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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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One question that Gov. Dayton and the DFL have continually refused to answer is where the proposed pipelines are. Gov. Dayton, the DFL and their allies in the environmental movement constantly cite the need for additional studies to make sure the pipeline won’t hurt Minnesota’s supposedly pristine waters.

Whatever their arguments, the truth is that Gov. Dayton, the DFL and environmental organizations don’t want pipelines built. As a result, farmers are getting hurt and cities along rail lines are at greater safety risk. The Anoka County Watchdog highlighted the problem:

One of the most prolific offenders in this regard is Governor Dayton, whose incompetence creates numerous problems he then attempts “solve,” mostly by wrongly blaming others for starting the fire.
Such was the case this week, when the Governor showed up in Coon Rapids for a roundtable discussion on rail congestion in the city and the attendant problems it is causing.

The city is home to two mainline tracks which carry a large volume of freight to the West Coast. These tracks have become congested, mostly because of oil trains, which is causing not only an inconvenience, but is creating safety issues as trains block intersections and the oil trains remain a risk for derailment.

I don’t often give advice but I’ll make an exception this time. If the GOP majority in the House of Representatives want to put the DFL in a difficult position, they should vote on legislation that puts a time limit on how long it takes from initial application to final up-or-down vote.

That doesn’t mean all pipeline projects be approved in that time period. It simply means the regulating bodies have to vote up or down. The regulating body would have to explain why they rejected a pipeline company’s application. For instance, the Public Utilities Commission couldn’t just call for examining different routes. If the PUC rejected the application, they’d have to give a substantive, point-by-point explanation for why they rejected a pipeline company’s application.

If the DFL majority in the Senate rejected the House bill, then they’d have to explain to voters why they voted against freeing up railcar space for farmers. That’d expose the DFL as being anti-farmer and/or anti-outstate Minnesota.

In 2014, the DFL insisted that they weren’t anti-outstate Minnesota. In 2016, they couldn’t make that argument because Republicans would have substantive proof for their accusations..

Don Davis’s article is the perfect starting point for highlighting the upcoming fight between Minnesota’s farmers and Twin Cities environmentalists:

From Gov. Mark Dayton on down, it is common to hear them wishing that Minnesota had a resource worth as much as that being pumped from the Bakken oil field in western North Dakota. Then, almost without pause, a politician can pivot and complain that North Dakota’s oil makes Minnesota a more dangerous state.

So it was no surprise the other day when the Minnesota Legislative Energy Commission slipped, as if on an oil puddle, from talking about rail congestion slowing the delay of coal to power plants to the dangers of railroads transporting oil across the state. Rail safety is not in the commission’s portfolio, but over the past couple of years, the nine or 10 oil trains a day that pass through Minnesota has become an explosive issue in the Capitol.

Six or seven trains, each with at least 100 cars of oil, travel from Moorhead through the Twin Cities and on southeast each day, headed to Midwest and East Coast refineries. Fewer go from North Dakota, then south through Willmar and Marshall to Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast. So when Dave Christianson of the Minnesota Department of Transportation was telling the commissioner about rail congestion that many blame on North Dakota crude oil, questions arose about rail oil safety.

Last fall, Gov. Dayton sidestepped why the commissioners he appointed to the Public Utilities Commission voted to stall building the Sandpiper Pipeline by 3-5 years. Minnesota is at a tipping point, a crisis:

Christianson said that if every pipeline proposed through 2025 is built, “we could empty all the oil trains being moved today.” However, he quickly added, Bakken production is growing so fast that its output would be so big that pipelines could not handle it all and the same number of oil trains would be needed as are on the tracks today.

In other words, Minnesota needs to throw environmentalists under the bus. It’s indisputable that pipelines are the safest way of transporting oil from the oil fields to refineries. It’s equally indisputable that they aren’t 100% safe. What’s sad is that environmentalists insist that they be perfectly safe.

They insist on that knowing that that isn’t possible.

Meanwhile, farmers can’t get their grains to market and iron ore can’t get their ore to steel mills. Environmentalists have consistently won those fights during the Obama administration. Now we’re facing a crisis. We’re experiencing a fracking boom but we don’t have the infrastructure to transport the oil & natural gas fracking is producing.

