Archive for the ‘Election 2014’ Category

In 2012, the DFL campaigned on the promises of taxing “the rich” to pay for “middle class property tax relief” and to increase funding on education. By April of 2013, then-Speaker Thissen issued this statement. Here’s the heart of that statement:

The House DFL Education Budget invests in what works: fully funding all-day, every day kindergarten and investing $50 million in early learning childhood scholarships. All-day K and early childhood education are proven tools to improve test scores, close the achievement gap, and prepare students for future academic success. The House DFL Education Budget also increases the basic funding formula for K-12 schools by four percent over the biennium, an increase of over $315 million, or $209 per pupil. The school shift payback will be included in the House Taxes bill.

“The House DFL education plan will boost our economy for generations to come,” said Representative Paul Marquart (DFL–Dilworth), Chair of the House Education Finance Committee. “Building the world’s best workforce will bring jobs, new innovation and economic growth, but to get there we have to invest in efforts and strategies with a proven record of success, set benchmarks, and help our schools succeed while also holding them accountable.”

The House DFL Education Budget also contains a new strategy to close the revenue equity gap and reduce property taxes. The bill enhances the equity formula guaranteeing all districts at least $300 per student of equity and referendum revenue, and raises and indexes operating referendum levy equalization factors to reduce property taxes.

Notice how Rep. Thissen’s statement predicted that the DFL’s “education budget” would “reduce property taxes.” Thissen’s prediction was spin, a DFL specialty. I wrote this post to highlight how the St. Cloud School Board raised property taxes:

St. Cloud school district has imposed its largest tax levy increase in six years for 2015. The district’s property-tax levy will increase by $3.3 million, or 14.75 percent, to nearly $26 million. The school board voted unanimously Thursday night to approve the 2015 levy.

District officials say the increase is needed to pay for a spate of improvements to facilities.

I wrote this post to highlight the Princeton School Board raised property taxes:

The Princeton School Board, in a split vote on Dec. 16, increased the school district tax levy by 25.16 percent for taxes payable 2015 to fund the 2015-16 school year.

This was a departure from the board’s originally proposed 33.87 percent hike. The total levy will be a little more than $6.091 million, a $300,000 increase over this year’s levy. The original proposal would have increased the levy $724,000.

Taxing the rich didn’t provide middle class property tax relief. It just raised taxes on “the rich.”

Check back later today to learn more about how the DFL lies on other issues.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , ,

In 2013, the DFL said that they were raising taxes on “the rich” to pay for property tax relief for the middle class. I wrote here about how that failed…miserably:

The Princeton School Board in a split vote on Dec. 16 increased the school district tax levy by 25.16 percent for taxes payable 2015 to fund the 2015-16 school year.

This was a departure from the board’s originally proposed 33.87 percent hike. The total levy will be a little more than $6.091 million, a $300,000 increase over this year’s levy. The original proposal would have increased the levy $724,000.

A 25% increase in property taxes isn’t property tax relief for the middle class. That’s a gigantic, crippling middle class tax increase. Thank God the Princeton School Board exercised some restraint. If they hadn’t, the property tax increase would’ve been almost 34%.

I wrote this post to question why this historic property tax increase was needed in light of the DFL’s constant reminder that they paid back the school shift and raised per pupil spending. If I had $5 for every time the DFL, ABM or the Dayton campaign ran an ad talking about making an “historic investment in education”, I’d be wealthy. Either the DFL’s “investment in education” isn’t as historic as they’ve repeatedly said or the Princeton School Board is spending money recklessly.

Actually, there is another possibility. It’s quite possible that the DFL’s historic investment in education shafted outstate schools to pay for increased education spending in urban and suburban school districts. It wouldn’t be the first time the DFL shafted outstate school districts. Just ask Rocori if they’ve gotten fair treatment. (Hint: they haven’t.)

This fall, the DFL insisted that it didn’t shortchange rural Minnesota. The DFL insisted that they’d paid off the school shifts while increasing education funding. The DFL insisted that they’d raised taxes on “the rich” so they could cut property taxes for the middle class. The article in the Princeton newspaper is proof that a) the DFL still shortchanged rural Minnesota, b) the DFL’s tax-the-rich policy didn’t lead to middle class property tax relief and c) the DFL’s supposedly historic investment in education is more campaign rhetoric than reality.

