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I’ll cut straight to the chase. Nan Madden’s op-ed in the St. Cloud Times is disgustingly dishonest. Check this lie out:

Large tax cuts passed at the end of the 1990s and 2000s proved to be unsustainable, and were followed by deep cuts in higher education, affordable child care and other services.

That’s total BS. First, the “large tax cuts passed at the end of the 1990s and 2000s” weren’t unsustainable. What happened is that the US economy took a major, lengthy hit because of 9-11, then the first banking crisis. If not for that major recession, the Jesse Checks would’ve been totally sustainable. Madden’s disgust with tax cuts is based more on misinformation and misguided ideology than by facts.

Her ideology is hard left. First, Madden is the director of the Minnesota Budget Project. MBP is part of an organization called Invest in Minnesota, an organization that “was founded by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition(JRLC) and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN).”

According to IIM’s website, “Invest in Minnesota is united around two core principles:

  1. Revenue-raising must be a significant part of the solution to resolving the state’s budget deficit.
  2. The overall package of fair revenue-raising must make the tax system fairer.

It isn’t difficult to figure out why The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the Minnesota Budget Project hates tax cuts of any kind. Check out MCN’s agenda page:

I’d also argue that the tax cuts were large. Here’s some details on the Jesse Checks program:

“In late summer, I get to stand here and say, the checks are in the mail.”

Ventura pushed for returning surplus money in the form of a sales tax rebate, which some Minnesotans have come to call “Jesse checks.” This year, the average check is $512 for a married couple or head of household, and $232 for a single filer. State officials say all eligible taxpayers should receive their checks by Labor Day. But Ventura cautions that this may be the last year of rebate checks, since the state has cut taxes and the economy has slowed. “We are not bringing in the money that we used to bring in prior to my administration, and in light of that, and the economy, there may not be a fourth,” says Ventura.

Nan Madden is the type of person that thinks the government and the NPOs they support should get first dibs on the money Minnesotans earn. She thinks that because she can’t envision a world where NPOs don’t get first dibs on the taxpayers’ money.

Minnesota Budget Project, like Invest in Minnesota, pushed hard to pass a major minimum wage increase that includes cost of living adjustment. They’re currently pushing for a law that would require companies to pay for sick leave for their employees. It isn’t surprising that businesses have left Minnesota.

For nearly two decades, the Minnesota Budget Project has analyzed state tax and budget choices, and called for policies that propel Minnesota toward a future where all of us have access to opportunity and economic well-being.

That’s similar to the truth but it isn’t complete. Here’s the whole truth about the Minnesota Budget Project. The Minnesota Budget Project supports economic policies that support intrusive, ever-growing government. If that means intruding on businesses’ decisions for ‘the greater good’, they’re fine with that.

They aren’t a pro-growth organization any more than the Obama administration is a pro-growth administration.

If anything is clear, it’s that Hillary Clinton’s policies can be purchased. Russia wants to buy American uranium. Not a problem. Hire Bill to give a speech and I’ll approve the purchase. The Saudis wanted Hillary to ignore their treatment of women. Not a problem. Contribute $25,000,000 to the Clinton Foundation and I’ll develop a blind spot. Hillary thinks that the United States is waging a war on women because taxpayers won’t pay for birth control pills they think are abortifacients. Hillary doesn’t think that the Saudis are waging a war on women even though they treat women like property and allow genital mutilation.

It’s amazing the types of twisted thoughts a deceitful person can pretzel themselves into if they’re desperate to please everyone all the time. Hillary desperately wants to keep the Democratic field all to herself. She desperately wants to keep Elizabeth Warren on the sidelines. To quote Ron Fournier, “If Elizabeth Warren called for full Communism, Clinton would be at the barricades the next day.” Hillary desperately wants to convince people that she’s listening to them. She isn’t:

Hillary has been a presidential candidate for weeks. (Some might think it’s years.) She still hasn’t said how she’d grow the economy for the middle class. All she’s said is that she wants to be “a champion for everyday people.”

