Dayton’s Budget: A Big Fat “F”

Cato’s 2014 Fiscal Policy report card gives Minnesota’s a resounding “F”, and it doesn’t mean “For Fiscally-Ingenious”.  The grade puts Minnesota eighth from the bottom in terms of fiscal policy:

Governor Dayton replicated his grade of “F” from the last Cato report card. Under Dayton, general fund spending increased 13 percent in 2013 and an estimated 4 percent in 2014. His poor score also stems from his large tax hikes. In 2012 he signed into law higher taxes on gaming. In 2013 he approved a package raising annual revenues by $1 billion, which is almost 5 percent of total state tax revenues. The package created a new top individual income tax rate of 9.85 percent above the current top rate of 7.85 percent. It also raised cigarette taxes by $1.60 per pack. In 2014 he partly reversed course and signed into law modest tax cuts that reduced estate taxes, ended the marriage penalty under the income tax, and reduced sales taxes on business purchases.

The net result?  We – the actual people of the state – are two billion short.

It was a richly-deserved “F”.

Priorities

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

We don’t have enough money to find a treatment for Ebola because we’re spending millions on stuff like this.
Joe Doakes

I forget who originally said it, once upon a time in the comment section of this blog, but a quote that needs to become part of our national rhetorical currency is “when you politicize science, you don’t get scientific politics; you get politicized science”.

Instrumentation

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Social Security is going up 1.7% next year, a small cost-of-living increase because there’s no inflation. At least, not officially. Not since the government changed the way it calculates inflation.
Here’s a chart showing the inflation rate would be around 6% if we still used the old way of measuring it, from when Reagan and Clinton were in office. That feels more like the decrease in purchasing power I’ve experienced at the supermarket.

20141024-061230-22350377.jpg

joe doakes

I believe it was during the early Clinton era that “Discouraged workers” and other ultra long-term unemployed were dropped from the “U1″ number – the top-line unemployment figure the media runs with.

Which is the only way the unemployment rate is below 6% nationwide, and at 4.5% in Minnesota.

The moral of the story? All statistics are just as good as the formula the statistician used to generate them.

Mission Creep

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Remember when all President Obama planned to do was cure the sick, end joblessness, slow the rise of the oceans, heal the planet, end war, secure our nation’s borders and restore our nation’s image abroad?
That was nothing.
Now he’s going to eliminate the the schism between Sunni and Shia that has been fueling so much of the violence in Syria, in Iraq.”
As Powerline asks:“Whoa! We are going to ‘eliminate the schism between Sunni and Shia?’ The schism that goes back to the 7th Century? And we are going to “eliminate the schism” through diplomacy?”
No. Not “we.” President Barack Obama, possibly assisted by Secretary of State John Kerry. After all they have promised to accomplish so far, why would you have any doubt? Nobel Committee, call your office.
Joe Doakes

If the president keeps changing the subject to things he won’t be able to accomplish before he leaves office, people will talk less about the things he hasn’t accomplished since he took office.

Just Oooooone More…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Liberals want to raise the federal gas tax to provide for highway funding. Great, if the money actually went there. Politicians are too eager to dip into the Highway Trust Fund for mass transit, deficit reduction, underground storage tank removal . . . .
Every time they raise the issue, they tell the same lie: “This time it will be different. It will be for highways, bridges, infrastructure. Well, and bike path paintings on the road. And art. And relocation money for historically significant artifacts that are near major construction projects. Well, maybe something for racial harmony too.”
Joe doakes

There cold be a 12 step group for government spenders. Only with the government inflation rate and union guarantees it’d be more like 600 steps before long.

Emperor Barack The First

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Liberals resent the Constitution because the requirement to wait around for Congress to act constrains the President from doing good things for the country on his own initiative.
But for that pesky old scrap of parchment, the President would be doing all the things he won the Nobel Peace Prize for. If only he had the power to act.
In other words, they want a king.
joe doakes

“Progressivism” is fundamentally totalitarian.