This year, the DFL will have to decide if they’re pro-farmer or pro-environmentalist. Gas prices are dropping. Home heating bills are less expensive. Families are liking the fact that they’ve got more money in their pockets when they finish paying their bills. That trend isn’t likely to stop anytime soon:

Paul Thissen’s op-ed, which was also published in the Rochester Post-Bulletin, had so spin that I couldn’t fit it into one post. Here’s more of Thissen’s spin:

They voted against the Homestead Credit Refund that provided $120 million in direct property tax relief to 450,000 homeowners, helping reduce statewide property taxes for the first time in 12 years.

Bill Salisbury’s article quickly discredits Thissen’s spin:

Overall, cities have proposed a 4.6 percent property-tax levy increase, counties’ levies would go up 3 percent, townships would levy an additional 2 percent and special taxing districts proposed a 3 percent boost.

Thissen and the DFL initially raised taxes and fees by $2,500,000,000. After getting blasted for raising taxes on B2B transactions, Thissen and the DFL returned to St. Paul a repentant bunch. They quickly repealed the tax increases they’d passed just months earlier. Thissen and the DFL frequently justified that gigantic tax increase by promising property tax relief to the middle class. Apparently, the DFL failed. Property taxes didn’t drop. They’re still going up.

They failed to support our farmers, voting against grants to help family farms start up and expand, against livestock disease research and against the new Farm-to-Foodshelf program.

Republicans voted against the DFL’s attempt to use taxpayers’ money to buy votes with massive spending increases directed at their special interest allies. The Dayton-Thissen-DFL budget wasn’t a budget as it was the DFL checking off as many of the items on the DFL special interests’ wish list as possible.

The DFL’s tax bill didn’t reform the tax code to make Minnesota competitive with its neighboring states. It’s amazing that the DFL’s hostility to businesses didn’t result in them losing more seats.

More importantly, I hope to hear the Republicans move on to governing and discuss how the entire state can prosper together as one.

That’s a clever trick on Thissen’s part. You’d almost think that there was a Republican governor setting the agenda. It’s the governor that proposes. The legislature’s role is to debate Gov. Dayton’s budget, then offer amendments to the things he got wrong. Unfortunately for Minnesota businesses, there’s be so much uncertainty caused by Gov. Dayton’s budgets that businesses didn’t create as many jobs as they could have.

Will Thissen and the DFL support opening PolyMet? Will they support building the Sandpiper Pipeline project? Will they insist on a silica sand-mining moratorium? Those projects alone would spread prosperity throughout more of Minnesota.

When Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen attended the DFL State Convention, their devotion to Iron Range jobs was so tepid they wouldn’t even permit a debate on whether the DFL’s platform should include a simple statement saying that they support mining.

I’d love hearing Speaker Thissen explain how stifling debate on a major economic development issue helps “the entire state can prosper together as one.” That explanation would likely be more twisted than a pretzel.

Then again, I could say that about most DFL economic policies.

Paul Thissen’s op-ed in Friday night’s St. Cloud Times is breathtakingly dishonest. Here’s a prime example of Thissen’s dishonesty:

On the campaign trail, Republicans like Daudt attacked these accomplishments as inadequate, attacks ironically financed by enormous contributions from big Twin Cities corporate special interests. So it seems fair to ask:

Will Republicans be willing to stand up to their big Twin Cities corporate donors and make sure to continue DFL investments in education that are closing the funding gap between rural and suburban school districts rather than handing out corporate tax breaks?

I frequently wrote about the Democrats’ dishonest claims that Republicans supported “handing out corporate tax breaks.” To be fair, most of those claims were made against Torrey Westrom’s and Stewart Mills’ congressional campaigns but Thissen’s claims are dishonest just the same. One of the DCCC’s ads accused Torrey Westrom of shutting down the government “to give tax breaks to his wealthy friends.”

