Joe Persell: Context Goes Both Ways

The big DFL strategy in this election, so far, seems to be to scare to death the voters who they haven’t bored to death.

There was a debate on Wednesday in Bemidji.  Since a couple of districts – 2A and 5A – are in play in the Bemidji area, candidate from both were apparently in the ring.

The topic turned to gun control:

In response to a question on gun control, [HD2A GOP challenger Dave] Hancock said shooting incidents usually occur in places where guns are banned.

“If we look we look at the areas where tragedy has occurred with guns, they are usually in gun-free zone(s),” he said. “Where you have people armed and carrying concealed weaponry, the criminal in use of a gun thinks twice.”

That’s pretty much the fact.  Hancock got it right.  No surprise there.

Here’s where it gets interesting – and when I say “interesting”, I mean “A DFLer starts saying things that misinform the uninformed”.  The DFL’s Joe Persell responded to the question; I’m going to add emphasis:

Persell disagreed, saying carrying weapons can exacerbate tense situations.

“Folks that are out there carrying, playing cop … I don’t think we want them to be doing that,” he said. “There’s more instances of people being killed because they are carrying, and they think somebody said something nasty, and they felt threatened, and so they shot them.”

Really, Rep. Persell?

I wanted to ask Rep. Persell to name one example of either of a Minnesotan…:

  • being killed because they were “playing cop”
  • killing someone who “said something nasty” to them.

Conversation:  I sent Rep. Persell an email asking for clarification.  He contacted me, saying he’d been taken out of context in the Bemidji Pioneer.  We wound up having a conversation last night.   I pointed out that there has never been such a case involving a legal post 2003 carry permit holder in the state of Minnesota (although there were a few incidents with pre-2003 permits – the ones issued by sheriffs).

Rep. Persell told me that the conversation referred to the Second Amendment as a general, nationwide issue, and that he was referring to cases like those of Michael Dunn, the Florida man who shot a teenager over, the court case said, “loud music”.

Those cases certainly grab the headlines – the media, being left-of-center and largely anti-gun, makes sure they do.

But even those lavishly-publicized incidents are exceedingly rare.  I ran the numbers, nationwide, a few years ago; in a typical year, a carry permittee is two orders of magnitude less likely to commit any kind of crime than the general public.

So while Persell wasn’t “lying”, per se, he was focusing attention on a type of incident that is exceedingly rare in real life.   While his original quote in the Bemidji Pioneer may have been out of context, the context of his remark is misleading and inflammatory.

The problem with guns, statistically, nationwide, isn’t a guy with a carry permit killing someone unjustifiably.  It’s the thousands of criminals without permits who kill people without regard to the law at all.

Hope that word gets out…

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Chanting Points Memo: Democrat Fakery Labor Party

 Bill Glahn notes that the Dayton campaign’s latest TV ad – featuring a “beleaguered middle class family” – continues a long DFL tradition:

The Ports are in no sense “middle class.” Steve Port owns his own businessin Burnsville, employing several staff. In true, “What’s the Matter with Kansas” fashion, I’m not sure the Ports—by supporting Democrats—are operating in their own self-interest as small-business owners in Minnesota.

But they do support the Democrats. Besides the sizable campaign donations, Lindsey Port recently wrote a letter to the editor supportive of the Democratic cause.

And we do mean large contributions; the Ports gave $1,000 to Roz Peterson’s undistinguished lump of a DFL opponent. 

This is, of course, a DFL pattern.  Four years ago, the DFL and the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” and its media allies at “The Uptake”, produced a piece featuring a mother who was “boycotting Target” because of their pro-business campaign donation to the putatively “anti-gay” Tom Emmer.  Of course, the woman was an upper-middle-class DFL donor from the southwest suburbs

The DFL.  Fake outrage.  Fake numbers.  Fake people.

Chanting Points Memo: “Only 4.5%!”

A friend of mine on Facebook (who admits he based it on a statement by Senator Michelle Benson, on the Dave Thompson show) notes the wierdness of the state’s math in arriving at the “4.5% increase in MNSure Premiums” number that the media is trumpeting.

He put it this way:  If a fast food restaurant serves 500 customers and has $5,000 in the till at the end of the day, that’s an average of $10 per person. 

If a coffee shop next door has 5 customers and makes a grand total of $25, they averaged $5 per sale. 

So what was the average amount spent by customers to those two stores?

  1. $7.50 – the average of $10 and $5?  Or…
  2. $9.95 – $5,025 in total receipts divided by 505 customers?

If you’re a Democrat, you picked “1″ – which is the average price of two items, but is not the average amount spent by the customers  If you undestand economics, you picked “2″. 

What the state has done – and the media has reported more or less uncritically – is tell us the average price of the plans (that are still on the market).  Not the average amount customers will have to spend to stay in the exchange – which includes nearly 2/3 of all MNSure customers who lost their lower-priced Preferred One plans, and who will be paying at least 20% more. 

The state’s spin is dishonest.  The media uncritically running the spin is an abdication of their purported job of keeping government honest.

Chanting Points Memo: The Dayton Economy Just Keeps Getting Better And Better!

Just keep repeating it to yourself, DFLers; the Dayton economy is awesome!

The Dayton economy is awesome!

The Dayton economy is awesome!

Housing starts are off 15 percent in August (the full story appeared on MPR last night – but naturally isn’t available online today):

Confidence in the local homebuilding market took a hit in August, as permits for new single-family houses declined 15 percent from a year ago and permits for new multifamily units were down 78 percent. 

And the price of farm land – one of the key indicators and drivers of the farm economy – is slipping in Minnesota.  But hey, at least they’ll be getting taxed more for it…

 

Chanting Points Memo: Our Slammin’ Economy!*

The left is jumping up and down proclaming that Minnesota’s economy is lighting up the charts. 

And it is – in the same sense that I’ve got the best chance of being the best pitcher in my division (if the other teams started Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Andrea Bocelli). 

But as Bill Glahn points out, it’s less about “economic strength”, and more about the comparisons that the Democrats are highlighting:

Most of the recent bragging around Minnesota’s economy centers on a single fact: that Minnesota’s unemployment rate (4.5%) is below that of Wisconsin’s (5.7%). But Minnesota’s unemployment rate has been lower than Wisconsin’s since February 1997.

Wisconsin’s economy has always been focused more heavily on manufacturing – and manufacturing has been on a slow decline for decades.  Minnesota’s economy focuses on financial services and healthcare (insurance and devices), both of which are hot tickets these days, and parts of which have been getting lavish government subsidies.  Of course they’re doing well

The two states’ relative positions not only predate Walker, they’re the same as when Wisconsin was dominated by idiot liberals. 

As to the purported “job growth” (with emphasis added):

It’s worth noting that Minnesota’s job growth during the past year has merely kept pace with the job growth in the rest of the country…Iowa (4.4%), South Dakota (3.8%), Nebraska (3.5%), and North Dakota (2.7%, the nation’s lowest) all enjoy lower unemployment rates than Minnesota. We may be beating Wisconsin, but we are losing badly to those states with which we compete for new residents and businesses.

