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There’s a penalty Minnesotans are paying for electing divided government. That penalty comes in the form of higher taxes, more intrusive regulations and a regulatory structure that gives special interests too many bites at the proverbial apple.

When the DFL ran St. Paul in 2013-14, they rammed huge tax and spending increases down our throats. That’s when Minnesota became less competitive in terms of business environment. The truth is that Minnesota has an outmigration of wealth and talent for years. It isn’t just retirees, either, moving to warmer climates. It’s young people moving to other states to start businesses where taxes and regulations aren’t oppressive.

The regulatory regime isn’t the same as the regulations. For PolyMet to start operations, they have to get approval from the DNR, MPCA, the Department of Health, the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BOWSR), the Public Utilities Commission in addition to local watershed districts and other regulators. It isn’t surprising that people — and wealth are leaving.

This is an organizational chart of Minnesota’s executive branch:

Within the executive branch, there are close to 2 dozen regulatory agencies. They include the MPCA, BOWSR, the DNR, Department of Health, Met Council, the Public Utilities Commission, the Board on Environmental Quality, the State Climatology Office, the Department of Commerce, the Board of Energy, the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, the Minnesota Geological Survey, the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Office of Energy Security, the Office of Pipeline Safety, just to name a few.

The point is that the DFL has controlled at least one part of government my entire adult life. It has created a convoluted system of government that’s stuck in the Twentieth Century. The DFL insists on maintaining a mainframe government in an iPad world.

Gov. Dayton and then-Lt. Gov. Tina Smith ignored welfare fraud, elder care abuse and overseen IT disasters like MNsure and MNLARS. When the DFL had majorities in the House and Senate and Gov. Dayton was governor, they raised taxes and raised the state minimum wage, then indexed it to inflation. Further, the DFL hasn’t reformed anything like the IRRRB or the Met Council in forever. They’ve participated in scandals like the Action Minneapolis rip-off, too.

Considering all those things, I can’t justify why they should hold any levers of power in St. Paul.

Steve Rattner “served as lead adviser to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry in 2009 for the Obama administration.” This morning, the racist NYTimes published Rattner’s op-ed, which is simply a continuation of President Obama’s attempt to lie about the success of President Obama’s economic policies.

In President Obama’s attempt to spin his policies, he’s either forced to lying outright or he’s too unwilling to admit that his policies failed. Prior to serving in the Obama administration, Rattner “was a managing principal of the Quadrangle Group, a private equity investment firm that specialized in the media and communications industries. Prior to co-founding Quadrangle, he was an investment banker at Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, and Lazard Freres & Co., where he rose to deputy chairman and deputy chief executive officer.” But I digress.

In his op-ed, Rattner wrote that “For the second consecutive Friday, the Trump administration had an opportunity to point to fresh data that supposedly demonstrates the strong boost the president’s policies have given to the nation’s economy. Last week, news that the gross domestic product expanded at a 4.1 percent rate in the second quarter occasioned a presidential appearance on the south lawn of the White House. Friday’s announcement that 157,000 new jobs were added in July was marked more modestly, with a statement from the White House.”

Let’s be clear about something. There’s no disputing the fact that the economy is stronger than it was during the Obama administration. The energy sector is booming. Manufacturing is the strongest it’s been in a generation. Unemployment in minority communities is the lowest it’s been in history. Literally trillions of dollars are flooding into the United States now that the Obama tax disaster has been repealed and replaced with the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Business investments are increasing nicely.

Yes, the economy is continuing to expand nicely, which all Americans should celebrate. But no, there’s nothing remarkable in the overall results since Mr. Trump took office. Most importantly, there is little evidence that the president’s policies have meaningfully improved the fortunes of those “forgotten” Americans who elected him.

Nancy Pelosi called the tax cuts “crumbs.”

This is Rattner’s more elegant way of saying that the Trump economy is delivering crumbs to the American people. Tell that to these people:

According to the workers at Granite City Works, President Trump’s policies aren’t just providing jobs after the plant was idled on President Obama’s watch. It’s that those workers said that Granite City, IL is getting rebuilt one neighborhood, one family at a time.

Yes, Mr. Rattner, there were far too many people forgotten by President Obama’s policies. If you weren’t part of the well-connected crowd, you didn’t share in the prosperity. If you didn’t work in one of the industries that President Obama picked as a winner, you were in tough shape. Those forgotten workers aren’t forgotten anymore.

