Minnesota’s Shutdown and My Car

[DRAFT]  Here in Minnesota we are closing in on a state government shutdown and my car is in the garage for what will likely be expensive repairs.  The GOP is fond of drawing analogies between families and government or business and government.  I seem to be standing in one of those analogies right now.

Minnesota’s impending shutdown is frustrating.  It is like watching a piano falling from a tall building in slow motion.  Everyone knows it is going to smash on the sidewalk below and take out a few unsuspecting pedestrians with it, but that’s ok…let it fall.  Options to avert disaster exist, but we do nothing.

Yesterday my car broke down.  If I were Minnesota’s wise GOP, it would still be in a parking lot in Buffalo, Minnesota.  But my car is something I cannot neglect.  Without it my business stops and my quality of life drops.

Fixing this car is an unexpected cost and costly delay, but it must be done.  Furthermore I must do it right.  I cannot tell the garage to simply cut my starter and make the car work without it.  I also cannot order them to get the job done in half the time with half the people.  I need my car and more importantly, I need it to work.

Maybe I could tell my garage to cut waste.  I’m sure there is a lot of excessive spending at that garage.  I saw a coffee maker in the back room, for example, and for the life of me I don’t know how coffee helps make my car run.  They probably take breaks, too!  Lazy workers, overpaid managers.  Horrible.

Nevertheless, it is what it is.

I am investing in my car.  It is an unexpected and unpleasant cost, but not having a working car will cost me more in the future.  I have clients to meet, sales to make.  If I don’t have my car my ability to build my business suffers.  I won’t be very happy if I cannot get out of town or buy my brunello either.  A car is an important part of my economic success and supports my quality of life…very much in the way that a strong government supports economic growth and quality of life.

Minnesota has been running on seven cylinders — or less — since before the Pawlenty/Sutton GOP years, but things got dramatically worse under their political backwardness.  Much worse.  Look at where we are today compared with decades ago.  Better or worse?  And still the GOP demands that we gut our government to pre-1930s standards.  That is kind of like abandoning the Ferrari for a Model T.  Both are “cars”, but one will get you from point A to point B faster and in better style than the other.

Can we afford it?  Yes.  Do we have a choice?  No.

A growing economy supports all interests, a dying economy disproportionately harms the neediest first, all of us eventually.  I could save $500 and not fix my car, but it would cost me many times that in lost opportunity.  It is no different for our government.  Failing to invest destroys our future opportunities.

I need to run and pay for my car.  Well, not literally run…I’ll walk.  Awfully nice day for a walk, but storm clouds loom and I don’t see a lot of silver lining in those clouds.

(Will edit and link later.  Zemanta still not working.  Out of time.)

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