Finally and most importantly, the DFL’s spending spree didn’t shrink the achievement gap nor did the DFL increase accountability in education. The DFL eliminated the requirement that teachers pass a basic skills test that the GOP first passed.

Rep. Thissen said that the DFL legislature should be called the education legislature. I’ve got a better idea. Let’s call them the ‘they shafted us again legislature.’ After all, the DFL’s spending did nothing to improve educational outcomes.

When I wrote this post, I forgot something that needs highlighting. Last fall, the DFL constantly reminded us that they’d paid off the school shifts and that they’d increased funding for education.

Apparently, the Princeton School Board didn’t get the memo. That’s odd because the DFL budget went into effect July 1…of 2013. If the DFL increased K-12 funding and paid off the school shifts, Princeton shouldn’t need to raise their property taxes. The Princeton School District especially shouldn’t need to raise their levy by 25.16%.

Then-Speaker Thissen issued this statement about the DFL’s “historic investment” in education:

The House DFL Education Budget invests in what works: fully funding all-day, every day kindergarten and investing $50 million in early learning childhood scholarships. All-day K and early childhood education are proven tools to improve test scores, close the achievement gap, and prepare students for future academic success. The House DFL Education Budget also increases the basic funding formula for K-12 schools by four percent over the biennium, an increase of over $315 million, or $209 per pupil. The school shift payback will be included in the House Taxes bill.

After reading that statement, it’s amazing that the Pope didn’t declare Speaker Thissen a candidate for sainthood.

Seriously, let’s summarize. The DFL raised taxes by $2,100,000,000 initially with the intent of paying for property tax relief for the middle class and to make “historic investments in education.”

What Minnesotans got in return were some middle class tax increases, virtually nothing in terms of property tax relief and big property tax increases to pay for K-12 funding. Minnesotans didn’t see the achievement gap close. Minnesotans didn’t notice a change in school boards’ spending habits, either.

The harsh reality is that Minnesotans got ripped off by the DFL’s tax increases, the DFL’s paying off the K-12 school shifts or from the DFL’s “historic investments in education.”

Technorati: , , , , , , , , ,

Dylan Scott’s article about what might happen if the Supreme Court invalidates health insurance subsidies being paid to people who bought insurance through HealthCare.gov is fascinating. For instance:

What leeway does the ACA itself give the administration? It seems self-evident that the states currently using the federal exchange would be required to do something, to “establish” their own exchanges, and the Health and Human Services Department therefore couldn’t just decree that all exchanges are state-based. States also probably need to do more than, say, sign a piece of paper declaring their exchange state-based.

“Now you could perhaps define the word ‘established’ down. HHS might be tempted to do so,” Bagley said. “But at the minimum, that kind of move from the administration would be sure to provoke a prompt legal response.”

There’s an additional problem not cited in the article. Specifically, state-established exchanges are part of Section 1311:

(d) Requirements
(1) In general

An Exchange shall be a governmental agency or nonprofit entity that is established by a State.

Changing that language requires legislation, which Mitch McConnell might agree to in exchange for other concessions:

That also extends to Congress, which as Bagley and Jones both noted, could correct the problem with ease by amending the law to allow tax credits on the federal exchanges. “Congress could fix this with a stroke of the pen,” Bagley said. “I could write the statute in a single sentence.”

But nobody is really expecting that. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this month that SCOTUS could “take down” Obamacare in the King case and that would open up the opportunity for “a major do-over.”

“If that were to be the case, I would assume that you could have a mulligan here, a major do-over of the whole thing,” he said, in comments flagged by the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent.

While the administration might be willing to do a lot to save the law, an emboldened Republican Congress seems unlikely to settle for anything less than major concessions, as McConnell suggests. So a fix in Washington doesn’t appear in the cards.

It’s interesting that Democrats fear a Washington fix because that would require them making major concessions in exchange for those subsidies. In other words, DC Democrats are most afraid of actually improving the ACA.

That’s insane on a multitude of fronts, starting with the fact that the ACA is a weighty millstone around their political necks. Democrats got crushed in 2010 and 2014 because of the ACA. Despite experiencing those historical thumpings, Democrats don’t want to change the ACA. It’s their right to commit political suicide.