It’s impossible to be “a champion for everyday people” when you’re putting your policies up for sale to the highest bidder. It’s impossible to be that champion if your family’s foundation is constantly accepting multimillion dollar contributions from multinational corporations, international businessmen and foreign countries with terrible human rights records. Champions for everyday people should fight for small businesses and reduced regulations. Hillary the Champion of Everyday People has fought her entire political career for overregulation of small businesses and higher taxes on entrepreneurs.

She’s done that because she’s a wholly owned subsidiary of major multinational corporations. When they contribute to the Clinton Foundation, she dances to their tune. BTW, shouldn’t Elizabeth Warren, who’s always talking about how the game is rigged against everyday people, be upset about Hillary’s betrayal of everyday people? Shouldn’t Hillary’s sellout be enough provocation to get Sen. Warren into the race? Isn’t it possible that she isn’t interested because Sen. Warren isn’t worried about the game being rigged?

You can’t be for everyday people when your highest priority is pandering to multinational corporations and foreign countries with terrible human rights records. That’s what bought-and-paid-for corporatists do.

The question before the American people is whether they’ll settle for the political equivalent of a used car salesman or whether they’ll demand a fresh face with new ideas.

It isn’t surprising that AFSCME is singing Gov. Dayton’s praises. It’s as surprising as finding out that the Clinton Foundation isn’t a charity.

Facing a deep natural recession and a $6 billion budget deficit, Minnesotans voted in progressive Gov. Mark Dayton, who ran on a tax-the-rich platform that included investment in people and infrastructure.

Dayton pushed a sharp increase on taxes for the top 2 percent to pay for his plan. And soon he and legislators passed laws that expanded unionization, froze college tuition, increased the minimum wage, required equal pay for women, legalized same-sex marriage, eased voter restrictions, boosted primary education spending and established all-day kindergarten.

AFSCME is right. Minnesota’s economy took right off after they legalized same-sex marriage and required equal pay for women. It’s established fact that entrepreneurs insisted that they wouldn’t hire another worker until government implemented those policies.

Legalizing same-sex marriage and requiring equal pay for women had as much to do with Minnesota’s economic growth as raising taxes on small businesses.

In Minnesota, Dayton turned that $6 billion budget deficit into a more than $2 billion surplus in just one term. Minnesota added 172,000 jobs and its 3.6 percent unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country.

Let’s compare that with this information:

Since February 2011, Wisconsin’s employable population has grown by about 100,000 people, but the number of people employed increased by about 135,000. That means employment outpaced population growth significantly.

But how does it compare with national employment growth? One important measure is the percentage of the employable population that is actually employed, what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the employment-population ratio. The U.S. employment-population ratio has grown 1.5% since Mr. Walker took charge. Yet Wisconsin’s employment-population ratio has jumped 2.5%—significantly more than the national improvement rate. Wisconsin is also gaining ground against other states. In February 2011 Wisconsin ranked 12th in employment-population ratio. It now ranks ninth.

First, creating 172,000 jobs vs. creating 135,000 jobs is good news for the additional 37,000 people. Still, that isn’t a huge difference. Furthermore, Wisconsin’s LFPR is impressive:

Wisconsin’s current 68.4% labor-force participation rate is particularly noteworthy because it represents an uptick over the past year from a low of 68.1%. Nationally, the average labor-force participation rate has declined to lows last seen during the Carter administration.

The national LFPR is currently 62.7%. If that was the same as it was when President Obama was inaugurated, the national unemployment rate would be over 9%.

Wisconsin’s economy is creating jobs while cutting deeply into Wisconsin’s long-term unemployment rate. Minnesota should be that lucky.

Democrats have tried criticizing Scott Walker’s economic policies as a way to argue he’s unqualified to be president. This WSJ op-ed offers some statistics that prove Scott Walker’s more than qualified:

Since February 2011, Wisconsin’s employable population has grown by about 100,000 people, but the number of people employed increased by about 135,000. That means employment outpaced population growth significantly.

But how does it compare with national employment growth? One important measure is the percentage of the employable population that is actually employed, what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the employment-population ratio. The U.S. employment-population ratio has grown 1.5% since Mr. Walker took charge. Yet Wisconsin’s employment-population ratio has jumped 2.5%—significantly more than the national improvement rate. Wisconsin is also gaining ground against other states. In February 2011 Wisconsin ranked 12th in employment-population ratio. It now ranks ninth.