Savage Was Right

Joel Doakes from Como Park emails:

More and more, Liberals remind me of the princess who couldn’t sleep on the pile of mattresses because there was a single pea under them. It tormented her, she was wretched, miserable, unable to function because of that tiny flaw in her otherwise perfect existence. Liberals act like that all the time:
That woman who was upset because opposing counsel was SHOUTING at her in email, a clear case of unprofessional cyber-bullying.
The school principal that expelled the 2nd grader who nibbled a Pop Tart into the shape of a dangerous assault weapon.
Barak Obama and Eric Holder claiming the only reason people are upset about their Anti-American policies is because of subtle, persistent racism.
It’s as if Liberals believe Disneyworld is the ideal world and if we all try just a teensy bit harder, we can make it happen in all our lives, everywhere, all the time, for free.
Living in a fantasy, unable to distinguish what is real from what is imaginary, that’s the definition of mental illness. Or Liberal. Take your pick.
Joe Doakes

they do seem to try to have things both ways…

Satirically Speaking

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

. Governor Mark Dayton (DFL- Minnesota) astounded his critics today by amending his legislative proposal to include $100,000,000 of new bonding authority for the Minnesota Housing Finance Authority. “for too long, Republicans have said the Democrats won’t put their money where their mouth is. That ends today” said governor dayton. “starting immediately, every state County School District and city employee must reside within 3 blocks of the light rail line. This will demonstrate our commitment to light rail and show the public that everyone in the government has the public best interest at heart. I, myself, am moving to an apartment at University Avenue and Western Avenue, so I can ride the light rail to the capital to work. This new bonding Authority will give the government money to subsidize employees mortgages so they can relocate closer to the right location. I encourage all Metro DFL representatives to do the same.”

That’ll happen when the Democrats in Congress sign up for Obamacare.

The Peter Judiciary

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The President of the State Bar Association explains the drive to change how judgeships are filled:

“ . . . formalize our current informal practice of filling vacancies by gubernatorial appointment, rather than by election; implement a merit-selection process for judges at all levels of the judiciary; create an evaluation process where a commission comprising both lawyers and nonlawyers will assess judges’ performance based on objective criteria, and publicize these evaluations to the public; and require judges to take part in retention elections rather than participate in “contested” races that, in reality, are rarely contested and involve voters who often have little to no information about the judges whose names appear on the ballot.”

Right now, vacant judgeships are filled by election except when an untimely vacancy occurs, then the Governor appoints judges recommended by the Judicial Selection Commission. The Commission members are listed here and you can draw your own conclusions about whether they are likely to recommend Liberal candidates and whether a Democrat governor will select a Liberal candidate. Giving the Governor power to appoint all judges means control of the judiciary is removed one more step away from the people they’re supposed to serve, one more step toward total DFL control over all three branches of government.

The Commission is required to evaluate candidates based on the criteria in Subd. 8 of the statute. These criteria are not merit-based, they are almost entirely worthless. Only three of these criteria can be measured: are you a women, are you a minority and how many trials have you had? All the other criteria are so subjective the Commission doesn’t dare rely on them for fear of being labeled sexist, racist or part of the Old Boy Network. So basically, the best qualified candidates under the statutory criteria are the ones who have tried the most cases.

But counting trials is a lousy way to select judges. It’s a shoddy lawyer that takes every case to trial; real skill lies in negotiating an out-of-court settlement that satisfies all parties. The only lawyers who can afford to indulge in trying cases are prosecutors, public defenders and insurance defense lawyers, which explains why the trial bench and now the Court of Appeals is loaded with judges who have no experience in the wider practice of law such as family law and real estate law. That, in turn, explains some of the bizarre opinions issued by the Court of Appeals in recent years. It’s not that judges are howling idiots, they just don’t know any better.

Appointing judges who don’t know the law is bad enough. Expecting citizens to mount campaigns to remove those judges is worse. Far from institutionalizing excellence, we’ll be insulating mediocrities from any prospect of accountability. So – perfect for the DFL. Rotten for everyone else.

Joe Doakes

if there’s one thing the conservative side of the aisle has done very badly, it is explain why their constant fussing about judicial elections actually matters.

So I think Joe has done a great public service, here, today.

Academic

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The reason the Obama-care website doesn’t work correctly is the software is barely half written. They still need to write the code for payment systems to make payment to issuers in January.

Even if you managed to sign up using the already-written application software, you can’t actually buy a policy because you can’t pay for it. The software doesn’t exist, yet.

Richard Fernandez at The Belmont Club says: “That would explain why the system didn’t work. The president had launched a program with a lot of parts missing and apparently expected to see it function, rather like a producer who opens a movie nationwide with only the trailer completed and expects it to be a box office hit.”