The dishonesty of people like Mr. Rattner and other Obama administration spinmeisters is disgusting. President Obama himself said that he planned on shutting down the coal industry. President Obama said that tons of jobs weren’t coming back. He’s right in once sense. Those jobs wouldn’t have come back with his disastrous tax and regulatory policies. Now that those policies have been replaced by pro-growth economic policies, things have gotten consistently better.

As a result, consumer confidence is sky-high and the economy is robust again. How do I know? I know by the amount of traffic on the highways heading out on vacation. This Friday, the traffic on Highway 10 (at 11:00 am, I might add) was bumper-to-bumper. I never saw that during the Obama administration.

That’s because people have money in their pockets to spend again. The behavior of the American people is dramatically different. That’s reflected in the consumer confidence numbers.

No amount of Obama administration spin will change that.

This Duluth News Tribune editorial endorses Tim Pawlenty as the Republicans’ best shot at retaking the governorship. Normally, endorsements don’t mean that much but I think this one matters. It isn’t because I think the endorsement itself is that impactful. I think it’s impactful because Tim Pawlenty was given the time and space to explain why he’s running. In my estimation, he made the most of that opportunity.

In the editorial, Gov. Pawlenty said “People criticize me for, ‘You held the line on this’ or, ‘You cut that.’ You bet I did. When you’re in a near depression and government’s budgets have contracted, the answer isn’t to go out to the taxpayers and say, ‘We need to raise your taxes.’ We had to tighten the government’s belt, just like every family did, just like every house did.”

In my estimation, that response was what you’d expect from the adult in the room. It didn’t stop there, though. After that, Gov. Pawlenty stated “I’m 57 years old, I have no other political ambitions. I’m not running for any national office. I’m coming back to try to run for governor not because I need the title; I already have it. And I don’t need to go to sit in the office; I’ve already done that for eight years,” said Pawlenty, governor from 2003 to 2011 and a Republican presidential candidate in 2012. “I’m coming back for one reason, which is to get things done for my state and for the state that I love. And I think that at this point we need somebody who is strong enough and experienced enough and, frankly, willing to embrace enough risk to bridge the (political) divides. I am in the best position in this race to do that.”

The difference between Gov. Pawlenty then and the conditions he’d walk into now are dramatic. When he first won the office, he inherited a $4.2 billion projected deficit from Jesse Ventura and a terrible economy. This time around, he’ll walk in at a time when the US economy is hitting on all cylinders. Thanks to that robust economy, Gov. Pawlenty will have the chance to reform the tax system that Gov. Dayton created.

What does Pawlenty want to do if elected again? He wants to slow down health insurance premium increases and maybe even reduce them. He wants to provide tax relief to middle- and modest-income Minnesotans, including by getting rid of Minnesota’s rare tax on Social Security benefits. And he wants to modernize and improve Minnesota schools and the state’s educational system to finally close the achievement gap and to help meet growing workforce needs.

Tim Pawlenty is the best choice to lead the Republican Party of Minnesota. He’s got universal name recognition. He’s got the funding network that’ll be needed to fight off the DFL candidate. Most importantly, he’s got a reform-minded substantive agenda that conservatives can rally around.

Jeff Johnson is touting the issues he wants to run on. That’s admirable. He’d be a fine governor if he got elected. The thing is, though, that he’d have a difficult time getting elected. You can’t govern if you don’t get elected.

Republicans have a fantastic opportunity to reform Minnesota’s economy. To do that, though, we need unified Republican control of St. Paul. We can’t get there with Jeff Johnson. He’s already lost 2 statewide races. I’m not willing to bet that the third time is the charm. There’s too much at stake to entrust to a 2-time loser.

Tim Pawlenty wants to focus on accomplishing sensible things. That’s been out of style the past 8 years in St. Paul. Here’s what I’m talking about:

This LTE criticizes Sen. Schumer’s ‘forgetfulness’. That’s noteworthy but it isn’t the most distressing news for Democrats. The most distressing news is that it was written by a Democrat.

It opens by saying “Sen. Chuck Schumer’s plea for financial support from Democratic New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind may have answered a question recently proposed by both Schumer and the Watch commentator Allison Perry. Allison challenged any supporter of President Trump to provide information “as to any way in which Donald Trump has improved your lives or this country.” And Schumer, in asking for contributions, got an earful.”

A couple paragraphs later, the LTE said “You forgot to tell us about unemployment, which is lower than it has been in decades, while economic confidence is at a 17-year high. It’s also at a record low for minorities. That’s very good news, Senator. You forgot to tell us how the U.S. is beginning to emerge in energy dominance. The Department of Interior, which has led the way in cutting regulations, opened plans to lease 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling, decreasing our reliance on foreign oil. That’s very good news, Senator.”