And I’d be very interested in seeing how the states compare if you leave out manufacturing in Wisconsin. 

And the claim that the Twin Cities have the lowest unemployment rate of any major metro area in the country?”   Perhaps – but the smaller metropoli around us, Fargo and Des Moines and the like, are smoking the Twin Cities:

The “nation’s lowest” claim only comes by comparing MSP to the biggest American cities. If you are a sprinter, you’ll be happy to edge ahead of the fattest guy in the race, but you need to notice that all the other runners have already crossed the finish line.

Rather than comparing Minnesota’s economic performance to the relevant benchmarks, it seems we are determined to find someone, somewhere we can brag over. Yes, we are doing better than Detroit, but does that really mean we are doing well?

And don’t look now, but downtown Detroit is a lot more vibrant than downtown Saint Paul on a non-hockey night.

Read the whole thing.

Chanting Points Memo: The Straw War

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Did you know Minnesota women only make 80 percent of what men make?

 

 Thankfully, on Mother’s Day, Governor Mark Dayton took bold, decisive action to end this discrimination against women.

Dayton says the new law is intended to create equality, opportunities and protections for women. I confidently predict that one year from today, it will have accomplished none of them.

What it actually will accomplish is Good Feelings for having Done Something with Noble Intentions unlike those Hateful Republicans who wage War on Womyn just in time for Election. That, with the help of willing accomplices in the media such as the CBS story above, the new law will accomplish in spades.

Joe Doakes

It’s the very definition of a “Chanting Point”.

Chanting Points Memo: The New Gulag

Last January, I pointed out that the left’s newfound demand for “transparency” – in the form of making sure every (conservative) causes’ donors were made publicly available – was the prelude to an attempt to purge conservatives from business, academia and any other place the Big Left could get them purged from.

And the purging has started; Brandon Eich – inventor of Javascript (a frequently-misused tool that is also one of the most important factors of the past decade and change for making the web usable to non-geeks) and a long-time browser engineer, one of the foremost experts on how the web actually works – was cashiered from Mozilla (maker Netscape) for donating to California’s Proposition 8, which headed off gay marriage for a few years:

When this fact first came to light, Eich, who was then CTO of Mozilla, published a post on his personal blog stating that his donation was not motivated by any sort of animosity towards gays or lesbians, and challenging those who did not believe this to cite any “incident where I displayed hatred, or ever treated someone less than respectfully because of group affinity or individual identity.”

There were no examples.  There never are.  ”Thoughtcrime” – like most offenses in the “progressive” legal canon, like “sexual harassment” and their definition of “racism” – requires no actions, or even intent.

Conservatives think liberals are wrong; liberals think conservatives are evil.  The Eich incident is only the latest and largest example of “progressives” trying to purge dissenters from private as well as public life.  Even at the lowest and most meaningless level; one of every conservative blogger’s nightmares is when a pack of liberal droogs starts snooping through your private life, trying to get you fired or at least make your political beliefs an issue with your employers or clients.  I’ve been there and done that, and it’s one reason I never mention where I work on any social media, and never talk about politics in the office (even in offices where people know my politics and extracurricular activities.

At any rate, it’s time for choosing for “progressives”; either:

  • Choose America:  Recognize that “democracy” needs a rational, reasoned dissent, and a consensus that comes from a rational debate – and, more importantly, that people have the right to disagree civilly without having to fear for their livelihoods (or lives).  Elizabeth “The Anchoress” Scalia puts it well – it’s “Time for a gay CEO with balls to hire Eich and halt this crap“.  Or…:
  • Choose Maoism:  Live and act as if your ends really do justify your means.  Crush all intellectual opposition (or, given that most of America outside the coastal enclaves is relatively conservative whatever its political party, try to, and face the inevitable consequences, of which more later this week).

My hunch:  progressivism is well on its way toward making “the American experiment” as we know it today unviable.

More on this – much, much more – tomorrow and in coming weeks.

Chanting Points Memo: The Head Fake

Joe Soucheray got fooled.

The entire Twin Cities media has either been fooled, or is playing along.   I vote “playing along”.

Governor Messinger Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Bakk aren’t “fighting”, or “at odds”, or “in a conflict” over the DFL’s so-called “tax cuts” (which, let’s not forget, “cut” less than 10% of the four billion dollars worth of tax hikes the DFL jammed down back in 2013).

This is all theater.   And it’s about as spontaneous as a porn shoot.

Signs the DFL planned this from the ground up?   Ask yourself this; why is Governor Messinger Dayton, who is up for re-election this year, “in conflict” with Tom Bakk – who is not up for re-election this year – and not Paul Thissen, who is?

The entire “story” is a carefully-manicured charade designed to make Mark Dayton – who signed four billion dollars worth of tax hikes last year with little more thought (and perhaps little more knowledge) than he’d use signing a credit card receipt at the Oceanaire – look like a “tax cutting moderate” compared with the Senate (who are utterly safe for the next two years, and for whom the media will help engineer something in two years anyway), but heaven forbid not the House, who are, mirabile dictu, not involved in this particular fracas.

Chanting Points Memo: Koch Fiends

How much reporting could conservatives save by simply referring to Berg’s Seventh Law - “When a Liberal issues a group defamation or assault on conservatives’ ethics, character, humanity or respect for liberty or the truth, they are at best projecting, and at worst drawing attention away from their own misdeeds” – to explain “progressive” efforts to slander/”attack” conservatives, their organizations, and their supporters? 

Hard to say.  Lots.

That said, it’s good to get the details.

James Taranto chronicles the left’s current assault on  the Koch Brothers - who, along with the tiny think tank “ALEC” and the NRA are the the repository of most lefty boogeyman-mongering – and finds it a troubling variant on a standard “progressive” tactic…:

We’re torn between finding this effort sinister and ridiculous, and the truth is it’s both. Alinskyite tactics were meant to be applied against the powerful by the powerless. When applied by powerful men, like Reid, who are supposed to be public servants, they take on the character of tyranny rather than rebellion.

…as well as a classic case of Berg’s Seventh Law in action (

No doubt the Kochs can take it, but note that his attack aimed not only at them but also at ordinary Americans who have been victimized by ObamaCare and spoken out about it. The aim is clearly to intimidate others and thereby suppress information about ObamaCare’s failures.

Not to mention make dissenting from the “progressive” narrative too painful for non-billionaires to carry on.  See also “Joe the Plumber”.

Strib: “Look At All That Money!”

You know me.

You know I believe that the Strib is – and at the highest level, sees itself – as a PR arm for the DFL.

I don’t think I’ve left a whole lot of you wondering about my beliefs about Minnesota’s Newspaper of Record.

But I never figured the business section’s Neal Saint Anthony would turn into a stenographoer for Alida Messinger, too.

But one of my last little outposts of pollyannaism about theStrib’ssense of detachment has been the business section, especially Neal Saint Anthony.

