Minnesota and The American Family Analogy in Politics

Conservatives like to compare our government with families and business.  Never mind that government isn’t anything like a family or a business and shouldn’t be run as if it were, but they do like simply folksy examples.

In Minnesota conservatives have dug in and insist that the state must learn to live within its means, a favorite trope of the political right.  Once again facts mean nothing to conservatives.  Minnesota had been living well within its means and thriving until we started underfunding everything here.

If we want to the American family analogy, this is like moving into the company town, buying a house from your employer, and having your wages cut so you end up in debt to the company store.  This exact situation doesn’t exist in the United States anymore — I don’t think — but a parallel exists when banks give people credit cards with high lines of credit then raise interest rates making it more difficult to repay the debt, but now I am wandering a bit…but you get the idea.

Thousands of Minnesota families will be hurt by the shutdown.  Yes, government jobs are jobs — real jobs and important jobs — that pay real wages and salaries.  Thousands of Minnesota families will have a difficult time making ends meet.  So what are they going to do?  If you follow the conservative line of logic, a two-income family should probably cut the hours the employed family member works.  Times are tough, after all, and it just won’t do to “feed the beast.”  They should probably eat less — even if they are starving because you have to live within your means — and expect better meals in the future.  Why?  Oh, I don’t know…because if you cut and cut things naturally get better.

This is a stupid line of thought, but it is exactly the way of thinking that conservatives take seriously.  You cannot find facts and numbers to support their economic positions because they don’t exist.  Conservative politics shouldn’t be taken anymore seriously than my flippant idea that starving families should take in less income.

Start asking some simple questions of conservatives.  If deregulation and tax cuts are so good for jobs, where are the jobs today?  If capitalism is so great, why are so many American investments going to places like China?  You hear a lot about “uncertainty” in the American government holding down job growth.  Are places like China, India, or Brazil governed with more certainty than the United States?  Allow me to curse:  It is all bullshit.

If business owners needed to make profits and saw profitable opportunities, they would take those opportunities.  Note I say if they needed profits.  Frankly, a lot of business is trying to outlast this political fight for economic and ideological gain.  They have cash reserves.  They are not hurting.  And they are not hiring.

Wages Trending in Decline

It is also a myth that companies won’t hire because they fear a double-dip recession.  They will tell you they don’t want to hire someone just to let them go in a year or two.  Really?  Is that the benevolent side of cold hard capitalism?  No, it is bullshit.  They’ll also tell you that the new health care legislation makes the future too uncertain — again that abused word — but the truth is there is no uncertainty there unless you expect that if you win your political fight it might be changed.  And that is exactly why business seems to care so much about “uncertainty.”  They are on the sidelines hoping to make their economic lies become reality.

Demand will create jobs.  A smart business owner will not manufacture a product for which there is no demand.  People who cannot afford a product, even if they need it, will not buy it for the simple reason that they cannot.  (Look at America’s health care system for an iron clad example of this economic truth in action.)  And yet we are still toying with the failed policies of supply-side economics.

There is no economic recovery because conservatives are sabotaging the recovery.  They are not participating in good faith in any measure.  They don’t want to.  They cannot let our progressive leaders — people with ideas and facts behind their ideas — win.  If conservatives are going to change the fundamental security and freedom of the United States, qualities of life we all took for granted, then they have to win.  They can gut America’s social order only by gaining control of the economy…and they are succeeding.

So back to Minnesota.  Governor Mark Dayton needs to be commended.  He may prove to be a national hero.  The left needs to be as stubborn as the right.  Facts and truth are on the side of the progressives.  You simply cannot buy the level of government America needs to succeed with what conservatives are willing to pay.  The economy will not support a middle class without smart

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton

economic policy at the government level.  Conservatives hate workers and the middle class.  In essence they hate themselves.  Their self-destructive stupidity and narrow-mindedness cannot be tolerated.  Even they will win if they lose.

Minnesota has American families suffering through a government shutdown now.  It is a economic and politcal laboratory showing how destructive and divisive such a mistake really is.  Minnesota is a warning to the rest of the country and it can become an example of what happens when better ideas outlast weak ones.


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