In other words, it’s pretty obvious that Gov. Walker’s policies have Wisconsin heading in the right direction. Those aren’t the only statistics that show his policies are working. Here’s more:

Wisconsin’s current 68.4% labor-force participation rate is particularly noteworthy because it represents an uptick over the past year from a low of 68.1%. Nationally, the average labor-force participation rate has declined to lows last seen during the Carter administration.

The national workforce participation rate is significantly worse:

Since February 2011, the national labor-force participation rate has dropped to 62.7%, from 64.2%.

The national unemployment rate has dropped because people quit looking for work. If the current LFPR was the same as it was when President Obama took office, unemployment would be 9%. Conversely, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has dropped because Gov. Walker’s policies are eating into long-term unemployment.

Another thing that has to be factored into this equation is the fact that Act 10 has shrunk school districts’ expenses to the point that they’re hiring additional teachers and giving other teachers raises. That means Wisconsin is feeling the recovery. That isn’t happening nationally.

You’ll want to read Scott Rasmussen’s article if you want to what’s driving the 2016 election. I’ll highlight here a couple things that Mr. Rasmussen things are important:

It’s all about personal finances—Some believe it’s about the economy, which is a close substitute. But what really matters is how people feel about their own personal finances. If people are feeling much better about their own finances in a year, that would be good news for the Democratic nominee. If things stay the same or get worse, it’s bad news for the president’s party.

The White House has regurgitated their chanting points on the economy whenever there’s a monthly jobs report or a quarterly GDP report. Their economic team could probably recited it in their sleep. That means nothing to voters.

Because the Obama administration’s policies help big corporations, people working for big corporations have done well, especially with their stock market investments. They weren’t hurt by excessive regulations like small businesses have been hurt.

Small businesses have gotten hit with tons of additional costs through regulations. Because much of their would-be profits have gotten eaten by compliance costs, they haven’t been able to expand their businesses or give employees raises.

The Big Blue Wall is a Myth—Democrats argue that all they have to do is win states that consistently voted for their party since 1992 and they just about have the Electoral College locked up. The problem with this theory is that it’s the result of the Republicans winning a majority of the popular vote only once in the past six elections. If a Republican does better in the popular vote, he or she will win some of those states Democrats think they have locked up.

I recently sat down with the red state-blue state map for 2012. Democrats, we’re told, have 242 electoral votes in their column. Republicans have 199 electoral votes in their column. It’s likely that Florida will flip back into the red column. That’s 29 EVs. I can’t picture Hillary doing well in blue collar Ohio. If that’s flipped into the red column, that’s another 18 EVs. Those states’ results suddenly put the race 246 Republicans, 242 Democrats. Colorado will likely flip for the Republicans, too. That’s another 9 EVs, putting the GOP ticket at 255 EVs. Winning Iowa’s 6 EVs and Wisconsin’s 12 EVs puts Republicans at 273. That’s before talking about Virginia, New Mexico, Nevada and New Hampshire.

It’s likely that Hillary will run a ‘War on Women’ campaign. The question isn’t whether that will be Hillary’s strategy. The question is whether she’s a terrible candidate who’ll be seen as manipulative and contrived. Thus far, Hillary hasn’t shown that she’s got the political talent required to pull that off. I think that the thing that other pundits have called rust is really Hillary’s lack of talent. If her last name was Miller, I don’t think the DC punditry would call her a top tier talent.

According to the St. Cloud Downtown Council’s latest newsletter, the lofts that I highlighted in this post are a “game changer.” Here’s what the newsletter said:

We’re hoping that this proposed loft-style market rate condominium will soon be built on the corner of 523 W. St. Germain St.

Today, Downtown is fast becoming the economic, cultural and social center of a dynamic region. Additional housing assures round-the-clock activity and the businesses to support it. According to the latest studies, the trend is going back to “downtown living” because it is more sustainable and simply more enjoyable. St. Cloud’s size, location, and history make it an ideal community to capitalize on these new trends and help pave the way for the future of this city.