Stan Hubbard’s response to the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists’ denunciation of KSTP highlights Mr. Hubbard’s substantive criticism of MNSPJ. First, here’s the reason behind Mr. Hubbard’s response:

On November 19, 2014, the Minnesota SPJ asked KSTP-TV to “disavow” its reporting, saying that our story was “fundamentally flawed and based on a faulty premise.” This, because you decided the image in the report showed Mayor Hodges making what the Chapter called a “silly gesture.” KSTP-TV reported that gesture as a known gang sign. We were informed of that fact by several law enforcement agencies. You even went so far as to suggest that we would try to mislead. To suggest that KSTP-TV would ever deliberately distort any fact in any story is totally out of line. We have never done so and we never will do so.

Thanks to Mr. Hubbard’s response, the SPJ has exposed itself as a leading voice of the Agenda Media:

Perhaps most disappointing of all is the fact that most, if not all, serious news organizations that addressed our coverage, including the board of the Minnesota SPJ, simply “followed the herd” and tracked the trend on Twitter in their derision of our coverage. Rather than responsibly questioning law enforcement’s motivation in bringing this story forward, and digging deep into whether it truly represented a public safety issue, they instead chose to simply ignore that which was reported, and go with the much easier and much more popular “silly gesture” angle.

Twittersphere journalism isn’t journalism. It’s shortcut journalism, which isn’t real journalism. The question that SPJ hasn’t answered is the question that SPJ won’t answer. Why didn’t SPJ’s news organizations do the research that KSTP did? Why didn’t SPJ member organizations check into law enforcement’s claims that Mayor Hodges’ actions presented a public safety issue?

Clearly it is disturbing to many that otherwise playful gestures presumably innocently made by a public official can have a totally unintended meaning in a different context. Nonetheless, that is exactly what our reporters were told by numerous law enforcement sources. Namely, that while a “gun” gesture may be funny and innocent in many contexts, it is neither funny nor innocent in a neighborhood plagued by gun violence and a “foothold of area gangs.” The recent announcement by federal officials that the indictment of 11 high profile individuals from two warring gangs, allegedly involved in the North Minneapolis drug and weapon trade, underscores the seriousness of the current gang situation.

Why isn’t SPJ interested in this? Is it because they aren’t interested in the seriousness of the issue? Or is it that this information doesn’t fit their script? Whatever the reason for their disdain, their willingness to ignore the seriousness of gun and gang violence is disturbing at minimum. This is something that’s troubling, too:

Public records reflect that Mr. Gordon had been arrested for aggravated armed robbery on August 2, 2014, two months before the picture in question was taken.

That’s disturbing on steroids. Why would Mayor Hodges campaign with a thug facing charges for aggravated armed robbery? Further, why is the DFL reaching out to criminals in their campaigns? Why aren’t SPJ organizations interested in this story angle? Finally, why didn’t SPJ admit that a mayor campaigning with a thug who’s been arrested on aggravated armed robbery charges is a big deal?

Simply put, the SPJ’s disinterest in these substantive angles verifies the fact that the SPJ isn’t that interested in substantive reporting. It verifies that they’re more interested in pushing the progressives’ agenda.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This week’s Onions & Orchids editorial contains a complaint that a well-educated fifth-grader would be ashamed to write:

Onions: I keep hearing the words, that the president poisoned the well. You can’t poison a well if there is no water. The president has waited 515 days for the House Republicans to act and pass the bill. All this time people have been deported and families broken up. Their American children are costing millions to be put in foster care. I really wish they would grow up and act like mature members and do good and stop voting “No” or not voting at all. They could trump the president and pass the immigration bill. That excuse of not trusting Obama, just does not wash. The President has put 30,000 agents on the border, but if there is a will they will find a way — nothing can be 100 percent. They can enter our country by planes, boats or through the wilderness area we share with Canada. They are not hurting the president. They are hurting real people and that is not how to govern.

First, it’s pure fallacy to say that “people have been deported and families broken up” during the Obama administration. Most of the so-called deportations aren’t deportations. Prior to the Obama administration, people apprehended while crossing the border were classified as people apprehended at the border. From the time that they took office, President Obama’s DHS has classified people caught at the border as deportations.

