Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Tonight, I was stunned and disgusted when Sen. Bakk told the Almanac Roundtable panel what he hoped would come from the possible special session. I was especially startled when Sen. Bakk said “I lived through the 1981 downturn on the Range when waves and waves and waves of Iron Rangers moved to the northern suburbs and had to settle there when most of the mines had to shut down. We’re on the cusp of this again this time and I think that the state coming to their aid and giving them extended unemployment benefits, to give those families some time to make some decisions and maybe get a little closer to see if our federal government will act as some of this unfairly traded steel is coming into this country just to build a bridge for those families because once they run out of unemployment, they’re in a situation of probably having to relocate their families.”

There wasn’t anything in his statement that talked about rebuilding the Iron Range economy. There wasn’t anything in his statement that talked about turning the Iron Range’s economic slide around. His sole focus was on giving families more time to relocate out of his district and Sen. Tomassoni’s district.

The Republican panelists tonight were Sen. David Hann and House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin. The DFL panelists were Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen. When Majority Leader Peppin talked about finding a long-term solution to the Iron Range’s economic problems, House Minority Leader Thissen said that that isn’t what special sessions should be about, that that’s what regular sessions should be about.

It’s beyond ironic that Rep. Thissen, Sen. Bakk, Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature didn’t lift a finger to provide a long-term solution for the Iron Range when there were DFL majorities in the House and Senate and a DFL governor. It’s almost as if the Iron Range was an afterthought, something to worry about only during election years.

When Majority Leader Peppin talked about Gov. Dayton ordering another environmental review, this time involving the Minnesota Department of Health, and cutting through the red tape, Sen. Bakk criticized her, saying that taking a “shortcut” would hurt them when the inevitable lawsuits came. Sen. Bakk didn’t consider the possibility of transforming Minnesota’s environmental review process so that the review is thorough but that it doesn’t last 10-15 years to complete.

This is proof that the DFL’s top priorities are appeasing the environmental activist obstructionists, growing government and appeasing the Metro DFL. They haven’t proven that they care about Iron Range families. Sen. Bakk admitted as much.

I wrote here that the poverty rate is 18% in Hibbing and 24.1% in Virginia. To have Sen. Bakk essentially give up on a once-prosperous region is beyond sad. It’s disgusting.

Tim Pugmire’s article is an attempt to make it sound like Republicans oppose a special session. Nothing is further from the truth. When Pugmire wrote “Minnesota House Republicans threw cold water on a proposed special session Thursday, saying DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan to help laid-off steelworkers doesn’t go far enough,” the intention was to suggest that Republicans oppose a special session. The opposite is true. First, Speaker Daudt “did not rule out the possibility of a special session.” It’s just that Daudt thinks “an extension of unemployment benefits is only a ‘short-term band aid,'” which it is.

Speaker Daudt is right in saying “We want to make sure that the jobs on the Range are long-term and sustainable, and frankly what these folks really want isn’t extended unemployment benefits. They want their job back. So, we want to figure out how to do that.”

It’s clear that the DFL isn’t serious about fixing the Iron Range’s economic structural deficiencies. They’ve had 30 years to fix the Range economy. They’ve failed miserably. That’s indisputable. According to the latest census information for Hibbing, which was for 2009-2013, their median household income was $38,077 and their poverty rate was 18%. Think about that last statistic. Almost one in five people in Hibbing lives below the federal poverty line. The statewide poverty rate is 11.5%, which is virtually half of what it is in Hibbing.

The sad truth is that Hibbing is prosperous compared with Virginia. Virginia’s median household income for 2009-2013 was $32,850. Virginia’s poverty rate was a whopping 24.1%. Accepting a poverty rate of one in four is downright immoral.

The difference between Speaker Daudt and the GOP and Gov. Dayton and the DFL is that the DFL wants to spend money on a short-term fix without fixing the underlying problem. Republicans actually want to fix the problem. If Mr. Pugmire thinks that fixing a problem is a poison pill that the DFL won’t accept, he should say that directly.

Personally, I’d argue that Speaker Daudt and the GOP have exposed the DFL as being the party that doesn’t want to solve big problems.

When it comes to spending money without producing solutions, Sen. Bakk is an expert. He’s even got Gov. Dayton on his side in his fight to spend taxpayers’ money on his latest agenda item. Sen. Bakk thinks that it’s important to “also address Minnesota’s persistent racial inequities” during a potential special session.