I was wrong, of course:

Nearly half of the tax cuts Gov. Mark Dayton proposed Thursday are for businesses and their owners, a move that may reduce the anti-business criticism that has dogged him.

 Dayton proposed — and the House almost immediately passed — eliminating three business-sales taxes that accounted for $232 million in his overall $616 million in tax cuts.

 He also asked lawmakers to simplify and raise the estate tax deduction to $2 million from $1 million and to eliminate the gift tax, a 10 percent levy on any personal gift above $1 million. Those moves would cut $43 million in taxes, bringing the combined cut on businesses and the wealthy to $275 million, or 44 percent of the total.

So let’s get this straight:

  • In 2013, the DFL went on a taxing orgy, jacking up taxes by a net $2 Billion.  With the economy still moving forward after a decade of Republican control, revenues actually went up $3 Billion.  That’s an extra $600 taken out of the productive economy for every man, woman and child in Minneosta.   This orgy of larceny was treated with kid gloves by the Minnesota media. 
  • In 2014, the DFL proposes “giving” a few hundred million of those three billion dollars “back”.    This “gift” is being greeted with saturation media coverage, in a key election year in which – mirabile dictu – the DFL is in dire need of a PR win. 

Why, it’s almost as if a cynic might expect to dig back into the “hypothetical” Minnesota version of Journo-List and find a conversation between key DFL operatives and the major Twin Cities media figures saying “we’ll grab all the taxes we can first; keep mum about it.  We’ll give some back next year; make a huge deal about it.  And for God’s sake, never talk about MNSure!”. 

But that’d be cynical, wouldn’t it?

Chanting Points Memo: Will Susan Perry Ever Stop Treating Readers Like Junior High Kids?

There must be a legislative session coming up; the MinnPost – a local group-blog funded by liberals with deep pockets employing a rogue’s gallery of recycled local big-media people – is back on the gun beat.

Last week, Susan Perry – their “consumer health reporter”, whose sloppy reporting on this subject we’ve repeatedly, even routinely, beaten up in this space – wrote a fluff piece about a metastudy (a repackaging of the data in other studies) appearing in the Annals of Internal Medicine that shows that having a gun in the home doubles chance of a murder, and triples the chance of suicide.

And it reminded me of an episode from twenty years ago.

Let’s flash back, shall we?

The Gullible, Biased Hack Beat:  Back in the early nineties, the anti-gun media (which was most of them, back then) breathlessly recited a factoid; a study in the New England Journal of Medicine had showed, we were told, that a gun in the home was 43 times as likely to kill the owner, or someone the owner knew, than it was to kill a criminal.

The media reported this uncritically, without question, much less the faintest pretense of analysis of the data that led to that very specific number.

Of course, some Real Americans in the Second Amendment movement did dig into the study, back when “the internet” was still “Usenet” for most people.

They found that the data came from King County, Washington, during a period of several years in the late eighties.  And the “43:1″ ratio actually broke out, over the period of time, to nine justifiable deaths of criminals that the shooter didn’t know, against something like 380-odd other firearms deaths.

And of those 380-odd firearm deaths, the vast majority were suicides – enough to account for 36-37 of the “43″.  Of the remaining 6 from the “43″ – 50-odd firearms deaths – there were a few accidents; the rest were murders or manslaughters of one kind or another.  And note that it only counted the presence of a gun in the home, not whether it was used; if someone broke into your home and shot you as you were peeling potatoes at your kitchen counter, but there was a gun in the house, it went into the “43″.

Suicide is obviously a problem – but it doesn’t depend on firearms.  Japan, where guns are unobtainable, has double the US’ suicide rate.   But leaving out suicides, the rate dropped to more like six to one.

But there were other clinkers in the way the “43:1″, or even the 6:1, figures were generated, and related to the public by a media that, at best, didn’t know what it was talking about and, at worst, didn’t care.

Walt White Knew Jack Welker!:  The phrase “gun owner or someone they know” was the first problem.

Someone who shoots himself, obviously, is “killing themselves or someone they know”.  But then so is a drug dealer shooting a rival, or a customer that owes them money, is “killing someone they know”, as is a gang-banger shooting a long-time rival So is a woman shooting an ex-husband that’s been stalking and threatening her.  So is someone killing a robber that they had met, even once, ever.

The NEJM study didn’t distinguish between those types of killings.  The “1″ in the “43:1″ ratio only included justifiable homicides where the shooter had never met the victim.

Why So Bloodthirsty?:  Did you notice that the only “good” results in the New England Journal study – the “1″ in “43:1″ – were the nine justifiable killings of complete strangers?

Leaving aside the likelihood (indeed, fact) that some of the homicides of acquaintances were justifiable – why is a justifiable killing of a complete, malevolent stranger the only legitimate use of a firearm?

The study didn’t account for deterrences of other crimes.  A gun used to scare away a burglar or a stalker doesn’t have to kill anyone to have a beneficial effect – deterring a felony without a shot being fired.

The Real Results?:  So when you take the numbers from the “43:1″ ratio, and then…:

  • factor out suicides (which are a problem, and were the vast majority of the deaths in the study, but are entirely different than crimes committed with malice against others)
  • move the justifiable homicides of “acquaintances” – ex-spouses and the like – into the “good” column”
  • Account for the “bad” shootings that involved someone who was drunk or high, or had a criminal record
  • Add in estimates of the number of crimes that would have been deterred by law-abiding citizens with guns in the same area during the same period

…then the original New England Journal of Medicine study’s numbers came out more like this:

  • A gun in a home in which one or more residents had a criminal record, drinking or drug problem was equally likely to be involved in a murder or unjustified killing as it was to deter a crime.
  • A gun in a home without any of those problems was dozens or hundreds of times as likely to deter a crime (depending on the estimate of deterrences you accepted – from the conservative FBI estimate to the much more expansive estimate by Gary Kleck, which by the way tracks pretty well with the Centers for Disease Control’s recent work on the subject) as to be involved in an unjustifiable homicide.  That’s dozens at least, hundreds at most

So How About Sue Perry’s Article?:  A quick scan of the metastudy in Annals shows that it (or, more proximately, the studies it mines for data) does not, in fact, control for…:

  • drug abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • criminal records

…among the subjects in the “study”.

Like the reporting on the NEJM study twenty-odd years ago, it considers firearms in a vacuum, without accounting for any of the human factors – criminal activity of the owner, sustance abuse issues, or mental illness.

Neither does it distinguish between justifiable homicide – which accounts for 2-3% of all firearms deaths in America in a given year – and murder, manslaughter or accidental deaths. 

It’s junk science…

…well, no.  It’s junk social science, which is the worst kind.

Susan Perry is doing junk reporting of junk non-science, to report a meaningless, junk conclusion. 

Why?

Remember:  The MinnPost operates with the assistance of a large annual grant from the Joyce Foundation.