Had the Bush administration counted people caught at the border as deportations, the Obama administration’s deportations would be miniscule by comparison.

Second, I don’t care if President Obama has waited 515 days for the House of Representatives to pass the Senate immigration bill or if he’s waited 1,515 days, the Constitution doesn’t give him the authority to write new law. And yes, President Obama wrote new law because, in addition to telling DHS not to deport illegal immigrants, he gave them temporary legal status. Only Congress can write that provision. President Obama’s only responsibility in that setting is to sign the law that Congress passed.

Third, the reader says that not trusting President Obama isn’t an excuse for not passing the bill. On November 4, the American people said the opposite. With a booming voice, they said that they wanted Congress to not pass an immigration bill until President Obama could be trusted.

Finally, this explosion of illegal aliens is hurting blue collar workers nationwide. With an overabundance of low-skill workers, companies don’t have an incentive to hire legal immigrants and people born in the United States. They can pay cheap wages to illegal aliens. These companies get the additional ‘bonus’ of not paying for health insurance benefits.

President Obama is a lame duck president who wants to stay relevant. The nation is turning the page. It’s time to start fixing the things President Obama broke.

Technorati: , , , , , ,

This article highlights why Mary Landrieu’s political career is all but officially over:

In the last six years, Landrieu lost ground to Republicans in every Louisiana parish. In 2008, she defeated Republican John Kennedy by 121,111 votes statewide. This time, Cassidy and third-place finisher Rob Maness, a tea-party favorite who has since endorsed the congressman, combined to lead Landrieu by 186,207 votes, a net swing of 307,318.

Get out the marmalade. Sen. Landrieu is toast. Seriously, I’d be surprised if this election isn’t called within half an hour of the polls closing. This isn’t a nailbiter. It’s a blowout.

President Barack Obama may not be on Louisiana’s Senate runoff ballot, but it’s clear his widespread unpopularity in the state stands as Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s biggest hurdle to a fourth term.

There’s no question that President Obama has buried a ton of Democrats this cycle. Still, it isn’t fair to say it’s all his fault. If Mary Landrieu or Mark Pryor or Mark Udall or Mark Begich had shown a spine in voting against Obamacare and the Obama-Reid-Pelosi agenda, they might’ve had a better shot at winning. When they didn’t stand up for the voters, the voters punished them.

President Obama’s agenda has set the Democratic Party back mightily. When President Obama was sworn in, there were 257 Democrats in the House and 60 Democrats in the Senate. When this congress is sworn into office, there will be 186 Democrats in the House, 46 in the Senate.

President Obama was the pied piper but Senate Democrats followed his tune into this electoral grave.

It was inevitable that the Democrats’ divide would deepen after their trouncing in this year’s midterms. This article highlights some of the infighting within the Democratic Party:

Tensions within the Democratic Party over policy and strategy have begun to surface after a midterm defeat that saw the party lose control of the Senate after eight years and cede more seats to Republicans in the House of Representatives.

The most glaring example came Tuesday, when Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, criticized President Barack Obama over the 2010 health care overhaul. Schumer said the party should have focused on helping more of the middle class than the uninsured, whom he called “a small percentage of the electorate.” Schumer added that Obamacare was just one of a “cascade of issues” that the White House had bungled, a list that included the scandal over wait times at VA hospitals and responding to the threat of the Ebola virus.

Does this mean that the Democratic circular firing squad will report to the range ASAP? I’d argue that the signs indicate that they’re already at the range. I’d argue that they’re in the ‘target acquisition’ phase of the operation. This year’s exit polling showed rampant dissatisfaction with Democrats:

If Republicans win 35-40% of the Hispanic vote and win a majority of the Asian-American vote, Democrats will find 2016 to be difficult terrain. If that happens, the infighting that’s happening right now will only intensify.

This graphic shows another Democratic vulnerability:

This graphic is proof that demographics aren’t destiny. Actually, both graphics send the same message. What this exit polling shows is that candidate quality and issues matter. In 2016, especially with presidential candidates, Democrats have a virtually nonexistent bench.

While it’s undeniable that Hillary has 100% name recognition for people who haven’t spent the last 20 years living under a rock, that hardly proves she’s a quality. She’s famous because Bill Clinton is a popular ex-president. She’s famous for being one of the worst secretaries of state in the last century. She isn’t famous for being a competent secretary of state. Political junkies saw how untalented she is during her book tour. The number of deer-in-the-headlights moments easily outdistanced her ‘Hillary looks competent’ moments.