Joe Doakes

But it might be how someone who’s never produced a movie except in theory might do a movie.

Intellectual Horsepower

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The thing I like about Richard Fernandez is that he thinks about systems, about consequences, about the unseen effects. You never get that in the mainstream media or day-to-day political reporting.

If we consolidate everything into one system, we’ll all be equal and everything will be fair. But what if that single system crashes?

From the comments, a great analysis of why public transit is doomed, and always, always requires massive subsidies:

“Private Subways and buses were able to charge premium fare prices because the alternative to their service was the enormous cost of owning a horse — purchasing a horse, stabling it, feeding it, exercising it and watching it depreciate as it aged — all in the context of a crowded inner city. That the rise of the automobile industry began the process of making private subways and buses uneconomical. The affordable, convenient alternative to owning a horse shifted from the subways and buses to owning an automobile. The car was much cheaper. This will never change. Today’s mass-transit planners are permanently stuck in the 19th century — providing a service that fewer and fewer people want at increasingly high prices — and they have no idea why their projects are going bankrupt, because they have no idea why the great transit systems they are trying to recreate went bankrupt, or were even created in the first place.”

Yep.

Joe Doakes

Squib

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Minnesota DHS claims 10% of Minnesotans lack health insurance.

Liberals claimed 140,000 Minnesotans would gain access to affordable health insurance under Obamacare.

Star Tribune reported on October 15 that 400 Minnesotans have signed up.

Of course, the Star-Tribune headline claims 3,700 signed up but that includes another 3,300 people who signed up for Medicare or MinnCare, welfare programs to provide health insurance for poor people.  But these new people were eligible for welfare without Obamacare so yes, they now have health insurance, but no, it had nothing to do with Obamacare.

On the other hand, the government is hiring thousands of new IRS agents.  Maybe Obamacare should be considered a shovel-ready jobs program?  At least this program is producing some jobs.

Joe Doakes

 I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that the regional version of “Journo-list” has reached a tacit agreement to report all non-disasters as triumphs for Obamacare and its local companion.

Doakes Sunday: For Want Of A Leader

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Congressional Republicans gave John Boehner a standing ovation for caving in.

“We all agree Obamacare is an abomination. We all agree taxes are too high. We all agree spending is too high. We all agree Washington is getting in the way of job growth. We all agree we have a real debt crisis that will cripple future generations. We all agree on these fundamental conservative principles. . . . We must not confuse tactics with principles. The differences between us are dwarfed by the differences we have with the Democratic party, and we can do more for the American people united,” [Eric Cantor] told them.

And apparently, we all agree we aren’t going to do shit about it.

Hooray for us!  Ribbons for everyone!  We are all winners!  Hooray!

Joe Doakes

If there was ever a time the GOP needed a strong leader – as opposed to a tactician – it was this past week.

Oh, well. There’ll be other epochal go/no-go moments…

The Palooka Prize

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Congressional Republicans gave John Boehner a standing ovation for caving in.

“We all agree Obamacare is an abomination. We all agree taxes are too high. We all agree spending is too high. We all agree Washington is getting in the way of job growth. We all agree we have a real debt crisis that will cripple future generations. We all agree on these fundamental conservative principles. . . . We must not confuse tactics with principles. The differences between us are dwarfed by the differences we have with the Democratic party, and we can do more for the American people united,” [Eric Cantor] told them.

And apparently, we all agree we aren’t going to do shit about it.

Hooray for us!  Ribbons for everyone!  We are all winners!  Hooray!

Joe Doakes

Hard to argue.

Hope?

Stewart Mills, the “Fleet Farm” owner and candidate for the CD8 House seat that’s changed hands twice since 2010, is putting up some righteous fundraising numbers:

Republican Stewart Mills III of Nisswa formally declared his candidacy for 8th district congress just last week, but came out strong Tuesday, releasing a third quarter fundraising report reflecting contributions nearly double the amount raised by DFL Rep. Rick Nolan of Crosby. Mills raised $243,826 for his bid to unseat the incumbant, while Nolan posted receipts of just $129,472, falling short of his second quarter total of $134,764 despite a strong last minute push from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Steve Israel and the DCCC just before the fundraising deadline of Sep. 30.