We are in a rare position to re-brand our self and capitalize on these emerging trends. The timing is now and together we can continue to create a community that people will be drawn to, not only to visit, but to live. Thank you to all that have been involved in this project along the way for your vision, assistance and support.

The DTC has their fingers crossed; this is a game changer!

That’s some interesting spin. Talking about sustainability in terms of economic development sets off tons of red flags. Economic development and the environmental movement don’t fit together. Further, what studies show downtown St. Cloud turning into “the economic, cultural and social center of a dynamic region”?

If these studies are legitimate, which I’d doubt, why should I accept as fact that these condominiums are the key to revitalizing downtown St. Cloud? If these condominiums are the key to rebranding downtown St. Cloud, what’s the DTC’s Plan B if this doesn’t work?

Better yet, is revitalization of downtown St. Cloud a higher priority than keeping stores from leaving? That’s already happening but we don’t have an answer for why it’s happening. Lots of projects have been tried in downtown St. Cloud over the last 5 years. Most have failed. The ones that haven’t succeeded failed because they tried turning St. Cloud into something it isn’t or because they were totally out of character with St. Cloud.

The condo projects that’ve worked were built in neighborhood settings, not in downtown St. Cloud. Perhaps the Downtown Council should scrap their studies and study that model before supporting this project. (I suspect most of the studies the DTC are more wishful thinking than scholarly studies.)

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Brian Beutler’s article is a testimony to how warped hardline progressives’ thinking is. Check this out:

At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years. So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works.

As a theme, this riff should have struck a chord with the conservative movement’s myriad Reaganologists.

This, supposedly, is Beutler’s attempt to prove that Barack Obama is the next Reagan. Let’s check that comparison. The ‘Obama Recovery’ is still the slowest recovery in history. It’s created few full-time jobs. Most of the jobs it’s created are part-time jobs. Economic growth has stagnated because a) regulation has skyrocketed and b) Obamacare became the law of the land.

Most of the full-time jobs that’ve been created were created in spite of Obama’s policies. Think Texas, which is pretty much putting anti-Obama policies in place, and North Dakota, where the Bakken Boom is happening because they didn’t have to deal with Obama’s oppressive, stifling regulations.

Any comparison with Reagan is foolish. In September, 1983, the economy created 1,100,000 jobs. For 6 straight quarters, GDP topped 5%. Thus far, the economy hasn’t grown by 4% two quarters in a row. It hasn’t had back-to-back quarters topping 3.5%.

Comparing Obamanomics with Reaganomics is like comparing a small plate of tofu with a thick, juicy steak with a side of hash browns. They’re both food but that’s where the similarity ends.

The economy’s rapid growth in recent quarters has scrambled these assumptions, and now the White House is pitching the Reagan comparison to political reporters in Washington.

What rapid growth? Seriously? Economists will slap down Beutler’s claims in a New York minute.

“All historical analogies are imperfect,” Obama’s senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told me recently, but “people connected the economic success of the ’80s to Reagan’s policies and Democrats also became convinced that the only way to win was to move to the middle. … We want to make sure people understand the policies we put in place, how they work, how they’ve improved their situation, so when Republicans get back into it we’ll have shifted the four corners of the political debate to the left.”

First, there’s no question that President Obama’s policies are definitely to the left of where people are at. Further, there’s no question that it’ll take time to fix the myriad of messes President Obama has created.

Finally, here are the biggest ways to show Obama isn’t like Reagan:

  1. Economic growth was robust during the last 6 years of Reagan’s time in office.
  2. Economic growth during President Obama’s time in office has been pathetic.
  3. Reagan’s national security policies brought the Soviet empire to its knees.
  4. President Obama’s policies of appeasement has helped terrorism expand its control while threatening most of the civilized world.

Other than that, Obama’s accomplishments are virtually identical with Reagan’s.

This morning, Mitt Romney officially announced that he isn’t running for president:

Mitt Romney announced Friday he will not run for president in 2016, after briefly flirting with a third White House run — a decision that only slightly narrows the crowded field of potential Republican candidates.