Apparently, Sen. Bakk thinks it’s important to extend unemployment benefits “for miners experiencing long-term unemployment” and to “address Minnesota’s persistent racial inequities” without insisting that the Public Utilities Commission approve the building of the Sandpiper pipeline. Building the Sandpiper Pipeline project would actually employ people but that apparently isn’t a priority for Sen. Bakk.

Building Bakk’s Palace was a priority but getting PolyMet’s permits wasn’t Sen. Bakk’s priority. Has he lifted a finger to tell the Minnesota Department of Health to butt out of the PolyMet process? Of course he hasn’t and he won’t because the environmental activist wing of the DFL, which is the dominant wing of the DFL, won’t let him win that fight.

Everyone on the Range knows that the Department of Health study is just latest tactic the environmental activists have employed in their attempt to prevent the creation of good-paying Iron Range jobs. When’s the last time Sen. Bakk fought the environmental activists and won anything longlasting for the mining industry? If you guessed that dinosaurs walked the earth the last time Sen. Bakk fought the environmental activists and won anything longlasting for the mining industry, you wouldn’t be wrong.

The hard-working people of the Iron Range don’t need someone that fights for them. That just takes a temper. What they need is a political party that’ll fight and win for them. Thus far, they’ve resisted that. Hopefully, they’ll get smart and change their voting habits soon. Their families’ financial well-being is at stake.

Sen. Bakk is a typical DFL politician. First, he either creates a problem with terrible policies or he just sits idly by while things deteriorate, then comes rushing in to fix the problem that he created or that he didn’t give a shit about until it was a crisis.

What the Iron Range needs is a legislative delegation that put the Range’s prosperity at the top of their priority list. They don’t have that right now.

The latest spin from progressives is that the questions asked at the CNBC Disaster were “the most substantive” questions asked this debate season:

Cruz ticked off the insults the CNBC moderators had lobbed Wednesday night at the assembled Republicans. “Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues?”

The crowd roared. Republican pollster Frank Luntz reported with some awe that his focus group gave Cruz’s riff a 98. “That’s the highest score we’ve ever measured,” Luntz tweeted. “EVER.”

Cruz’s attack on the moderators was smart politics, but it was almost precisely backwards. The questions in the CNBC debate, though relentlessly tough, were easily the most substantive of the debates so far. And the problem for Republicans is that substantive questions about their policy proposals end up sounding like hostile attacks, but that’s because the policy proposals are ridiculous, not because the questions are actually unfair.

Let me correct those deceptive statements before someone starts thinking that they’re substantive comments worthy of serious consideration. To do that, it’s important to provide context for the debate. CNBC signed a contract that said that this debate would be about economic issues.

John Harwood didn’t meet those expectations. He failed that test early and often. Early on, he asked Donald Trump a question that ended with him saying “Let’s be honest. Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?” That’s Klein’s idea of a substantive, hard-hitting question?

A couple minutes later, Becky Quick asked Dr. Carson a question about his tax plan, saying “Dr. Carson, let’s talk about taxes. You have a flat tax plan of 10 percent flat taxes, and, I’ve looked at it, and this is something that is very appealing to a lot of voters, but I’ve had a really tough time trying to make the math work on this.” Though this sounds like a fair question, it isn’t from the standpoint that Dr. Carson’s flat tax plan, in Dr. Carson’s words, “the rate is gonna be much closer to 15 percent.”

If these are examples of “the most substantive”, hard-hitting questions of the debate season, why are they utterly disrespectful? Why didn’t the ‘moderators’ do their homework and get the basics right? When Harwood asked Sen. Rubio about his tax plan, he got it almost entirely wrong. Here’s that exchange:

HARWOOD: Senator Rubio, 30 seconds to you. The Tax Foundation, which was alluded to earlier, scored your tax plan and concluded that you give nearly twice as much of a gain in after-tax income to the top 1 percent as to people in the middle of the income scale. Since you’re the champion of Americans living paycheck-to- paycheck, don’t you have that backward?
RUBIO: No, that’s — you’re wrong. In fact, the largest after- tax gains is for the people at the lower end of the tax spectrum under my plan. And there’s a bunch of things my tax plan does to help them.
Number one, you have people in this country that…
HARWOOD: The Tax Foundation — just to be clear, they said the…
RUBIO: …you wrote a story on it, and you had to go back and correct it.
HARWOOD: No, I did not.
RUBIO: You did. No, you did.