Follow the money. Journos do it – when it’s not Alida Messinger or Michael Bloomberg’s money, anyway.

The Joyce Foundation also funds…

  •  ”ProtectMN”, the closest Minnesota gets to an actual gun control “organization”,
  • “TakeActionMN”, which essentially serves as an unregulated “progressive” political party whose mission is to drive the DFL to the left.  It may be the most successful political party in Minnesota today – precisely because the laws that apply to the GOP and (to some extent) DFL don’t apply to it. 

 

All “journalism” about guns – and politics and general – from the MinnPost must be considered with that in mind.

So why would the MinnPost publish a continuous chain of stories about Second Amendment issues that range from bad science to bad history to bad scholarship to really, really bad reporting

Because, I suggest, it’s what they’re being paid to do.   

There was a time when “journalists” would have recoiled at any suggestion that their coverage was bought and paid for to secure some special interest’s narrative. 

Those days are long past us – to everyone who pays attention.

Chanting Points Memo: The Rainbow Maria

“Progressive” and Administration efforts to shut up conservatives are continuing apace as the nation gets set for another ugly round of elections.

One of their latest memes?  ”Dark Money”.

To hear the usual liberal suspects (including most of the “news” media – “Dark Money” is an insidious scourge against Democracy.

But of course, the definition depends entirely on who’s using it.  And I don’t entirely mean “if it’s Alita Messinger, it’s OK”.

No, the hypocrisy goes deeper than that:

The HuffPo and the rest of the left define “dark money” groups as non-profits who don’t have to disclose the identity of donors. This non-disclosure of donors is actually a byproduct of the civil rights struggle, when the government sought to protect donors from intimidation by groups like the KKK. Given that conservatives feel the need for anonymity over their political speech is a stark reflection of how far leftist rhetoric has devolved.

And why do conservative donors feel the need to protect their identities?

Ahead of his reelection in 2012, President Obama published an “enemies list” of donors to his opponent Mitt Romney. Obama’s campaign even urged supporters to “report” attacks on the President’s record. Business Frank VanderSloot found himself the subject of two IRS audits, an investigation by the Department of Labor and the subject of an investigation by a Democrat Senate staffer, just days and weeks after being publicly named as a major Romney donor.

At the end of 2013, a cancer patient, Bill Elliot, went public with the news that his health insurance had been cancelled due to ObamaCare. An insurance broker, C. Steven Tucker, heard about his situation and helped Elliot get new insurance coverage. Both men appeared in the press about the events. Both men also, on the exact same day, were notified by the IRS that they were being audited.

Given the details revealed last year about how the IRS targeted conservative and grass roots organizations for extraordinary scrutiny and review, it is not unreasonable for conservatives to worry that they will be targeted for their political activity.

And like the campaign against ALEC, it’s all further evidence in favor of Berg’s Seventh Law – when liberals attack conservatives motives, commitment to freedom or ethics, it’s a cover for something they’re doing themselves.

But this year, there’s the added imperative change the conversation.

To anything!

The left knows they are at a disadvantage. HuffPo’s warning about “dark money” is just the first salvo in the campaign to silence the right this year. To paraphrase the old legal saw, if neither the facts or the law are on your side, pound the table. The left is going to pound the table loudly until November.

Look for the scourge of ALEC to make its reappearance as the Minnesota legislative sessions re-opens next month.

Chanting Points Memo: Irrational Exuberance

The local establishment media have been flogging a article in the NYTimes in which Professor Larry Jacobs – the most over-quoted person in Twin Cities media, although Professor David Schultz is breathing hard on his heels – claims “progressive” Minnesota’s outlook is better than “conservative” Wisconsin’s.

I was going to tackle it – but Jeff Peil already did, and did it just fine.

Read the whole thing – but here’s the money quote:

So what does it matter? The whole point of Jacobs’ article is that Minnesota and Wisconsin are perfect little laboratories to measure the consequences of completely opposite policies. The only problem is that they are not. What’s worse is that the consequences he cites are so cherry-picked, that Politifact, renowned in conservative circles for being vehemently left-leaning, actually pre-empted Jacobs’ drivel a couple of months ago. Politifact called it a half-truth to state that Minnesota is faring better than Wisconsin in important areas. But, you see, that does not matter to the likes of Jacobs or the Times. Walker must be taken down – sound reasoning and intellectually honest analysis is irrelevant.

The truth is that it is way too soon to see what differences, if any, exist between liberal and conservative rule. Mark Dayton spent much of his term battling a Republican majority, which, like its federal counterpart, shut the government down. Being as generous as I can, he has had about nine months to enact his policies. Similarly, Scott Walker spent the majority of his term battling a recall effort which ended up with his party losing control of one chamber of the legislature.

Economies take time to change – but the parade of suck has begun in Minnesota.

Winkler Karaoke: “Making Bipartisanship Out Of Nothing At All”

Ryan Winkler (DFL St. Louis Park) is beating the bushes around Minnesota to try to gin up a push for a massive hike in the minimum wage (and cobble together some positive name recognition to try to rescue his rumored ambition to run for Secretary of State after the avalanche of negative publicity he got by calling Justice Clarence Thomas an “Uncle Tom” over the summer).

Now, Winkler is from a solid blue district.  He can demand a minimum wage of $20 an hour, and the voters in Saint Louis Park and most of CD5 will applaud and stomp their feet and send him back to Saint Paul with 20 point margins of victory.  Such is life. 

But outstate?  In parts of Minnesota with functioning two-party systems, where the majority don’t work for government?  Especially in parts of the state represented by extremely weak DFLers like Ben Lien?

Winkler, one of the most extreme demigogues in the entire Legislature, needs to try to appear “bipartisan”.

This video was shot by a Winkler staffer at a town hall in Moorhead recently.

So at the start, he says the support for his $9/50/hour minimum wage proposal from a House Select Committee on the minimum wage  is “bipartisan”.

Around the 90 second mark, a Town Hall attendee presses Winkler on the support his proposal is receiving – and whether the Republican members of the Select Committee on the Minimum Wage actually signed off on his presentation.

Winkler quickly answers “no” before moving right along.

No wonder why.  Here’s the presentation Winkler’s making:

Rep Winkler’s Living Wage Presentation

That it’s full of lefty puffery and junk stats about the minimum wage is no surprise.

But forget about the actual facts for a moment. 

Why would Winkler claim “bipartisan support?”  This would lmean the Republicans on the Select Committee –  Representatives Jenifer Loon, Pat Garofalo and Andrea Kieffer – supported his stance, and the points on his presentation.

Sources say Winkler’s repeating the claim at other town hall meetings where – unlike the Moorhead meeting in the video – nobody’s pressing him on the claim.

Pat Garofalo has spoken against Winkler’s proposal in the House.  I talked with Rep. Garofalo – he opposes the $9.50 minimum wage, and has not changed his mind one iota. 

And a source close to Representative Loon tells me that not only does Loon not support the $9.50 minimum wage, but that the DFL, possibly including some DFL members of the Select Committee, might not entirely support Winkler. 

