mitch is right in saying that government might assist entrepreneurs but government isn’t what makes businesses thrive.

The Anything But Affordable Care Act is a perfect example of how twisted leftist thinking is. I wrote here about how MNsure made things worse for one Minnesota family:

This Minnesota family is a young married couple with three children. Until ObamaCare and Dayton’s MNsure came along they shared the cost of their Blue Cross-Blue Shield family health insurance policy 50/50 with the father’s employer. Thanks to ObamaCare, the cost of that policy sky rocketed and is no longer affordable to the family. After endless hours of working with MNsure, here is what resulted.

Without the parent’s consent, MNsure jammed their three children onto government insurance. The children are now covered by Medicaid at no cost to the family or employer, but 100 percent cost to the taxpayers. The father had to go with a single insurance plan from his employer and purchase a separate new policy for his wife. Because of the confusion and disarray at MNsure, neither he nor his wife currently has health insurance ID cards for the insurance they have already paid for.

That’s why limited government conservatives complain about government overstepping their constitutional authority. Additionally, this shows government isn’t capable of running a business.

In other words, government should get its claws out of the things it isn’t qualified to do and focus on the things that constitutions limits it to. Limited government conservatives don’t hate government, even though that’s the propaganda that ABM and other leftist propaganda organizations spread. It’s that we understand that the best decisions for families happen at a family’s kitchen table.

It’s time Speaker Thissen figured that out.

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It’s impossible to take anything David Shuster writes seriously. Shuster is part of the Times Writers Group, which means he writes a column once a month. Tons of his statements border on the ridiculous. That’s certainly the case in this month’s editorial:

Starting in the 1980s, Americans were fed a steady diet of anti-tax, anti-government propaganda. Although the folly of conservative rhetoric on other issues such as gay marriage and gun “rights” is recognized by an increasing percentage of the electorate, taxation and the notion that government can be a benevolent (rather than malevolent) institution have tougher rows to hoe.

The misconception that public institutions are, by definition, wasteful and inefficient may contribute to societal ambivalence about government.

Shuster’s writings are breathtaking. That he thinks gun rights is mythical is offensive. The fact that he thinks government waste is a “misconception” identifies his blind spot. And it’s quite the blind spot. It’s apparent that Shuster isn’t informed on the mountains of wasteful spending contained in the recent GAO Report, which Sen. Coborn spoke out against:

SEN COBURN: Next one, housing assistance. We have 160 programs, separate programs. Nobody knows if they’re working. Nobody in the administration knows all the programs. I’m probably the only person in Congress that does because nobody else has looked at it. Twenty different agencies. We’re spending $170 billion. If we’re really interested in housing assistance, why would we have 20 sets of overhead, 20 sets of administration? And what would it cost to accomplish the same thing?

All these numbers come from the Government Accountability Office, by the way. They don’t come from me.

And the other part of the report is that nobody knows if these programs are working. We have no data to say that we’re actually making a difference on housing assistance through this expenditure of money. So we’re not even asking the most basic of questions that a prudent person would ask.

When a department can’t measure where the money that’s appropriated to them is being spent, it’s impossible to argue that government isn’t wasteful. That information proves that government isn’t just wasteful. It’s proof that they don’t care whether they’re wasteful. If they cared about spending the taxpayers’ money efficiently, they would’ve installed a system to track their department’s spending.

Shuster said that it’s “anti-government propaganda” to think that government isn’t malevolent. Apparently, he didn’t read this article:

Johnson commenced his new “Victims of Government” project with a short film detailing the plight of Granite City, Ill. resident Steven Lathrop who spent more than 20 years attempting to comply with federal wetlands regulations to alleviate flooding in his neighborhood, only to end up in a mess of red tape, bureaucratic mistakes and eventual financial distress.

That doesn’t sound like a benevolent government. That’s without talking about how the Justice Department ignored reporters’ First and Fifth Amendment rights. That’s without asking Mr. Shuster whether he thinks the IRS’s targeting of conservatives and Christians was the act of a benevolent government.