Sean Davis’ article settles that matter permanently by posting Harwood’s tweet saying that he “had to go back and correct it”:

John Harwood? Verified account ?
?@JohnJHarwood CORRECTING earlier tweet: Tax Foundation says Rubio benefits lowest 10% proportionally more (55.9) than top 1% (27.9%). Avg for all: 17.8%.

It’s stunning that the DNC apologists that call themselves journalists can’t even get their facts straight. They can’t even admit that they’ve made mistakes when it’s highlighted that they’ve made major mistakes. Harwood’s mistake was so bad that the Tax Foundation corrected him in a tweet…during the debate:

Scott A. Hodge ?@scottahodge
Rubio was right about his plan. Poor get larger tax benefit than the rich. #CNBCGOPdebate …

These aren’t substantive, hard-hitting questions. If I wanted to write a 3,000 word article on the flimsy, unprofessional questions asked at the CNBC I could do it without much effort. When a moderator asks whether fantasy football should be regulated, the candidates should have the right to criticize the moderators.

Allahpundit’s post about Donald Trump is essentially a report on Mr. Trump’s latest whining after getting hit with negative publicity. According to the headline of AP’s article, Trump’s attorney will sue the Club for Growth if they don’t immediately stop running a negative ad about Mr. Trump’s liberal positions.

According to AP’s post, Alan Garten, Trump’s general counsel, said “Mr. Trump does not support higher taxes. This is the very definition of libel.” Unfortunately for Mssrs. Garten and Trump, Mr. Trump recently said “that he’d lower taxes on the middle class but ‘would let people making hundreds of millions of dollars-a-year pay some tax, because right now they are paying very little tax and I think it’s outrageous.'”

In other words, Mr. Trump is threatening to sue Club for Growth for telling the truth about his position on raising taxes. Good luck peddling that with a jury. That’s if it makes it that far, which isn’t likely.

The threat of litigation is meant to distract attention from what Mr. Trump doesn’t want people to think about. With that in mind, let’s focus on what Mr. Trump doesn’t want us to focus on. I’m betting that they don’t want people focusing on Trump’s support “a one-time tax of 14.25 percent on the superwealthy 15 years ago.” In 2000, the federal government was running a massive surplus. They were on track to eliminate the debt by 2020.

At a time when the economy was humming along, creating jobs, wealth and huge surpluses, why tinker with what’s working? Despite that, that’s precisely what Trump proposed.

Mr. Trump loves portraying himself as a genius who will get America’s economy growing again. Though there’s proof that he knows how to make money for himself, there’s nothing in his past that says he knows what policies will get America’s economy growing again.

UPDATE: Trump’s whining is getting tiresome. Trump’s Twitter obsession with Megyn Kelly is beyond tiresome:

Do you ever notice that lightweight @megynkelly constantly goes after me but when I hit back it is totally sexist. She is highly overrated!

What I’ve noticed is that Megyn hasn’t complained about Trump’s attacks. She’s repeatedly said that she’s a big girl that shrugs attacks off. The same can’t be said of Trump.

He’s the poster child of thin-skinned whiners.

Simply put, Trump tweeted this to draw attention away from his pathetic substance-free replies on national security. That won’t work, Mr. Trump. Why pick a whiny reality TV host when we can pick a real commander-in-chief? That’s right. We shouldn’t.

Greg Sargent’s post highlights how the Democrats will attempt to use Donald Trump’s and Jeb Bush’s words against Republicans during the upcoming budget fight. Republicans should reject the Democrats’ proposal outright. Then they should launch a counteroffensive to hit them at their weakest points. At this point, most readers of LFR are probably laughing, saying that congressional Republicans don’t have the spine for that. I don’t disagree. I said that’s what they should do. I didn’t say that that’s what they would do.

Sen. Schumer is planning on using Mr. Trump’s and Gov. Bush’s statements on taxes against Republicans. According to Sen. Schumer’s office, he’ll say today “There is a developing solution that could help us strike a budget deal. If closing the carried interest loophole, ending subsidies for oil and gas, and tackling inversions are good enough for Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, it ought to be good enough for Republicans in Congress.”