Finally, I talked with Representative Kieffer.  She does not support Winkler’s proposal, and does not approve of the points in the presentation. She’s even written an op-ed on the subject, which has circulated to some local newspapers around the state; it’s below the jump.  It flenses Winkler’s claims about the minimum wage in general.

But here’s the money quote from Kieffer in re the “bipartisanship” of Winkler’s support:

First and foremost, the implication that there is “bipartisan” support for his presentation is disingenuous. During meetings that I attend, I consistently voice my concerns to the data presented, ask for more specifics, and maintain that the committee is focusing on the wrong part of the economic picture.

And Kieffer is right.

So why is Ryan Winkler misrepresenting the Select Committee’s position as “bipartisan” support for his proposal around greater Minnesota, when not only are the Republicans not on board, but even the DFL has qualms?

It’s not bipartisan.  It’s not even entirely monopartisan! 

Continue reading

Chanting Points Memo: Our Spunky, Cute, White Underclass

The fact is, I have a lot of questions about the minimum wage debate.

Of course, the uncountably vast majority of people who are earning minimum wage are kids, or others who are just entering the workforce.  People who haven’t yet developed even the most rudimentary work skills – like showing up on time, much less running the shake machine or the deep fryer with authority.

But there are people earning the minimum wage who do, in fact, have themselves and others depending on their income.

If you’re a conservative, you no doubt suspect that that sad state is because of poor choices; partying too much in high school and not getting an education; having children out of wedlock; working on the easy crime career before developing the boring straight career.

Of course, not every person is affected by their own choices.  When you party you way into your twenties, do jail time, get knocked up and wind up having to raise a family on a wage that wouldn’t support a single person, you are very likely passing a lot of problems on to the next generation; you’re passing your bad, shortsighted, immature and/or stupid choices on to them.  ”Personal Responsibility” is great when it’s just your own choices affecting you – but when your parents, and grandparents, were idiots or drunks or screw-ups, what’s a kid to do?

(And if you’re the progeny of a couple of generations of people who made good choices, worked hard, got good jobs and dedicated themselves to helping you make good choices, too, then thank whatever it is you believe in.  It’s a major leg up in life).

Now, I’m not sure how many of Jessica English’s choices were her ancestors, and how many were hers.  But the media certainly is playing up the results – the state of Ms. English’s life today:

Jessica English is the face of a newly revived effort to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage.

Ms. English, speaking at the Minnesota State Fair, illustrating the dangers of poverty to cute, white women from Wayzata who choose to work in art.

She earned minimum wage while working in rural western Minnesota, places such as Fergus Falls, Ortonville and Kerkhoven. A case worker called it the “land of the minimum wage.”

Now, the 35-year-old divorced mother said she faces losing custody of her four daughters, ages 6 to 15, because she earned so little, even though her finances improved a bit since moving to St. Paul.

On the one hand?  That sounds scary – being 35 and up against it like that.   Now, I have no idea what got Ms. English to this point in her life – single, four kids, job skills worth $6.15 an hour.

(As to the “losing custody” bit, though?  Er, if she was a single father - presuming that’s who Ms. English would be contesting for custody - would the media even care?  What if the father is better able to provide a decent life for the kids?  The double standard is nothing new).

But the fact is, one does make choices in one’s life.  I’ve made a few; I left radio, my first career, when I was married and had two kids and another on the way, and was making $6.50/hour, and painstakingly taught myself how to convince managers I was a competent technical writer.  I adapted.  I did what it took to develop a skill that would get me and my family out of poverty.  I don’t want, or deserve, a cookie for that - that’s what you do when you have a family; you take care of them.  I had some blessings, of course; I’d gotten a passable education when I had the chance, I’d avoided doing any jail time, that sort of thing. Perhaps my greatest blessing?  Growing up in a place and time when “not being ready to raise a family when I had one” still had some moral weight.

And it’d seem Ms. English has learned that lesson, at least in part.  The article notes that her financial situation has “improved a bit since moving to St. Paul”.

Where she works – for an inadequate wage, perhaps, although we don’t know – as a “community organizer” for “The Coffee Party”, the beyond-astroturf liberal-plutocrat-funded “response” to the Tea Party. 

In other words, one of the liberal-plutocrat-supported non-profits that’s agitating for a “living wage” apparently won’t provide one. 

Judging by Ms. English’s rap sheet, she spent the last several years working in the public/non-profit art business – a famously penurious racket, usually the province of trust fund babies, bored housewives and young, no-strings-attached arts majors.

I don’t know Ms. English.  But how much weight should the media give the testimony of a person who has apparently dedicated herself to finding and remaining in poverty?

And how much should Minnesota’s real working poor – the 20 year olds scrambling for their first jobs at Burger King, who will be the first to get laid off when the robots do finally take over the fast food business, the immigrants who are working as many minimum wage jobs as they can while they learn English and develop other skills, the poor kids who need to some some reassurance that there’s a future in working the straight and narrow rather than turning to crime - have to pay for such dilettantism?

Because it’s their jobs – not the “Community Organizer” jobs for fashionable lefty non-profits – that’ll be disappearing.

UPDATE:  Someone emailed “aren’t you being a bit condescending?”

Me?  Not a bit.  There’s a reason that the poverty pimps are trotting out an attractive white woman instead of a 30 year old Somali immigrant.  Put another way – the proponents of the minimum wage hike are doing the condescending, here.

We Warned You. Oh, Yes, We Did.

2011:  As the GOP majority began working to try to tame Minnesota’s government monkey, the DFL prattled “the GOP is raising property taxes!”. 

It was baked monkey doodle, of course.  The GOP re-focused “Local Government Aid” toward its original mission, helping poor outstate communities, as opposed to subsidizing the urban DFL. 

But in 2012, it was one of the DFL’s big chanting points; “Elect us and we’ll lower property taxes!”, by restoring and boosting Local Government Aid. 

And some of us warned you back then - while the DFL would certainly tuck into the job of wrenching more money out of the parts of the state that pay their way, there’d be no guaranteed cuts in property taxes…

…because the state has nothing to do with what counties charge.

Nothing.  Zip.  Nada.  Zilch. 

But the voters – maniupulated by a lot of emotional issues, and not thinking all that clearly – turned the House and Senate over to the DFL.  And the DFL raised taxes, and jacked up LGA payments to their friends in Minneapolis, Saint Paul and Duluth. 

And then what?

What the hell do you think?   Property taxes aren’t going to budge!

Joe Doakes from Como Park noticed it, and emailed:

St. Paul’s budget proposal has no layoffs; instead, there are new hires and expanded services, which the City Council President Lantry attributes to Local Government Aid received from the State of Minnesota.

Two weeks ago, Governor Dayton and the DFL promised that LGA would produce $120 million in local property tax relief instead of new spending.

But DFL politics aren’t driven by actual results.  All that’s necessary, in a state where the media mostly takes its marching orders from Alida Messinger, is that someone says taxes will go down, probably. 