Nolan received slightly more unitemized individual contributions, reporting $19,497 to Mills’ $19,198, but Mills trounced Nolan in itemized individual contributions, both in number of donors and in dollar amounts. Mills racked up contributions of $218,128 compared to just $48,075 for Nolan. Analysis of individual contributions reveals that Mills raised more money from inside the 8th district, while Nolan raised the bulk of his money from donors outside Minnesota.

And only about $5,000 of Mills’ total is self-financed, so far.

This is going to be a long, expensive campaign.  Both sides are targeting it.  But so far, Mills is rocking the phones – and it’s getting noticed.

Who’s In A Traffic Jam?

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Mn/DOT says more lanes won’t reduce congestion on I-94 between St. Cloud and the Twin Cities.  Instead, more lanes will dump people at the choke points faster.  And why are there choke points?  Because Met Council doesn’t like highways, they like light rail, so they’re not willing to build highway lanes in the Twin Cities.

Most telling explanation why they won’t build more lanes: it’s out of vogue.

Ve vill tell you vhen you kan go und how you vill get zhere, und you vill like it.  Or else!

It sounds like an Abbott and Costello routine.

Two Americas: Shutdown Edition

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Obama Administration’s effort to punish ordinary Americans until they agree to unlimited debt, continues.

 Catholic priests aren’t even allowed to volunteer to serve the troops.  Why not?  What’s it hurt?  Does this affect other religions, too?

 Families of soldiers in combat aren’t getting death benefits to attend funerals.  When did the military become “non-essential?”

 The feds closed everymemorial, monumentboat launch, permitted operator,scenic overlooks and evenparts of the ocean to ordinary Americans; except open border Liberals who get to hold their rally on The Mall.  Why am I not surprised?

 Joe Doakes

The founders’ vision of theirs country was “a free association of equals”.

Obama’s is “unruly children who need to be brought into line”.

 

 

Prescient

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

National Review’s original mission statement, from 1955. Skip down to the enumerated points, they’re outstanding and still relevant.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/223549/our-mission-statement/william-f-buckley-jr#!

My buddy points out Buckley’s doomsday talk is outdated: it’s been surpassed. Rather than leftists being nominated for awards for blaming conservatives, they actually receive the Nobel for simply winning the election. They don’t even need to even complete the narrative anymore.

Joe Doakes

Das Macht Drei

Last month, Australia tossed aside its Labour government and installed a conservative one.

Two weeks ago, voters in Norway followed suit, installing a center-right government.

And over the weekend, German voters defied polls that pointed toward a slim win for Angela Merkel’s center-right Christliche-Demokratische Union (Christian Democrat Party, or CDU), giving the CDU what exit polls show may well be an absolute majority in the German Bundestag (Parliament):

An early projection by the state broadcaster ARD on Sunday evening showed Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrat party (CDU) winning 301 seats in the 598-seat Bundestag, enough to form a government without a coalition partner. Later projections suggested, however, that she could fall just short of an absolute majority.

Exit polls and early results put the CDU on 42.5 per cent of the vote, a lead of 17 points over the main opposition.

It had been expected that Mrs Merkel would be forced into a “grand coalition” with her main socialist opponents, the Social Democrats. The early results suggested that she might avoid this.

We’ll see.

I try not to take too much comfort in historical parallels – but in the late seventies, you saw a similar wave of countries whose voters woke up to the fact that the economic system couldn’t be sustained under the liberal status quo.

Late Breaking Good News

The US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has slapped slapped an injunction on the daycare union jamdown::

Officials of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which is representing Minnesota providers who oppose unionization, said they received notice late Thursday that their motion for an injunction blocking the law was granted by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

According to lawyers for the group, that means the child-care union election cannot take place until the injunction is lifted. The appeals court said it wants to wait to see if the U.S.Supreme Court decides to hear an appeal on a related case dealing with unionization of home-care workers. That case is called Harris v. Quinn.

Its just a stop in the way – tw battle isn’t nearly over.

But its great news anyway.

Rep. Franson, one of te leaders in the fight against the jam down, released a statement

“While the legal battle over this law is far from over, I’m happy Minnesota moms and dads and their childcare providers can be breath a little easier for now as the threat of forced childcare unionization is no longer imminent.”

The good guys and gals have ha to work themselves to exhaustion against an exceptionally well-funded union push. This ha to feel good.