Republicans should attack Democrats for recommending the shrinking of the military to dangerous levels, especially in terms of size of force structure and military readiness in terms of protecting against terrorist attacks and destroying ISIS.

Further, Republicans should make the moral case against funding Planned Parenthood. There’s no justification for funding them when there are other, less objectionable options. If Democrats want to turn this into a front in their contrived ‘war on women’ campaign, Republicans should be prepared to offer a better alternative.

I wish I could say that I’m surprised with President Obama’s Labor Day diatribe but I’d be lying if I said that. If people haven’t noticed by now, 2 of President Obama’s dominant character traits are his love of NBA-style trash-talking and his inability to resist bragging up his pathetic economic policies. Simply put, he’s a legend in his own mind. He’s also a confirmed liar.

Part of the freshest proof that he’s a confirmed liar is when he said “The fact is the verdict is in: Middle-class economics works.” Mr. President, that isn’t a fact. That’s an opinion. Actually, it’s an opinion that’s shared only within the farthest left part of the Democratic Party. Vice President Biden doesn’t  even believe that. Mr. President, if “middle class economics” is working, why did Vice President Biden say that “the U.S. economy” was “devastating for workers”? Mr. President, if “middle-class economics” work, why are the U.S. economic policies you’ve put in place producing the most anemic ‘sustained’ economic growth since the Great Depression?

This part of President Obama’s speech is exceptionally ironic:

“Unfortunately, there are some folks in Washington and some folks who are trying to get to Washington who don’t want to face these facts … in their world, the only way to help the country grow and help the country get ahead is to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires.”

“And then you just wait,” he said, “you look up at the sky and prosperity will come raining down on us from whatever high rise is in your city. But that’s not how the economy works. These folks are pretty stubborn. I will give them credit. They don’t let facts or evidence get in the way.”

Mr. President, why do you insist that your opponents “don’t let facts or evidence get in the way” of their economic arguments when it’s you that has ignored anemic GDP statistics and things like the Workforce Participation Rate, which is at its lowest rate in 38 years? If “middle-class economics” works, why are 94,000,000 people who normally would be in the workforce not looking for work?

The truth is that President Obama’s policies are failed policies. It’s time to stop this disaster. It’s time to implement pro-growth economic policies. It’s time to roll back 90% of the Obama administration’s job-killing regulations.

President Obama still hasn’t admitted that you can’t be for a strong middle class and anti-job creators.

Recently, President Obama’s sympathizers have tried making the case that he’s as consequential as Ronald Reagan. If they define consequential as doing historic things that are disastrous, then President Obama has been consequential.

Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster. Premiums are sharply higher. Deductibles have exploded. Choices are fewer. Networks are limited. We’re forced into buying policies that cover things that we don’t need. We couldn’t keep our doctors even though we were promised that we could.

Despite that, President Obama insists that he’s protected the middle class:

After having a friendly chat on the tarmac at LaCrosse Regional Airport with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, President Obama made fun of the GOP field jockeying to succeed him and ripped into Walker’s actions as governor.

“You all have enough for an actual Hunger Games,” Obama said about the large Republican presidential field. “That is an interesting bunch,” he quipped before explaining why trickle-down economics doesn’t work.

He said that many of the contenders are proposing ideas that they say would benefit the middle class. “Tammy, Ron, me — we were talking about the middle class before it was cool,” he said referring to Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Ron Kind, whose district encompasses LaCrosse, who were in the audience at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse auditorium. “We were talking about it before the polls” said politicians “should be talking about it,” he added.

Mr. President, talking about the middle class isn’t the same as improving middle class lives. President Reagan created more high-paying union jobs than you’ve created jobs. That’s before talking about how many companies shifted from full-time employees to “29ers.” Mr. President, is it a triumph that companies shifted from full-time jobs to part-time jobs?

That’s what Obamacare did. It also created “49ers.” Let’s review. 29ers are employees whose hours were cut from 40 hours to 29 hours to avoid having to provide health insurance to the. 49ers are companies that’ve chosen to not expand past 49 employees so they don’t have to comply with the employer mandate.

In September, 1983, the US economy created 1,100,000 good-paying full-time jobs. Thanks to President Reagan’s policies, we had 6 straight quarters of economic growth of more than 5%. Internationally, the United States vanquished the Evil Empire, aka the Soviet Union. President Obama resurrected it. Israel knew it could count the United States as a steadfast ally. President Obama couldn’t push Israel to the side quickly enough.