And that’s exactly what’s happening. 

Doakes:

Nope, not in St. Paul. St. Paul taxes stay the same. The LGA gets spent on fun stuff, not boring old property tax relief. Again.

Joe Doakes

And by “fun stuff”, we mean more government employee union jobs. 

At any rate, I’ll claim a big win here – taxes in Saint Paul won’t drop, and they’ll probably rise.  Taxes in Minneapolis and Duluth will also stay the same, although there will be more “services” that serve precious few at exquisite cost.

The DFL lied.  And it’s you, the taxpayer, that’s paying the price – being taken for a ripe suck at both the state and (most) local levels. 

The funny part?  The DFL’s apparatchiks are still claiming taxes are dropping, even though they aren’t. 

It’s almost like they don’t expect the regional media to fact-check them, or give any coverage to those who do.

Chanting Points Memo: Why Yes – We Did Build It

“You didn’t build that”.

President Obama said it to America’s entrepreneurs during the campaign; the not-remotely-muted message was that “private sector innovation follows public sector investment” – that without roads, there’d be no car company; without airports, there’d be no aircraft. 

On the state level, one of Governor Messinger’s budget czars made essentially the same statement at a meeting of government and business leaders in Thief River Falls last year; without government to build the infrastructure, entrepreneurship would be doomed to failure. 

On the one level, it’s wrong – unless the entrepreneurs and their employees not only weren’t paying plenty of taxes, but hadn’t already paid their taxesforall that infrastructure all of their lives, and their parents, and grandparents, back to statehood. 

But even beyond that – and I can’t believe I and many other conservative pundits didn’t note this at the time?   It’s just not true; infrastructure tends to follow innovation.

A great example – which came first, the car or the road?

Henry Ford and dozens of other auto makers put a car in almost every garage decades before the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act in 1956. The success of the car created a demand for roads. The government didn’t build highways, and then Ford decided to create the Model T. Instead, the highways came as a byproduct of the entrepreneurial genius of Ford and others.

Read a little about the history of the automobile.  When cars were expensive, handmade playthings of the wealthy, roads, were few, far between, and largely wretched outside the cities, where they existed at all.  The normal “road” in the greater US in 1900 was a cow path or a wagon trail.  Early cars were as likely to be found driving along railroad tracks as anywhere else. 

And what happened next?  A huge federal road-building initiative? 

No!  Ford mass-produced the Model T, which brought the car financially into reasonable reach for working-class Americans.  Other auto makers followed suit. 

And then the roads got built: 

 

Moreover, the makers of autos, tires and headlights began building roads privately long before any state or the federal government got involved. The Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway for cars, pieced together from new and existing roads in 1913, was conceived and partly built by entrepreneurs—Henry Joy of Packard Motor Car Co., Frank Seiberling of Goodyear and Carl Fisher, a maker of headlights and founder of the Indy 500.

And this was the pattern for advance after advance in industry and “infrastructure”; the canal boat led to the government canal; the burgeoning steamship industry led to everything from seaports to the taming of the Mississippi; commerce, not Algore or even the Department of Defense, built the Internet. 

And the business in Thief River Falls which Governor Messinger’s budget apparatchik owed its existence to infrastructure?   Not only had they paid their fair share for the infrastructure that exists (more than their fair share, actually, given Minnesota’s business taxes) over the past 40 years, but it was the company’s existence that gave Thief River Falls the need for significant infrastructure in the first place. 

It’s time government – especially the arrogant, preening, narcissistic variety practiced by the DFL – learn its place.

All The Facts That Fit (The Narrative)

Dems must smell their own blood in the water for next year; they’re frantically trying to attack the notion that tax cuts help create jobs…

…in the minds of those who don’t check the facts.

This one’s been popping up on Twitter lately:

So I looked at the link.  It’s from “Think” Progress, which is always a good sign that you’re about to descend into the fever swamp.

And it says…:

The five states that implemented deep tax cuts during the 1990s experienced slower job growth over the next economic cycle than states that did not, and none of those states experienced income growth that exceeded inflation, CBPP found:

And what states were those?

The post doesn’t mention ‘em.  You have to look at the fine print on the handy graph they included:

Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and New York?

Five states that were pretty much boom economies throughout the 2000s before the crash (perhaps because of the tax cuts in the 90s)?   States that in most cases had very little room for job growth – before the crash (at which point the “study” conks out), anyway?

This is sort of like the Dems’ slur against Romney – the Massachusetts economy grew slower when he was Governor (because it was already pretty much steaming along at full bore)!

Distrust, but verify.  Then, almost invariably, distrust some more.

 

Chanting Points Memo: Flat Versus Bouncy

One of the left’s favorite chanting points this past few months has been that, supposedly, Minnesota’s job growth under an all-Democrat regime has outstripped that of newly-Republican Wisconsin.

Conservatives responded that Wisconsin was shaking off the after-effects of decades of “progressive” incompetence, and would take a while, while in the meantime Minnesota was still coasting on having had ten years of one combination of GOP governor or legislature or another.

Well, the coasting’s stopped:

There was a “substantial vacation” in U.S. entrepreneurial activity last year—but nowhere was it as pronounced as in Minnesota.
That’s according to The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, a report compiled by the Kansas City, Missouri-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The study essentially defines entrepreneurial activity as being tied to the launch of new businesses, and it is meant to serve as an indicator of business-creation activity across the United States.
The report found that there was a national lull in entrepreneurship in 2012, when roughly 514,000 entrepreneurs opened new businesses each month, down from 543,000 in 2011.
The report defines entrepreneurial activity based on how many adults per 100,000 residents started a new business each month during the year. Minnesota fared the worst, with only about 150 out of 100,000 residents opening businesses on a monthly basis.

Minnesota has always been a difficult place to start a business.

Run a Fortune 500?  That’s a whole ‘nother thing – although ask yourselves how many Fortune 500s based in the Twin Cities are building non-retail operations in the state these days.

But how about Wisconsin?

This MPR story a few months back shows that while Wisconsin is lagging, a big part of the reason is that the Badgers are overcoming so much negative intertia from when the Democrats had full reign over the place.

Chanting Points Memo: Ron Latz’s Polished Turd

Death came to me the other day as I was shopping for crackers.

No, not in the whole black robe and scythe get-up.  In fact, he looked a little bit like a Ryan Winker speech sounds.

But I digress.  We started talking.

DEATH: OK, so how about “death”?  Whatdya think?

ME:  Well, I’ll choose life, if I have any say in the matter.

DEATH:  Right, right.  No problem.  I’m all about the “win-win” – well, as long as I’m not walking around in the robes, naturally.

ME: Naturally.

DEATH: So how about a compromise.  We take “death” off the table, and settle for a concussion and a toxic intestinal infection?

ME:  Er…that’s not much of a compromise…

———-

This past week and a half, Representatives Paymar and Martens Hausman introduced stupid, oppressive, constitutionally likely-dodgy gun grab bills.  Think “death”.