Not surprisingly, Shuster’s column couldn’t have been published without Randy Krebs’ approval. It’s pretty apparent that Krebs doesn’t subject liberals’ columns to the same level of scrutiny as conservatives’ LTEs and columns. It isn’t surprising that Shuster’s propaganda isn’t scrutinized for accuracy. Krebs’ selective editing and scrutiny is well-documented.

For most of the life of this blog, I’ve advocated for politicians to ditch their jargon. Instead, I’ve argued that politicians should use the language of Main Street. This morning, while perusing RealClealPolitics, I gained a powerful ally in Scott Rasmussen. To avoid any confusion, I’ll first state that I met Scott Rasmussen last summer at the RightOnline Conference. That meeting, coupled with his many TV appearances, proved that he’s a man who uses Main Street Speak.

Here’s what Scott Rasmussen wrote that caught my attention:

This gap was highlighted by a recent Pew Research Center poll showing that “for 18 of 19 programs tested, majorities want either to increase spending or maintain it at current levels.”

On the surface, those results appear to support the Political Class conceit that voters like spending cuts in the abstract but not in specific programs. That’s the way it was reported by most media outlets.

But the reality is quite different. The Pew results actually show support for what official Washington would consider massive spending cuts.

Just to be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Pew poll questions or results. The raw numbers are similar to what we find at Rasmussen Reports. The problem is with the way the numbers were reported.

The questions were asked using the language of America, but they were reported using the language of the Political Class.

To most Americans, maintaining spending at current levels would mean spending the same amount in 2013 as we spent in 2012. However, to those experienced in the mysterious ways of Washington, maintaining spending at current levels means spending $3.5 trillion this year and $4.5 trillion in five years. To most Americans, that’s a trillion dollars in spending growth.

The Political Class, on the other hand, would consider holding spending unchanged at current levels to be a massive spending cut. Why? Because it wouldn’t allow for the trillion dollar spending growth that is already built into the budget.

Normal people don’t expect pay raises on autopilot. The federal government does.

Washington, DC would throw a hissy fit if they were forced to use zero-based budgeting instead of using baseline budgeting. Without baseline budgeting helps DC pay off their political allies. Zero-based budgeting wouldn’t let that happen. That’s why politicians and lobbyists insist on baseline budgeting. Frankly, it makes their jobs easier.

Speaking candidly, I don’t want to make life easy for politicians or lobbyists. I’d prefer they have to justify every penny of their spending. That’s the only way to guarantee that every penny of the taxpayers’ money is spent wisely.

Thanks, Scott, for speaking so clearly on this important issue. Let’s just hope it’s contageous.

It was 8 years ago today that I started blogging. Rathergate caught my attention but it was the freedom movement that inspired me. The first big subject that I wrote about was the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine. That’s how I first learned of a certain economics professor at St. Cloud State. I’ve been privileged to call King Banaian my friend since then.

I wrote about the massive protests that gathered in Independance Square, the Purple Thumb elections in Iraq, followed by Hezbollah’s assassination of Rafiq Harriri in Lebanon. Harriri’s assassination triggered the Cedar Revolution.

It’s been fun writing about the TEA Party movement. I’ve even helped put a couple of them together with the help of Leo Pusateri, another important conservative ally in the fight against progressives. As helpful as Leo has been in the fight for conservative principles, I appreciate his friendship the most.

I’ve learned from some outstanding bloggers along the way. Captain Ed’s (that’s what he was called in his pre-HotAir days) posts from CQ were awesome reads. When Ed published his lengthy posts, the thing that stood out for me was the depth and detail of his research.

Mitch Berg’s literary skills still continue to amaze me. Mitch isn’t just a talented writer, either. He’s a topnotch reporter, too.

Early in my blogging career, I learned about the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers. Today, many MOBsters are friends of mine. If you aren’t a MOBster, you should join ASAP. The comradery is great.

Finally, I’d like to thank the people who faithfully read my blog. Over the years, I’ve been amazed at who reads my blog. Sitemeter statistics have shown lots of state legislators read LFR. That’s why I’m proud to say LFR has had a serious impact on the policy debates in St. Paul.