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Romney said in a written statement. He also was announcing his plans on a conference call with donors Friday morning.

Though this is a bit of a surprise, it might be as simple as Mitt being unable to put together a national organization rather than him not wanting to run. It might also be that he’s finally accepted the fact that he’s history in the eyes of GOP activists.

Lots of people, myself included, think he would’ve been vastly superior to President Obama. Obama’s national security policies are a disaster. President Obama’s economic policies have revived terminology like new normal. President Obama’s economic policies haven’t revived talk about a booming economy.

Mitt won the nomination in 2012 against a weaker field than this year’s field of candidates. Adding to Mitt’s worries is the fact that he started talking like a liberal. That isn’t how to win the GOP nomination. Mitt was a compromised candidate in 2012, too. He couldn’t take the fight to President Obama on President Obama’s biggest failure, aka Obamacare. This time around, Mitt would’ve had to fight against the economic accomplishments and conservative reforms of people like Scott Walker and Rick Perry.

The simple fact is that Mitt couldn’t win.

If there’s anything that Erin Murphy knows how to do, it’s spin the DFL’s BS. Here’s a perfect example of that ‘ability’ showcased:



That’s rich coming from a DFL legislator who’s voted repeatedly to shaft the Iron Range without giving them the mine to go with it. Throughout the Iron Range, income inequality is rampant. The poverty level on the Iron Range is frightening. The Iron Range’s middle class is almost nonexistent. Still, Rep. Murphy is lecturing Republicans about income inequality? She should be ashamed of herself. (She won’t be but she should be.)

The DFL’s metrocentric bent is quite noticeable. The DFL has shoveled tons of K-12 funding into the Twin Cities but they barely throw a scrap to the Iron Range. The DFL certainly doesn’t work to open mines that would help build an actual middle class in northern Minnesota.

Still, it’s difficult to feel sorry for Rangers. They’re the people that keep electing politicians that take them for granted.

This MPR article highlights the distinct differences between the DFL’s and the MNGOP’s priorities. Check this out:

Minnesota Senate Democrats want free education at the state’s two-year colleges, loan forgiveness for rural doctors and dentists and a program to link up career-minded students with employers in need of skilled workers. Their initial batch of bills would also fund early childhood education, child protection measures and disaster relief for counties hit by storms last summer.

Republicans contend that tax reductions for businesses are the best way to boost the economy and grow jobs. Toward that end, the first bill introduced by House Republicans calls for a series of business tax cuts.

Our ‘friends’ at the Alliance for a Better Minnesota are predictably criticizing Republicans’ approach in this e-letter:

Gary,

The Republicans in the Minnesota House just released their priorities for the year. And I’ll give you one guess what is included. Tax cuts for businesses. Sounds pretty familiar, right?

Republicans regained the majority this fall, giving them the chance to implement their priorities after being in the minority for two years. And this is what they chose.

Once again, Republicans chose big corporations over real commitments to working families, schools, roads, bridges, and colleges. This has been their main priority for years, and it looks like nothing has changed.

Actually, ABM is lying through their teeth on the tax cuts. It’s indisputable that they’re directed at businesses. It’s totally disputable, though, that they’re directed at “big corporations.” Many of the Dayton/DFL tax increases were characterized as taxing the rich. The truth is, though, that most of the DFL’s tax increases were on small businesses.

The reality is that lots of sole proprietorships and LLCs are the DFL’s targets. The wealthy have their wealth protected and don’t pay much in taxes. They’re essentially protected from the DFL’s tax increases.

This statement is pathetic:

Bakk also criticized the quickness of Republicans to pursue tax cuts. He said that approach has been tried, and failed. “I just do not believe that you can drive economic development by reducing a business’s taxes,” he said. “Because, one, you have no assurance that it’s going to get passed on to build the business.”

That’s BS. When Gov. Dayton tried recruiting companies to relocate to Minnesota, he put together a package of tax cuts for them. Further, it’s important that Sen. Bakk answer whether businesses expansion is possible without capital formation. The answer to that is it isn’t.

ABM and the DFL have shown that they’re anti-jobs. You can’t be pro-employee and anti-employer. It’s that simple.

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