In response, Representative Hilstrom and Senator Ortman filed good gun bills – bills that ratchet up the consequences for mis-using firearms.  Think “life”.

In response to the public revulsion at the Paymar/Hausman/Stalin bill and the legislative juggernaut behind the Good Gun Bill, Senator Ron Latz – the Senate Judiciary Committee Chair, who has been trying to position himself as “reasonable” on the issue for some time – has introduced a head injury and a toxic infection of a “compromise” amendment to the Senate gun grab bill .

Latz’ bill would take most of the provisions of the Hilstrom/Hortman bill, and plop in all of the worst features of the Paymar/Hausman/Stalin gun grab bills.

According to GOCRA, the “compromise” bill would bring us:

Universal Registration:

These bills would require universal registration of pistols and sporting rifles, implemented through a “universal” background check, — twice: The bills would require every sale of such guns to go through a licensed dealer, who would charge $25 per transfer. These transfers would still require a permit to purchase, for which the House bill would charge you another $25 annually.

 

Rights Delayed

The bills extend the time that sheriffs and police have to process a purchase permit from five to seven business days, and allow the law enforcement official to fingerprint the applicant and extend the deadline to 30 days.

 

Easier Carry Permit Denials

The bad bills would allow sheriffs the judgement to deny a carry permit on the basis of a subjective “likelihood” that the applicant was dangerous.

More Difficult Carry Permit Appeals

The bad bills positively encourage abusive denials: they remove the sheriffs’ obligation to pay an applicant’s legal fees when a permit denial is overturned — a safeguard that has kept sheriffs departments honest, and bogus denials fairly low, for almost 10 years. The Sheriff’s Association has not asked for this unfair reversal of law.

The bad bills also lower the sheriffs’ standard of proof of danger to self or other others from “clear and convincing evidence” to the mere “preponderance of the evidence.”

Due Process Protections Gutted

The bad bills would remove legal protections against losing your firearm rights. Currently, before you lose your right to own a firearm, you must be convicted or committed by a court. Under the new bill, any involuntary hospitalization, even overnight, would disqualify you from owning guns indefinitely.

Making The Law Abiding Into Convicts

The bad bills set a very low standard of proof for conviction of serious gun crimes, using the phrase “knows or has reason to believe” to convict sellers who reports a gun stolen, or who sell a gun to a person who later commits a crime.

More Difficult Civil Rights Restoration

The bad bills increase the difficulty and expense for a person who has paid their debt to society to regain their civil rights.

Intersting how the DFL wants felons to be able to vote while they’re still in jail, but never have a chance of getting their Second Amendment rights back.

Hearings Tonight!

The Senate is holding hearings on both the Good Gun Bill and Latz’ bill – I’ll call it The Polished Turd, since that’s about what it is – tonight.  Hope you can make it.

And keep on lighting up the phones at the Capitol, especially for members of the House and Senate committees involved.  Sources at the Capitol tell me your efforts are making a difference.  It’s not even close; pro-Second Amendment traffic from Real Americans is crushing commentary from nannystate orcs.  This needs to continue, and accelerate.  

Go here for more information.

Chanting Points Memo: The Potemkin Push

With much fanfare, a few DFL figureheads are introducing a gay marriage bill:

“Minnesotans spoke so loudly during this last election refusing to adopt that proposed constitutional amendment. It was a very clear statement, and I think we’re now ready to take the next step, and it means everything to our families.”

Surrounded by supporters, Clark and Sen. Scott Dibble, who was instrumental in the anti-amendment campaign, said their side is prepared to combat the flood of national money that’s been promised against the proposal.

I’ve been saying since the opening day of the session that the DFL was going to stall on gay marriage – and they have.

And they’ll continue to; even the DFL’s house PR organs (including the MinnPost, from which I quote) note that the DFL leadership is going very slow:

Although DFL leaders have said they personally support same-sex marriage, they haven’t been overly enthusiastic in discussing legislative action with the press.

This is echoed in fundraising letters being sent to gay marriage supporters; outstate DFLers, already alarmed by the DFL’s gun grabs and a DFL tax bill that is going over outstate like a Lindsay Lohan one-woman show in Branson, are queasy about the bill; they remember (even if the media doesn’t) that the Marriage Amendment passed, often convincingly, in most of Minnesota; it was stopped by cataclysmic turnout in the Metro.

Where, unlike greater Minnesota, the issue is a winner for the DFL.

My fearless prediction:  the DFL will introduce the bill with much fanfare (ok, that’s not a prediction, that’s what happened).  It’ll quietly die in committee.  And the Alliance for a Better Minnesota will send its flying monkeys out next year to spin the death as perfidy by a GOP caucus that, in fact, controls nothing.

Final scorecard:  those who prosper from low-information voters: 1.  Gays who wish to marry:  0.

And so it shall stay.

The Knights Who Say “Living Wage!”

SCENE:  Adriana and Michael GONZALES, age 30 and 32, owners of a small family commercial cleaning business and parents of three children, are walking through the woods near Minnehaha Park.  It’s foggy and foreboding.

ADRIANA: Mike, did you see something in the woods?

MICHAEL:  Yeah.  Looks like – guys in helmets?

ADRIANA:  This is weird.

MICHAEL:  No kidding…

(They stop, noticing three people in medieval knight costumes – Tom BAKK, Ryan WINKLER and Heather MARTENS – astride the path).

MICHAEL:  Er, who are you?

BAKK:  We are the Knights Who Say “Living Wage!”

WINKER:  We are three elected representatives…

(BAKK nudges WINKLER, points toward Martens, who is gazing distractedly at a squirrel. WINKLER shrugs)

WINKLER: …who roam the forest spreading social justice!

(MICHAEL and ADRIANA shrug)

WINKLER:  If you wish to pass through this forest, you must appease us!

ADRIANA:  Er…OK?  With what?

WINKLER:  You must hire…a Minimum Wage Employee!

MICHAEL:  Cool.  I was hoping to do that.  We’ve got more business than the two of us can handle.

BAKK: Silence?

MICHAEL: Huh?

WINKLER:  You must pay them…nine dollars per hour!

ADRIANA:  Oh, no.  We just need people to do basic cleaning.  We can pay a bonus, but it’s not worth $9 an hour…

BAKK:  And you may not cut your other employees’ hours or benefits to pay the training wage rate, which is itself higher than the federal minimum wage!

WINKLER:  Or lay them off!

BAKK and MARTENS: Or lay them off!

ADRIANA:  Well, then we just can’t hire anyone!

BAKK:  Be happy to pay for a Better Minnesota!

ADRIANA (to MARTENS): So what are you doing here?

MARTENS:  Guns on a bed of escarole make a wonderful snack.  So much better than killing people!

(Sounds in distance:  Minstrels playing over the clip clop of horses, as Governor DAYTON, riding a white charger, appears at the head of a retinue of knights and minstrels.