With the DFL now in control, temporarily, of the Legislature and with a DFL governor, I pledge to step up my reporting.

First, I’ll start by saying I don’t consider Pat Anderson the enemy. There’s just an issue where the two of us disagree philosophically. In fact, this post is mostly about philosophical differences. In fact, that’s all this is.

At a State Convention gathering, more than a few people were talking about “the Stebbins email.” One of the people talking about it forwarded it to me. Here’s the text of the email:

From: Marianne Stebbins
To: Marianne Stebbins
Sent: Wed, May 16, 2012 8:52 pm
Subject: Don’t forget that State Central immediately follows the convention on Saturday

Up for election are the National Committeeman and National Committeewoman positions. The primary contest there is for Committeewoman, where both Pat Anderson, current Committeewoman is being challenged by Janet Beihoffer.

I take care to not twist arms, but would like you to consider that Pat Anderson has been friendly to us, helpful in many ways. Beihoffer has been engaging in some nasty campaigning against Pat, while Pat has been taking the high road.

Please stay for State Central on Saturday if at all possible. This is an important vote for the future direction of our party.

Marianne Stebbins

I don’t have a problem with the RP people who are State Central delegates voting for the candidate of their choice. What I’ve got a major problem with is hearing anyone say that Janet “has been engaging in some nasty campaigning against Pat.” I’ve read what Janet’s said. I’ll stipulate that Janet’s said some hardhitting things.

Characterizing Janet’s communications as “nasty campaigning” just isn’t accurate. A number of Janet’s supporters have taken issue with some of the things Pat’s done. Most of those disputes involve Pat’s lobbying for Racino.

Purely from a limited government policy standpoint, I can’t support Racino. I can’t figure out how a person can be a limited government conservative while supporting giving government another revenue stream to increase the size of government.

That’s why I can’t understand the Paul supporters supporting another revenue stream to government. They’re supposed to be the ultimate believers in limited government conservatism.

I’ve heard Paul’s supporters say that they’re defending the principles of free market capitalism. Racino isn’t free market capitalism. According to their own website, Racino “would be paid for in full by Canterbury Park and Running Aces Harness Park.” That’s an awfully limited market. That’s the opposite of a free market.

It’s time Congressman Paul’s supporters admitted that they aren’t the pure-hearted free market guy their champion is.

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This morning, Michele Bachmann announced that she’s seeking re-election to her Sixth District seat:

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday she will seek a fourth term in the U.S. House following her failed presidential bid.

Bachmann declared her plans in an interview with The Associated Press. The Republican congresswoman had been mum on her plans since folding her presidential campaign after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses earlier this month.

“I’m looking forward to coming back and bringing a strong, powerful voice to Washington, D.C.,” Bachmann said.

Bachmann will be a formidable candidate in Minnesota’s 6th District, where other Republican hopefuls had stood aside until she made a decision on running for re-election. Some experts had speculated that Bachmann might instead turn to a career in talk media.

That ends speculation that the DFL has a chance of flipping her seat. They don’t. Take that seat off the radar.

Her announcement came in an interview to react to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech. Just as she did on the campaign trail, Bachmann criticized Obama for “doubling down on failures that didn’t work.”

“We have to radically scale back on government spending, we have to radically cut back on debt accumulation,” Bachmann said.

It’s refreshing to hear Michele back talking about cutting President Obama’s reckless spending. What’s even more promising is the likelihood that she’ll have a gavel with which to start implementing that agenda.

Ed’s on the case, too, with this post:

Bachmann won her last re-election bid against well-known Taryl Clark by twelve points, so redistricting is probably not a big concern for Bachmann. Minnesota’s Congressional allocation did not change in the last census, although it only narrowly avoided losing a district. The redistricting plan will likely shift the margins around a little, perhaps moving a few precincts of very liberal MN-05 (Keith Ellison’s district) into MN-06, but it’s doubtful that MN-06 will change dramatically enough to endanger Bachmann in 2012.

