Minnesota politics isn’t as smart as it used to be. Not only do we have too many Republicans in office, but we have too many of today’s petulant brand of Republican in office.
Today Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton rolled out a reasonable bonding proposal for rebuilding and reinvesting in Minnesota. Predictably, the GOP, behind state senate talking head Geoff Michel, repeated the same empty babble that conservatives everywhere repeat.
Michel responded with empty slogans which reflect the GOP’s worship of private market capitalism, making the same tiresome claim that only the free market can save the day. Never mind that multiple failures within private market capitalism sank our economy two years ago — not taxes, not regulation — and forget that private investment remains locked out of the economy because profitable returns don’t exist for private investment in our demand-starved markets. That’s all irrelevant. The GOP spews the same empty rhetoric regardless.
It is, as I said, tiresome, but let’s take it one more time.
Today Governor Mark Dayton rolled out a reasonable bonding plan designed to restart smart investment in state infrastructure and provide jobs. Geoff Michel criticized the plan and argued that private jobs, not government jobs, will save our economy. Michel must think that overpaid government bureaucrats — if you can find any — would be out there driving piles for bridges and rebuilding schools. He doesn’t realize that these projects would contract with private, ideally local, firms hiring local workers. This would put money in working class Minnesotans’ bank accounts which — unlike tax cuts for wealthier Minnesotans — more likely would be spent in the local economy.
Next, the tax cut myth surfaces again. (There’s a reason why conservatives think the word “ditto” is a clever rhetorical trope.) The idea that tax cuts automatically equate with job growth simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. We have been cutting taxes already. In fact we just extended the Bush tax cuts. Where are the jobs? (Hint: Look overseas.) Moreover, job growth in recent years hasn’t been the solid opportunities that built America’s middle class, including job opportunities that benefited many of today’s Republicans.
The middle class has suffered badly under GOP influence. Real wages for most Americans has been flat or in decline while at the same time America’s wealth has trickled upward into the hands of a very small and fortunate minority. Wealth has not been so unbalanced in America since 1928, on the eve of the Great Depression and at the end of the Gilded Age.
The GOP seems unable to grasp this. They act as if the United States remains unchallenged in the global economy. The GOP confuses its ideological fantasies with economic reality. The stubbornly operate on wrong-headed opinion and deceitful propaganda alone. Fact and logic has no place in GOP arguments and strategies. One has to ask why. Most people following the GOP lead, especially those wrapped up in populist movements like the Tea Party and including the party leadership itself, are serving interests that compromise their own. It is called cognitive dissonance and it does not help our country.
Minnesota is a microcosm of the larger problems wrought by conservatives today. The fact that Republicans have gained so much power in a state that benefited so much from smart politics is most interesting. Minnesota was a shining example of progressive success. The state has slowly lost its strength and standing as conservatives have taken more control. What happens in Minnesota is happening elsewhere and it is high time it stops.
- Surprised by the degree of surprise (washingtonmonthly.com)
- The Myth of JFK as Supply Side Tax Cutter (usnews.com)
- Building a better business climate in Minnesota (brickcity.wordpress.com)