Read the entire LTE. Every GOP candidate should commit to memory each of these statistics. Lately, Democrats have started testing a talking point that goes something like this: ‘yes, the economy is good but we don’t know if it’s helping everyone. We don’t know that everyone is feeling the recovery.’

That’s BS. If people weren’t feeling the effects of the Trump/GOP economic policies, consumer confidence wouldn’t be sky-high. Business investment wouldn’t be happening at the high rate that it’s happening. If the economy was in tough shape, people wouldn’t be returning to the workforce in an attempt to find a job. Optimism is increasing. Pessimism is shrinking.

Those things didn’t happen during the Obama administration. They’re happening now, though.

The Democrats aren’t happy with Sen. Schumer:

For all the talk about a blue wave, the truth is that Democrats are a divided political party.

As we look back at Gov. Dayton’s time in office, it’s difficult to identify his signature legislative accomplishment. His first year in office, he shut down state government. It was the longest shutdown of state government in US history. When it ended, Gov. Dayton signed the budget deal he could’ve signed without the shutdown.

In 2013, with DFL majorities in the House and Senate, Gov. Dayton finally passed his massive tax increases. In addition to those tax increases, Gov. Dayton promised that he’d stop property tax increases as a result of the increased LGA payments and “historic investments in education.” I wrote this post in December, 2014 to highlight the major property tax increase that Princeton levied on taxpayers. They originally sought a 33.87% tax increase but ‘settled’ for a 25.16% increase.

In this post, I quoted then-Speaker Paul Thissen. Here’s what he said in a 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.

In other words, the Dayton tax increase to buy down property taxes failed terribly.

What’s worse is that, in 2014, the DFL legislature repealed several of the tax increases it passed the final weekend of the session the year before. That led to the Republicans retaking the House majority in the 2014 election. Apparently, Minnesotans didn’t think much of Gov. Dayton’s tax increases.

In 2015, Gov. Dayton met with Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL- Cook, and Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt every day of the final week of session to negotiate a budget. On the Friday of the session, they were no closer to an agreement than they were when they started. Sen. Bakk and Speaker Daudt sat down and promptly negotiated a bipartisan budget deal in less than an hour. When they made the announcement, Gov. Dayton criticized the budget and vetoed the bill.

That led to another cave-in by Gov. Dayton during yet another special session. BTW, special sessions might be Gov. Dayton’s legacy, though I can’t call them an accomplishment.

Aside from these negative legislative ‘accomplishments’, Gov. Dayton ignored the Somali day care fraud scandal and the elder care abuse scandal. That’s the one where people actually died and nobody from the Dayton administration bothered to investigate.

The other thing that Gov. Dayton was famous for was temper tantrums:

Finally, there’s the MNLARS fiasco, which Gov. Dayton created but didn’t fix and the child care unionization legislation. The unionization legislation went nowhere because child care providers defeated the measure 1,014-392. That’s what happens when you’re stubborn and you don’t listen to people. Gov. Dayton earned those epic slap downs.

One thing that’s apparent from this past week is that the Democrats’ plan to counter the good economic news is to insist that President Obama deserves great credit for the strong economy. During the first roundtable discussion on Fox News Sunday, Democrat spinmeister Mo Elleithee went right to work on that storyline.

First, Chris Wallace asked “Mo, there has been a lot of talk about a blue wave this November, a big Democratic pickup, may be control of the House, maybe even control of the Senate. But I think you would agree in the absence of where the economy is always the top issue and when you got strong economic growth, when you got historically low unemployment number, isn’t that a pretty strong record for Republicans to run on?” Elleithee replied by saying “Look, first of all, we should all be celebrating 4.1 economic growth. That’s a good number, a strong number. It also would have been the fifth strongest number of the Obama administration, right? The Obama administration — this is the continuation of economic recovery that began in 2009 and 2010. That strong economy wasn’t enough to save Democrats last time. It’s not enough to say it will be enough to say it would save Republicans this time.”

Republicans on the panel should’ve jumped on that immediately. Unfortunately, notorious Trump-hater Jonah Goldberg sat silent. Ditto with Jillian Turner. Since they sat silent, I’ll say what I would’ve said had I been on that panel. First, I would’ve highlighted the fact that President Trump and the GOP Congress scrapped the Obama-era tax system. They essentially threw it out and started from scratch. Thanks to the Trump/GOP tax cuts, business investment is accelerating, capital from overseas investments are flooding into the United States where manufacturing plants are being built or re-opened.

Remember when the Obama administration told us that those jobs were gone forever? I certainly remember. Apparently, all that was required were the right policies. Manufacturing is back in a big way. President Obama doesn’t get credit for the manufacturing rebound.

