Now that the Minnesota state government shutdown has ended, details of the compromise between Governor Mark Dayton and the Republicans are now public — and no one is happy.
At issue was the $5-billion shortfall between revenues and spending. Liberal Governor Mark Dayton had his own plan for bringing in more revenue: “I believe the wealthiest Minnesotans can afford to pay more taxes,” he commented. Conservative Republicans in the state House and Senate, including House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, dug in their heels on any tax increase whatsoever. In the end, both sides lost. As noted when the Minnesota state government shut down, the real bottom-line question had little to do with taxes and spending, and everything to do with the proper role of government. Political science professor David Schultz at Hamline University in St. Paul observed: “There’s just a huge gulf here basically between Dayton and the Republicans over their view of government. This is a … dispute over what the role of government should be.” In other words, is government the servant, or the master? Can spending actually be cut? Will legislators stick to their guns?
William F. Jasper, Senior Editor of The New American Magazine and National Correspondent for Liberty News Network reporting from the China – U.S. Governors Forum in Salt Lake City, Utah (July 15-17, 2011).
Representatives Ron Paul of Texas and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, the only presidential candidates among current members of Congress, broke with almost all of their Republican colleagues in the House Tuesday night when they voted against the GOP "cut, cap and balance" plan for deficit reduction.
"This bill only serves to sanction the status quo by putting forth a $1 trillion budget deficit and authorizing a $2.4 trillion increase in the debt limit," Paul said in a speech on the House floor.
Bachmann faulted the measure for not dealing with health care reform bill passed by the Democratic Congress last year, the Affordable Patient Care and Protection Act.
When public debt abounds, politicians look to slippery ways to keep buying votes with tax dollars while reassuring skittish markets that everything is okay. America, of course, faces a deficit showdown driven, largely, by the explosion in federal expenditures during the reign of Obama. The glut of mandated money (currency backed by the “full faith and credit of the United States” — and nothing else) has produced predictable economic behavior.
People invest in what they believe will be safe. Real estate, historically, has been a good investment for most Americans. But when the federal government pushes and bribes big lenders to make imprudent loans, and the predictable avalanche of defaults occurs, then an artificial glut of housing drives down the market price and strips hard-working families of the investment that had been the principal economic asset of the family.
At last Friday’s press conference, President Obama reviewed the status of talks with Republicans over the debt ceiling and reiterated his determination to “get our fiscal house in order.” He added:
"We have a unique opportunity to do something big. We have a chance to stabilize America’s finances for a decade, for 15 years, or 20 years, if we’re willing to seize the moment."
"Now, what that would require would be some shared sacrifice and a balanced approach that says we’re going to make significant cuts in domestic spending. And I have already said I am willing to take down domestic spending to the lowest percentage of our overall economy since Dwight Eisenhower.”(emphasis added)
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the largest labor unions in the country, is reported to have released a 70-page manual, the "Contract Campaign Manual" on "Pressuring the Employer," which encourages union members to use coercion and scare tactics to intimidate managers and corporate authority figures in the private sector.
According to Vincent Vernuccio of the Washington Times, the manual explains how "outside pressure can involve jeopardizing relationships between the employer and lenders, investors, stockholders, customers, clients, patients, tenants, politicians, or others on whom the employer depends for funds." Further, the manual blatantly encourages members to engage in unlawful activities, as it suggests, "Union members sometimes [should] act in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King and Mohatma Gandhi and disobey laws which are used to enforce injustice against working people."
JBS CEO Art Thompson's topic this week — We Have Met the Enemy and it is You; Yes, you are to blame for the economic mess we are in.
Just a month ago one of the most accurate economic forecasters on the planet looked at the economy and concluded that another recession is 99 percent certain.
David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff, a Canadian private money management firm, noted at the time that consumers were still trying to reduce their debt load, which reduces their ability to purchase consumer goods and services. That continued reduction in demand is being felt all across the economy with no end in sight:
We still have this credit contraction shock as it pertains to the broad consumer sector…. Recession risks are as acute as they were a year ago, but with far less certainty that the Fed and Congress have another rabbit to pull out of the hat.
The federal government just can’t stay out of agriculture. From subsidy programs that decide winners and losers in the markets by favoring corporate farms over family farms to ethanol rules that sacrifice food for fuel to laws that give undue influence and power to a select few pesticide and seed producers, Washington has maintained a stranglehold over farming that has forever altered the industry’s competitive landscape and doomed consumers to pay ever-higher prices at the grocery store.
It wants even more power. Now, another assault comes from the Capitol and the unlikeliest of agencies: the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an arm of the Department of Transportation. The DOT/FMCSA has new standards currently in the public comment period that, were they to become law, would override states’ rights — and the rights of the individual farmer — and have a detrimental impact on how business is done.
Before I get into the main topic today, let me say by way of introduction: I hope every single U.S. Representative and Senator who votes to raise the U.S. debt limit has to find a new job after the next election.
I don’t care what kind of pressure he or she faces as a member of Congress; I don’t care how many more lies the Obama administration and its henchmen tell; I don’t care how spineless and weak-kneed the Republican leadership becomes. For the November 2012 elections, I propose the simplest test in U.S. history: If you vote to burden my children and my children’s children with more debt, then I want you out of office. Period.