First, Republicans haven’t written any legislation that would “hand out corporate tax breaks. Thissen knows that’s verifiable fact but he doesn’t care because he’s utterly dishonest. Soon-to-be Minority Leader Thissen can clear this all up by citing which legislation the Republicans authored would’ve given corporations tax breaks.

Most importantly, though, let’s focus on who funded the DFL’s legislative campaign. In St. Cloud, the DFL paid for most of the campaign mailers. I don’t recall getting any mailers from Dorholt’s campaign proper. I also got mailers from a pro-union group called Working America Minnesota Political Fund. This is one of their mailers:

Will Minority Leader Thissen “be willing to stand up to [his] big Twin Cities” special interest allies in the next legislative session? Will he stand up to the environmental activist wing of the DFL? Will he tell Alida Messinger that he’ll steadfastly support mining on the Iron Range?

History shows he won’t. When AFSCME and SEIU insisted that the DFL impose forced unionization on small businesses, then-Speaker Thissen didn’t think twice. Rather than siding with the hard-working ladies who run in-home child care facilities, Thissen and the DFL voted with Eliot Seide and Javier Morillo-Alicea instead.

When convenience stores told him not to raise the cigarette tax because that’d hurt their businesses, Thissen didn’t just ignore them. He raised the cigarette tax $1.50 a pack. Thanks to Thissen and the DFL, convenience stores in Greater Minnesota got hurt.

Will a Republican legislature respond to the unique economic challenges that have made it harder for our economic recovery to be felt from border-to-border?

Unlike the DFL of the last 2 years, the GOP House will respond to Greater Minnesota’s economic needs. The GOP didn’t ignore small businesses’ calls to not start applying the sales tax on business-to-business transactions. In the House, the DFL voted for raising those taxes. After they got an earful from businesses after the session, the DFL knew that they’d overreached.

Sensing that their majority status in the House was in jeopardy, the DFL quickly moved to repeal the B2B sales taxes that they’d passed just months before.

Paul Thissen wasn’t the only DFL legislator who displayed hostility to businesses. That’s why he’ll soon be the House Minority Leader rather than getting another term as Speaker.

Elizabeth Warren, the hardline progressive who took Ted Kennedy’s seat, won’t be the Democrats’ presidential nominee. If she ran, however, she’d be pounded mercilessly for statements like this:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) went straight after Republicans, blasting the GOP on deregulation and trickle down economics during a Center for American Progress event on Wednesday.

“The Republicans have a pretty simple philosophy: they say if those at the top have more, more power for Wall Street players to do whatever they want and more money for tax cuts than somehow they can be counted on to build the economy for everyone else,” Warren said. “Well, we tried it for 30 years and it didn’t work. In fact the consequences were nearly catastrophic.”

That’s rich considering the fact that the economy created more full-time jobs in 6 months under President Reagan than have been created during President Obama’s administration. If high taxes, overregulation and big spending were the right elixir, the Obama economy would be creating 2,000,000 high-paying full-time jobs each year.

The truth is that Obamanomics’ cornerstone policies don’t work. They’ve never worked in creating robust economic growth that helps everyone. In President Obama’s America, the well-connected get special breaks, Wall Street gets monthly bailouts and the middle class, what’s left of it anyway, takes it in the shorts. If Sen. Warren wants to fight for President Obama’s policies, be my guest.

Sen. Warren’s policies are tired:

“We tested the Republican ideas and they failed, they failed spectacularly. There’s no denying that fact,” Warren said. “We know the importance of accountability on Wall Street, the benefits of having a better educated work force. The advantages that come from investments of high speed rail and medical research.”

‘Investing’ in high speed rail is a boondoggle. As for a well-educated workforce, the American people have been getting ripped off by government schools, aka public schools. Unions have hurt public education. Charter schools, while not being the sole elixir to the problem, are definitely a positive step.

This is positively rich:

“People across this country get it. Sure, there’s a lot of work to be done and there’s a long way to go before Democrats can reclaim the right to say that we’re fighting for America’s working people, that we’re fighting to build a future not just for some of our children but for all of our children,” Warren said. “No, we’re not there yet but don’t forget the good news. Our agenda is America’s agenda.”