Hillary will lose if Republicans pick a talented governor who doesn’t come with a ton of baggage. That eliminates Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Mitt Romney. If Republicans pick either Scott Walker, John Kasich, Mike Pence or Bobby Jindal, Republicans will defeat Hillary and send the Democratic Party into a tailspin.

It’s time people started highlighting just how often progressives lie. They lie about people. They lie about events. If their lips are moving, especially during campaigns, it’s likely that they’re lying. This video provides proof of progressives’ propensity for lying:

Here’s what Robert Reich said during the campaign:

ROBERT REICH: First, you can forget about the minimum wage. They (Republicans) refuse to raise it even though most minimum wage earners are adults, breadwinners for their families and they need a raise.

It’s verifiably false that most people earning the minimum wage are “breadwinners for their families.” That’s an outright lie. Reich wasn’t done lying. Later, he said this:

Here’s the transcript:

REICH: Third, you can forget our crumbling roads and bridges and pipelines. Republicans won’t invest in what it takes to repair them, even though it would put millions back to work. And letting our infrastructure costs jobs.

The only legislation that the House took up was Bill Cassidy’s bill to force President Obama to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. That was 2 weeks ago today. It passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. The identical bill was submitted by Sen. Landrieu, the woman Cassidy will replace in January. Every Republican senator voted for Sen. Landrieu’s bill. Unfortunately, the vote failed because three-fourths of Democrat senators voted against the bill.

Further, Republicans support building roads and bridges. It’s just that they’re opposed to pouring billions of dollars into light rail boondoggles. Democrats support light rail in sparsely populated parts of the nation, preferring them to upgrading roads and bridges.

The rest of the video is filled with lies, too, but I’ll just recommend you watch the full video rather than transcribing each lie individually:

Tuesday evening, Senate Democrats voted to reject Mary Landrieu’s bill that would’ve forced the federal government into issuing the permits to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. The All Star Panel discussed it on this video:

My favorite part of the segment is the final part of the discussion. Here’s that transcript:

BRET BAIER: George, do you expect a lot of stories on the civil war within the Democratic Party?
(Laughter from George Will and Steve Hayes)
GEORGE WILL: I don’t think so. It is interesting to note that maybe they couldn’t have saved Mary Landrieu but they could’ve at least tried. And they didn’t even try.

The experts knew on Election Night that Mary Landrieu was history. That isn’t surprising to people who’ve followed that race. The Democrats’ circular firing squad hasn’t officially convened in public but it’s certainly started outside the public’s eye. I can’t picture it stopping until there’s political blood on the floor and the Democratic Party is damaged going into 2016.

While this was Sen. Landrieu’s last stand, we’ll have to wait until 2016 for Hillary’s last stand. Behind every ebb and flow in presidential polling is a steady current just beneath the surface. Right now, that current is running against the Democratic Party. They’re no longer the party of hope and change. They’re the party of Washington, DC. They’re the party of obstruction. They’re the party that’s stopped listening to the American people.

Hillary is the poster child for people who stayed too long in DC. Just like Mary Landrieu’s magic has evaporated, so has Hillary’s. Hillary first set foot in DC 24 years ago. She hasn’t left since. While Bill finished his time in office, she established a residence in New York, then immediately ran for Pat Moynihan’s seat. After winning re-election, she launched her first presidential campaign. After getting beaten by Barack Obama, she got picked to be his first Secretary of State.

Just like Sen. Landrieu tried getting her Washington friends to help her win a fourth term, Hillary is counting on her Washington friends to help her win her presidential election. It’s a schtick that Louisiana voters didn’t buy with Sen. Landrieu. It’s a schtick that Americans aren’t likely to buy in 2016.

As for Sen. Landrieu and the Democrats, 2014 was a difficult year, mostly because they ran a bunch of retreads that cast their votes for Obamacare. Isn’t it ironic that the ACA is sinking as fast as Sen. Landrieu’s political career is sinking? Isn’t it ironic that the Democratic Party’s favorability ratings are dropping as fast as the ACA’s favorability ratings are dropping? It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.