Besides, Bachmann raised her stature considerably during the presidential campaign. She now has a broader base for fundraising, which builds on what had already been a strength for her in the past. While her hyperbole on Gardasil hurt her in the campaign (and will almost certainly be revisited by the DFL in the district), her overall performance dispelled the “crazy eyes” image that the media had imposed on her during her rise in the House and with Tea Party grassroots. Bachmann ended up presenting the most effective debate attacks on Rick Perry and then later Newt Gingrich, and was a formidable force in those encounters throughout the race.

Ed later said that the DCCC would likely dump lots of money into Michele’s race, something I question a bit. They dumped tons of money into her race in 2010 with a candidate they thought was perfectly suited to defeat Michele. They spent alot of money but Michele still kicked Tarryl’s ass.

At some point, you’d think that the money people at the DCCC would say ‘No mas’. This might be that year.

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Before I get started, I’d like to offer my condolences to the people who are, at least theoretically, represented by Rep. Tom Anzelc and Sen. Tom Saxhaug. After reading this article, it’s apparent that the “Two Toms” are two Toms too many. Here’s a major clue that these legislators shouldn’t be allowed to represent people in the state legislature:

In Minnesota, lawmakers must take responsibility for implementing the above mentioned block grants that serve the poor and need to admit that “what was done in the special session of the past year was not enough,” he said. “We need to admit that the borrowing off future revenues from the tobacco settlement will not be enough and exacerbating the school shift whereby 40 cents on the dollar that the superintendents and school board here in International Falls are receiving from the state government is not forthcoming and therefore they need to borrow or utilize reserves to make up for the difference; we need to admit that that was not a good solution.”

“Lastly, we need a lot of luck in this country, because we are in a global, nationwide recession of catastrophic proportions,” he said, adding that, in Minnesota 100,000 residents have been unemployed for six consecutive months or more.

The first requirement for a legislator should be his ability to communicate clearly. Putting together a 74-word sentence isn’t communicating clearly, especially when the sentence is that incoherent.

Another requirement to be a legislator should be the ability to inspire confidence that the plans implemented will benefit the people. Saying that “we need alot of luck” to get the economy jumpstarted won’t inspire confidence. Whether Rep. Anzelc likes the GOP budget or not, he shouldn’t be making statements that discourage unemployed workers.

Rep. Anzelc is being overly dramatic, too. The recession that we’re now recovering from wasn’t worse than the one President Reagan inherited from Jimmy Carter.

Further, there’s always something to worry about with economies. When the economy was growing during the last Clinton term, the worry was about “the Asian Flu” financial crisis:

The Asian financial crisis was a period of financial crisis that gripped much of Asia beginning in July 1997, and raised fears of a worldwide economic meltdown due to financial contagion.

The crisis started in Thailand with the financial collapse of the Thai baht caused by the decision of the Thai government to float the baht, cutting its peg to the USD, after exhaustive efforts to support it in the face of a severe financial overextension that was in part real estate driven. At the time, Thailand had acquired a burden of foreign debt that made the country effectively bankrupt even before the collapse of its currency. As the crisis spread, most of Southeast Asia and Japan saw slumping currencies, devalued stock markets and other asset prices, and a precipitous rise in private debt.

People worried whether the Asian Flu would take down the U.S. economy. Instead of crashing the American economy, America started a string of 5 consecutive balanced budgets.

Minnesota must redesign and streamline its government to make government in the 87 counties and 435 school districts, as well as townships and municipalities, more efficient, he said.

“We need to deliver government services at a cheaper price and that will require huge sacrifice and a lot of pain, but it’s coming,” he said. “We all need to be part of the solution.”

The two Toms had the opportunity to vote for Rep. Keith Downey’s 15 by 15 legislation that would’ve reduced the state workforce by 15% by 2015. Additionally, they had the opportunity to introduce legislation that would’ve redesigned and streamlined government.

They could’ve offered amendments to King Banaian’s HF2 legislation that included provisions for priority-based budgeting and the Sunset Commission. In fact, they could’ve offered legislation to reform state and local government.

After all, there’s no law that prevents legislators from writing that type of legislation. The good news is that the two Toms will be able to sign onto those bills starting in January, 2012.

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