The masses aren’t clamoring for a green economy. They’re shouting for a robust expansion of fossil fuel exploration. They’re insisting on limiting regulations on sources of energy that heat homes and power factories.

If Democrats want to run on Obama’s policies, which they’ll be forced to do, they’ll get soundly defeated in 2016. Moving further to the left won’t grow their party. It’ll set the Democratic Party back a decade or more.

After John McCain lost in 2008, I spoke with a friend about senators becoming presidents. I half-kiddingly said that Republicans should pass a motion that senators should never be allowed to be the GOP’s presidential nominee. I know that such a resolution is impossible, which is why I said it in jest. That being said, senators don’t run things. They aren’t the decider. They’re the pontificators. Soon-to-be former Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX), weighed in on the subject:

Perry, considering a repeat presidential bid in 2016, had just spoken at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Reagan’s famous “A Time For Choosing” speech. Among his scalding criticisms of Obama, Perry explained the president’s failings as due to his background as a U.S. senator, something that happens to apply to several of his would-be challengers for the GOP presidential nomination.

“If you’re in the Senate or if you’re in the House, you can give a speech and then go home. Governors can’t. We have to govern,” Perry said, adding, “And the president of the United States, historically, has had to operate that way, too; the ones that were successful. And one of the reasons why this President is not successful is because he’s never had that experience.”

Asked if the next president will be a senator, Perry said, “No.”

It’s worth noting that the top-tier candidates on the Democratic side are both senators, too. But I digress.

Gov. Perry is right, though intentionally a bit oversimplistic. Legislators work hard if they’re doing their jobs right. That being said, their job is mostly debating legislation. Their work is done during scheduled sessions. Presidents and governors work during sessions, too, to get their legislative agendas passed. During sessions, though, they’re also called on to deal with crises, whether it’s a president responding to international hot spots or governors responding to public safety crises within their state or on their state’s borders.

Then, after the sessions are over, presidents and governors are essentially on call 24/7 the rest of the year. They’re never on recess, though President Obama certainly makes it look like he doesn’t take the White House with him.

It isn’t a stretch to think that Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz think they see the next president of the United States when they look in the mirror each morning. They don’t. What accomplishments do these men have? They haven’t implemented major reforms like Scott Walker, John Kasich, Perry and Bobby Jindal have. They haven’t revived their states’ economies like Kasich, Perry and Walker have. The best that Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz can say is that they prevented Sen. Reid and President Obama from doing awful things.

They shouldn’t be discredited for that. What they’ve done isn’t insignificant. It just isn’t nearly as significant as what Govs. Walker, Jindal, Perry and Kasich have accomplished.

Lest this be just about Republicans, let’s ask what Hillary or Elizabeth Warren has accomplished. Hillary’s staff noted that she traveled more flight miles than any other Secretary of State in US history. That’s nice. She can redeem those miles so she and Bill can take a nice vacation together.

In terms of actual policies implemented, she got 4 American patriots killed in Benghazi by being asleep at the switch. She ignored multiple pleas from Christopher Stevens for enhanced security for the compound in Benghazi. Then she the nerve to say she hadn’t heard of those urgent requests.

Nobody will buy that BS in 2016. They didn’t buy it in 2012 and they aren’t buying it now.

Her first ‘accomplishment’ was presenting Russia with a reset switch that Russia interpreted as meaning that they could do whatever they wanted in Ukraine and anywhere else in eastern Europe and the middle east. Coddling our enemies (Russia, Iran) and mistreating our allies (Israel, the British and Iraq) isn’t what presidential resumes are built on.

As pathetic as Hillary’s list of accomplishments is, Elizabeth Warren’s list of accomplishments is more pathetic. In fact, it’s nonexistent.

It’s still early but I’d argue that 2016 is shaping up to be GOP year for taking back the White House. Rick Perry has presided over the strongest economy in the nation. Scott Walker passed collective bargaining reform, then staved off the unions’ attempts to kill the reforms. He also passed a $2.2 billion tax cut while creating 110,000 jobs. Bobby Jindal passed school choice laws that are improving educational outcomes in Louisiana. John Kasich’s economic policies have revived Ohio. He cut taxes while eliminating an $8 billion deficit upon entering office.