President Trump unleashed the energy sector by eliminating President Obama’s regulations that were intended to strangle the fossil fuel industry. Now we’re a net exporter of fossil fuels. Another thing is that the manufacturing sector is getting stronger quickly. That’s what I’d expect. President Obama worked tirelessly to put the fossil fuel industry out of business. He can’t take credit for that resurgent industry, the jobs it’s creating or the communities it’s rebuilding. Remember this statement from the campaign trail?

This month’s job report showed that people are returning to the workforce because they know there’s finally good-paying jobs available. In fact, for the first time in history, there are more job openings than there are workers to fill those positions. A frequent highlight of the Obama-era jobs reports was the part where they’d say how many people dropped out of the workforce or how the workforce participation rate had dropped. President Obama can’t take credit for that.

President Obama can’t take credit for surging consumer confidence or business confidence, either. Neither sector was particularly confident during the Obama administration. In truth, there’s nothing from the Obama administration’s policies that are contributing to the strengthening Trump economy. Period.

After reading this article about the great GDP growth published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Center for the American Experiment’s article about that report, it’s pretty clear that Gov. Dayton and Tim Walz have something in common — with Wrong Way Feldman. First, for those who don’t know who Wrong Way Feldman is, he’s a character from an episode of Gilligan’s Island who had a penchant for flying the wrong way. On one trip, he was supposed to fly from the Bronx to Minneapolis, only to wind up in New Orleans.

It’s pretty clear that Wrong Way was to pilots what Gov. Dayton is to Minnesota economics. Andrew Scattergood’s article states “A large factor in our strong economy is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which cut taxes and simplified the tax system. Low taxes, especially low income taxes, stimulate the economy by attracting investment and increasing incentives to work and produce. While Minnesota will benefit from the national tax bill, the economic gains could have been even bigger. In the previous legislative session, legislators passed a bill that would have lowered taxes for 82 percent of filers including most low and middle-income families.”

Meanwhile, Gov. Dayton wasn’t bright enough to figure out that cutting taxes increases economic growth and job creation:

Unfortunately, this bill was vetoed by Governor Dayton, forcing Minnesotans to pay higher taxes in an outdated system for at least one more year. He claimed the bill was a cake to the rich and big corporations, but as we mentioned previously, corporations would have been expected to pay more taxes than previous years under the new law.

After witnessing the impact the national bill has had on working families, maybe Dayton will regret not signing a similar bill into law. No matter what he thinks, it will not be his decision next year as the election in November will decide who replaces Dayton in the governor’s mansion. Hopefully tax reform is a top campaign issue and next year’s legislature can make a deal that works for everyone.

Gov. Dayton vetoed the Republicans’ tax conformity and tax reform bill because, in Gov. Dayton’s words, it didn’t punish corporations enough.

If you want to not compete with other states, set marginal tax rates too high. That’ll scare off tons of companies from moving here while telling existing companies not to expand here. This week, Tim Walz followed right in Gov. Dayton’s footsteps when he said he’d likely propose a bunch of tax increases, starting with a gas tax increase but then “being open” to other tax increases “to fund other priorities.” In other words, he doesn’t want to get too specific about which taxes he’ll raise if elected.

I’ll b blunt. When it comes to managing the economy, the DFL gubernatorial candidates are the political equivalent of Wrong Way Feldman:

Editor’s note: Watch the video to the end for maximum viewing pleasure.

Last night, Juan Williams was on Fox News @ Night to talk about Friday’s GDP report. Something he hinted at, which isn’t a first, is that the Trump GDP numbers are a continuation of the Obama recovery. Let’s be clear about things. First, it’s indisputable that the recovery from the Great Recession started early in the Obama administration. People arguing otherwise just aren’t telling the truth. Second, anyone that thinks that the Trump economy’s growth is based on a continuation of Obama-era policies simply isn’t informed.

From Day One, President Trump and the GOP Congress have done their best to sweep aside the Obama administration’s policies. That’s why people elected President Trump. They wanted a Disruptor-in-Chief. They didn’t want a Stay-the-Course administration.

One of the first thing the Trump administration was to unleash the energy sector, starting with green-lighting the Keystone XL Pipeline and increasing fracking for oil and natural gas. They stopped in its tracks the war on coal, thanks in large part to the rolling back of regulations put in place late in the Obama administration through the unprecedented use of the Congressional Review Act. Time and again, that was used to rid ourselves of the anti-mining regulations that the Obama administration put in place.