MINSTREL (as lutes and flutes play in the background) Brave Sir Mark ran away / bravely ran away away! / When terror made its presence known, he bravely turned and scampered home…

DAYTON: Blargle not blargle sure blargle not blargle blargle!

MICHAEL to ADRIANA (whispers): This is a weird place…

MINSTREL: He wasn’t afraid to face Roger Goodell / or tell Alida she’s not so swell / brave brave brave brave sir Mark…

DAYTON:  Blargle!  Blargle not blarg!

MICHAEL : So what if I can’t afford it?

WINKLER:  It’s against the law!  Don’t ask questions!

ADRIANA:  We could just take our business to North Dakota!

BAKK:  Hah!  And for what?  Money?

DAYTON: Blargle!

MICHAEL:  Well…yeah!

WINKLER:  But you can’t get MPR in North Dakota!

ADRIANA:  Yes, I can – we paid for that, too.

BAKK:  But in Minnesota, you will soon have unionized daycare!

ADRIANA:  I like the daycare we have just fine.

WINKLER:  But you can pay more for them!

MARTENS:  It’s a known fact that daycare that costs more is better for children.  Especially if you ban guns.

MICHAEL:  What the…?

DAYTON: Blargle blargle!

ADRIANA (pulling a Texas brochure from her purse and looking at MICHAEL):  This is a silly place.

The couple walk past the jabbering knights.

And SCENE.

Chanting Points Memo: Ryan Winkler, Brezhnev-Style Economist

Conservatives joke that liberals just. Don’t.  Get. Economics.

We joke, at times, that at some point a liberal is going to push for a “living wage” statute calling for a $100/hour minimum wage as a means to end poverty, followed by a bill barring any layoffs and banning bankruptcy.

It’s a joke.  Some liberals shake their heads and go “yeah, yeah, we’re not nuts”.

And then something comes a long to prove that they really, really are that dissociative.

Rep. Ryan Winkler (D St. Louis Park), also known as “The Eddie Haskell of the House” – is introducing a “Kill All” amendment to House File 92 that bars businesses from laying off workers, cutting hours or benefits due to minimum wage increases. 

I’m going to write that again, just to let it sink in.

Winkler’s bill would make it illegal for businesses to lay off workers, cut hours or benefits due to minimum wage increases.

No, I’m really not making it up; I’ve added emphasis to the original:

(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (b), during the first 90 consecutive days of employment, an employer may pay an employee under the age of 20 years a wage of :

(1) $6.07 per hour beginning August 1, 2013;

(2) $7.24 per hour beginning August 1, 2014;

(3) $8.41 per hour beginning August 1, 2015; and

(4) the rate established under paragraph (d) beginning January 1, 2016.

2.11 No employer may take any action to displace an employee, including a partial  displacement through a reduction in hours, wages, or employment benefits, in order to hire an employee at the wage authorized in this paragraph.

(UPDATE: Commenter Master Of None points out, the above section refers to a training wage – a wage that employers may pay for up to 90 days – and says it’s not quite as dire as I’d made it out to be.   I disagree; Winkler’s bill raises the already existing training wage, causing all the same problems that raising the minimum itself does, which negates most of the utility of a “training wage”, as well as starting some sort of enforcement mechanism to painstakingly adjudicate all disputes related to training and minimum wages.  Because Minnesota businesses needed more niggling regulations)

And as the Obama Administration launches into permanent quantitative easing, Winkler wants to key the minimum wage to inflation, ensuring that no wages will ever keep up with inflation:

2.14 (d) No later than November 1 of each year, beginning in 2015, the commissioner  shall determine the percentage increase in the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers, United States city average, as determined by the United States Department of Labor, during the most recent 12-month period for  which data is available. The minimum wage rates in paragraphs (b) and (c) are increased by the percentage calculated by the commissioner, rounded to the nearest cent. The new minimum wage rates determined under this paragraph take effect on the next January 1

In other words: Ryan Winkler wants to…:

  • arbitrariliy set wages (higher than the federal minimum, no less!)
  • bar business from compensating for the arbitrary change in labor costs in any way but by increasing revenues in the middle of a crap economy (which Dayton’s business service taxes and Obamacare are making worse by the day).

It’s the sort of thing any Economics 101 student knows is madness if he or she wants to get better than a “C”.

Bonus Question:  Do you think Rachel Stassen-Berger, Tom Scheck, Tim Pugmire or John Cronyn will bring any of this up with Winkler or the leadership that enables him?

Chanting Points Memo: Only The Master Gets To Write Gun Control Laws

Over the years on this blog, I’ve made certain observations about human behavior as manifested through online media, like blogs and Twitter.

I’ve captured and codifed some of these observations as “Berg’s Law“, a series of common observations that I’m pretty sure are universal.

One of the most commonly-invoked Laws is “Berg’s Seventh Law”, which states “When a Liberal issues a group defamation or assault on conservatives’ ethics, character or respect for liberty or the truth, they are at best projecting, and at worst drawing attention away from their own misdeeds”.

I’ve rung up quite a number of occurrences of Berg’s 7th over the years. And I’ve found another.

Big-time.

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Chanting Points Memo: Chickens Do Not Equal Causation

Dave Mindeman at mnpAct (?) illustrates why trying to discuss economics with Democrats is such a deeply, abidingly frustrating diversion:

The business community worked hard to get Republicans elected during the last election…Now they say they are nervous about DFL Legislative control.

This is, bear in mind, the same DFL administration that, the week President Obama told America’s entrepreneurs “you didn’t build that”, repeated exactly the same message to a major privately-owned Minnesota corporation.

If they’re nervous, it’s for a reason.

As usual, business get it wrong when it comes to which Party is best for business. And, frankly, most of the perception problem stems from the fact that business always does better when government policies are promoted which favor their clientele and customers…not themselves.

That’s an interesting claim.  Let’s watch Mindeman elaborate on it before we pull the rug out.

Republicans and business generally collaborate on the superficial. They want property tax breaks….they want to limit taxes on the wealthy….they want tax incentives. All of that can free up cash and maybe increase the bottom line to a temporary extent….but they are not really pro-growth policies.

Well, yes and no, and irrelevant.  Republicans and business also favor paring back excessive regulation, and reforming taxes in the long term so that they don’t structurally hinder growth. Mindeman didn’t mention that – but to be fair, no Democrat ever does.

The dynamics of the economic engine are heavily fueled by demand. Business can create demand to some degree but unless their is a thriving middle class that has the means to purchase the goods produced, the economy goes nowhere.

Which leads us to a chicken-egg question; what creates a healthy and prosperous middle class?  Especially given that so many of us in the middle class work for, well, businesses?

MIndeman, being a Twin Cities liberal – where a sclerotically-disproportionate share of the “middle class” is employed by government, has an answer; we’ll come back to that.

First, we have a chanting point to dispense with:

When Democrats are in power, business may not get the preferential treatment they are used to by the GOP, but the broader economy usually does better.

Ah, well, then.  That settles it.

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