By comparison, the Democrats have a pair of wannabes as their top tier.

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It’s difficult to determine how much Zach Dorholt’s dismal debate performance last night will affect his race against Jim Knoblach. Still, for people watching the debate either on TV or from the City Council Chambers got proof that Zach Dorholt is an empty suit. The gravitas gap between Dorholt and St. Cloud businessman Jim Knoblach was frequently on display.

When Sylvia Scheibel asked how jobs were created, Dorholt had the first response, which was a jaw-dropper:

Through demand. Demands build toothpaste. Companies don’t build toothpaste.

That’s absurd thinking. Did demand create laptop computers, iPhones or MP3’s? Did the stimulus create a growing economy? That was the foundation of President Obama’s stimulus bill. GDP didn’t start picking up, if you can call it that, until after the Federal Reserve started pumping $1,000,000,000,000 a year into the economy through quantitative easing. Even then, economic growth has been anemic, the worst recovery since WWII.

Earlier in the debate, Dorholt talked about how Minnesota had to “invest more money” to match skilled workers with the needs of Minnesota’s businesses. Later, Dorholt reversed himself, saying that, under DFL control, the Higher Ed committees “did a good job” in matching businesses with the skilled workers that they needed. It’s impossible to do both.

Saying that Dorholt isn’t an impressive speaker is understatement. Saying that he’s a better orator than he is a policy wonk is accurate. The best thing I can say is that he’s a typical politician. That isn’t the type of trifecta I’m hoping for.

Jim Knoblach was clearly the most informed candidate in that matchup.

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Ed Morrissey’s post about Hillary’s intellectually dishonest statements about who creates jobs is statistically enlightening. Here’s what I’m talking about:

In June 2007, the Household Survey of the BLS showed that the US economy had 146.063 million jobs in June 2007, just before the increase took place. Last month’s data showed that the US economy had 146.6 million jobs, an increase of less than 500,000 in over 7 years, not “millions of jobs” as Hillary claims here. In fact, the 146.6 million is the highest it’s ever gotten since the passage of that law. In the same period, the civilian workforce participation rate has gone from 66% to 62.7%. On a population basis, there are a lot fewer people working after the last minimum wage hike, not more, and wages are actually down, not up.

Compare this to the “trickle-down” era of the Reagan presidency. When Reagan took office in January 1981, the US economy had 99.995 million jobs and the participation rate was 63.9%. By the end of his presidency in January 1989, the US economy had grown more than 16 million jobs (116.708 million total) and the participation rate had leaped to 66.5%. That covers nearly the same length of time since the last minimum wage hike (96 months vs. 89 months), but both include about five years of technical economic recovery.

At the end of the article, Ed made this statement:

At some point, Democrats are going to have to come to grips with the fact that their front-runner is not just a lousy campaigner, but perhaps just as incompetent as the President from which they’re all attempting to run away at the moment.

There’s no doubt that Hillary is a terrible campaigner. That’s a subjective opinion, though. The job creation and labor force participation rates earlier are objective, quantifiable statistics.

Another part of that last commentary is that Democrats will “have to come to grips with the fact that” their frontrunner is just “as incompetent as the President” that they’re running away from. I suspect that they already know that. I’m betting that they simply don’t care whether she’s competent or not. I’m betting that their support for her will be based totally on whether she can win in November, 2016. If the answer to that is yes, they’ll support her. If the answer to that question is no, they’ll try finding a better alternative.

The point I’m making is that today’s Democratic Party is based almost entirely on fulfilling their ideological checklist, not on doing what’s best for America. It certainly isn’t about creating jobs or making life better for the average American.

Republicans everywhere need to repeatedly remind themselves that Democrats are almost totally about gaining, then maintaining control of the levers of government. Public policy is a distant priority that they generally don’t get to.

Here’s the video of Hillary’s boneheaded statements:

It’s terrifying to say but Hillary and Obama are no Bill Clinton. That’s a frightening thought.

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