Thanks to President Obama’s policies of non-intervention, the global terrorist network is expanding rapidly. President Reagan’s policies of militarism checked Soviet expansionist policies.

We’ll be cleaning up President Obama’s messes for years. By comparison, President Reagan’s economic policies ushered in a quarter century of unprecedented economic growth.

Gov. Dayton is proudly proclaiming that Minnesota is the best state to do business in. He’s basing that propaganda on CNBC’s latest ranking. After looking at how they arrived at the categories that they ranked states on, it’s easy to see how CNBC arrived at their ridiculous ratings. First, it’s important to know this about the rating system:

For example, if more states tout their low business costs, the “Cost of Doing Business” category carries greater weight. That way, our study ranks the states based on the criteria they use to sell themselves.

According to CNBC’s report, workforce is the most important category, followed by cost of doing business and infrastructure, economy, quality of life, technology & innovation, education, business friendliness, cost of living and, finally, access to capital.

Minnesota ranked 13th in workforce, 35th in cost of doing business, 9th in infrastructure, 5th in economy, 3rd in quality of life, 6th in technology and innovation, 2nd in education, 23rd in business friendliness, 32nd in cost of living and 23rd in access to capital.

CNBC’s ratings only tell us what the states think of themselves. They don’t tell us what businesses think of the state. The fact that more businesses are leaving Minnesota than are moving to Minnesota is the best indicator of what businesses think.

That isn’t to say that Minnesota is getting everything wrong. There are some things that we can build off of. It’s just that there’s a handful of important things that we’d better correct if we want to be the best. Lowering the cost of doing business is essential. That’s only possible by streamlining government, especially regulations. Cutting special deals with a couple companies to entice them here, then shafting businesses that are already here, which the Dayton administration has done, needs to change, too.

UPDATE: King Banaian’s article for the Center for the American Experiment highlights similar points. This point is especially noteworthy:

If you’re a state that isn’t particularly business friendly, you don’t talk about that in your marketing materials. You emphasize other things. You puff your materials with discussion of quality of life and how hardworking your workers are and ignore the areas where your policies might make business a little harder to conduct. And CNBC will go right along and take weight off those things, if the rest of the states are doing the same thing.

I can’t emphasize enough the fact that CNBC’s article isn’t a serious economic statement. It’s a statement based off of the states’ PR statements.

Hillary is getting desperate in rebuilding the Obama coalition. There’s no policy too stupid that Hillary won’t support if she thinks it’ll win a handful of votes. Check this out:

Speaking by telephone, Clinton told the more than 1,300 fast food workers gathered at a convention in Detroit that every worker deserves a fair wage and the right to unionize. “I want to be your champion. I want to fight with you every day,” said Clinton, who kicked off her presidential campaign in April saying she wants to be the champion for “everyday Americans.”

The call was another step to the left for Clinton, as she vies for the Democratic nod with progressive candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley. She told the assembled crowd that they should continue building the Fight for 15 movement, which is pressing employers to raise workers’ pay.

Bill Clinton, John Kasich and Newt Gingrich put policies in place that created a vibrant economy, something that President Obama hasn’t done. While Wall Street got rich during the Obama administration, Main Street workers got left behind. By pushing for a doubling of the minimum wage, Hillary is signaling that she’ll fight for the same economic principles that’ve led to this stagnant economy.

Paying fast food workers $15/hr. won’t improve the economy. It’ll cause fast food operations to trim the number of employees. Unemployment rates for young people and minorities will go higher.

Clinton’s support for the movement also comes at a time when a growing number of states and cities are raising their minimum wage. Los Angeles is among the latest locales to boost minimum pay to $15 an hour. Just how high a wage hike Clinton supports, however, remains a mystery. The candidate has not provided a figure yet.

Since Hillary explicitly supported the Fight for Fifteen movement, that means Hillary supports a $15/hr. minimum wage. If Hillary wants to explain why she isn’t supporting an increase to $15/hr., let her. That’ll just expose her as a political opportunist to the Fight for Fifteen people. It’ll say that she isn’t one of them like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders are.

Frankly, I’d love seeing people attack Hillary as a parasite feasting off of corporate largess while pretending she’s fighting for “everyday Americans.”

Technorati: , , , , , , , , ,