Those things alone would’ve helped the economy soar. But that’s only part of the story. The highest profile legislative victory of the Trump administration is the passage of the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Those tax cuts are working and everyone knows it. Are they enough to push growth into the stratosphere? I’ll say it this way: they’re opening up new opportunities for entrepreneurship. President Trump has unleashed the animal spirits of this economy. That term was first used by John Maynard Keynes. Here’s what he said about animal spirits:

Even apart from the instability due to speculation, there is the instability due to the characteristic of human nature that a large proportion of our positive activities depend on spontaneous optimism rather than mathematical expectations, whether moral or hedonistic or economic. Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive, the full consequences of which will be drawn out over many days to come, can only be taken as the result of animal spirits—a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities.

In other words, good things happen when people are optimistic. There’s no greater salesman of economic optimism than Larry Kudlow. Sandra Smith’s interview of Mr. Kudlow has me believing that robust long-term economic growth isn’t just possible. It’s likely. Watch this interview:

The only other guy who rivals Mr. Kudlow in terms of economic optimism is his old partner in crime in the Reagan administration, Art Laffer. One thing that I don’t want to overlook in the interview is what Kudlow said about the fundamentals in place. Regulations are reasonable. Taxes, which leads to capital formation, which leads to job creation, are low. The energy sector has been unleashed. Consumer confidence is high. Capital that spent its time on the sidelines during the Obama administration is rushing back into the United States in the hopes of increased return on investment. During periods in the Obama administration, investors were sometimes happy with a return of its investment.

Early in the interview, Mr. Kudlow summed things up beautifully by saying “My hunch is that it’s going to go on for quite awhile.” This of things contributing to this strong economy that Mr. listed was fairly lengthy. Anyone mistaking the Trump economy with the Obama economy isn’t paying attention. The differences are night and day differences.

Saying that Gov. Pawlenty beat Tim Walz like a bongo drum over taxes is understatement. Walz has said that he’ll raise taxes, starting with raising the gas tax, then moving onto raising other taxes to fund “other priorities.”

The article opens by saying “Rep. Tim Walz says he’d push to raise the state’s gasoline tax if elected governor to pay for infrastructure improvements.” After that, the article says “Walz says he couldn’t rule out other tax increases to pay for priorities like broadband internet grants and local government aid increases. He says policymakers should start by addressing needs and then discuss how to pay.”

What that means is that Tim Walz supports tax increases for everyone. Gov. Pawlenty didn’t wait long to respond. He didn’t mince words, either. Here’s what Gov. Pawlenty said:

Here’s what Gov. Pawlenty said:

Here they go again – Democrats teeing up massive tax increases on hardworking Minnesotans. It’s telling when they say that a big tax hike is only a ‘starting point.’ Tim Walz and the Democrats want as much money as they can take from your pocket.

With the DFL, Minnesotans get Bernie Sanders’ failed economics, Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitism and Mark Dayton’s incompetence. Trust me when I say that isn’t the trifecta you’d be proud of hitting.

There’s a word for that type of trifecta. That word is failure.

The benefit of reading this article is to find out Karin Housley’s priorities if she’s elected to the US Senate.

In the article, Sen. Housley said her priorities in DC would be “the economy, health care and senior issues.” She then said “Taking care of our seniors is a really big issue,” Housley said. “I think we need to preserve and protect Social Security for them. That’s one thing that they’re worried about. I want to make sure those dollars are there for our seniors.” An opponent of the Affordable Care Act, Housley also said she doesn’t think a one-size-fits-all model works for the entire country. “It was supposed to decrease our health care costs, and it hasn’t,” Housley said. “I want to focus on a free market-based system for our health care costs and a patient-centered system.” On the economy, Housley said the U.S. Congress and President Donald Trump have made progress on the economy and would like to help keep it going. “I’d like to support continuing the way the country’s going with jobs and the economy booming,” Housley said. “I think there are so many great bills that are brought up in the U.S. Senate, but they (Republicans) have such a slim majority.”

Simply put, Sen. Housley’s main priorities are significant in the grand scheme of things and they’re important to Minnesotans.

I haven’t seen any recent polling on the Smith vs. Housley race but it’s apparent that Sen. Housley is running for everyone’s votes:


Then there’s this:


When Gov. Dayton picked her to replace Sen. Franken, Tina Smith said it wouldn’t be wise to underestimate her. That remains to be seen. There’s no doubt, however, that it’s foolish to underestimate Sen. Housley.

Minnesota has had liberal senators representing them for too long. Sen. Franken and Tina Smith have worked hard to represent only portions of Minnesota. It’s time for a real senator who will represent the entire state.