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. 


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.

28 thoughts on “We Warned You. Oh, Yes, We Did.

  1. I commented about it at work. A reliably Liberal co-worker actually said “That’s not true, you got property tax relief. Your taxes didn’t go up as much as they would have, without the LGA. So that’s a tax cut.”

    Democrats actually believe that crap.

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

    If local press did “fact check,” the electorate wouldn’t have a frame of reference. Stupidity seems to be our major export these days. Guess that’s what happens in an education vacuum. Facts require brain wattage and even the press can’t INFORM if the consumer cannot comprehend..

  3. When I lived in Minneapolis my property taxes went up 10 percent or more every year except the year Jesse the Truther pushed through LGA. If I recall correctly they still went up just not double digits.

    Now that I live in a NW exurb our taxes go down unless the ill informed pass a referendum.

  4. In both both classical and keynesian economics the term for taxes is a net negative on GDP growth. Taxes shift money away from consumer goods (which have a multiplier >1) to government spending (multiplier unity or < 1).
    This is explained in every frikkin' basic economics textbook. Only the child-like minds of liberals seem unable to grasp this simple truth. It's math! Liberals are supposed to trust math!

  5. Many liberals — especially labor-oriented liberals — have very odd ideas about economics. It’s kind of like the way alchemists kind-of-sort-of use the language of chemistry, but then they start talking about a chemical process yielding the ‘hermaphroditic child of the sun and moon’ and the game is up.
    Most liberals will justify economic redistribution because it increases the disposable income of the poor, and this will increase consumer spending, and consumer spending drives the US economy. Good so far, but ask them why consumer spending leads to economic growth and you’ll get a blank stare. They really are idiots on the topic. Even their best economist — Krugman — resorts to shell-game–like rhetoric to defend higher taxes; Krugman will call for higher taxes and give you the impression that he thinks this will increase economic growth, but when you read his arguments carefully you notice his justification for higher taxes is a fairness issue, that it, he’s not making an economic argument at all.

  6. Your comment reminds me of the similarities between atheists, vegans, and certain liberal intellectuals (e.g. Paul Krugman). They tend toward pompous self-righteousness, are dismissive of other views, and like to pretend that their conclusions are the only ones that any decently intelligent person would arrive at.

    I was taking a taxi back from the airport last week, and the taxi driver told me that we needed to “stop all this government money printing” and “go back to the policies of Milton Friedman”. including “going back on the gold standard”. I told him that Friedman invented Quantitative Easing, and said the Depression could have been prevented by printing money and going off the gold standard. He refused to believe me.

    Furthermore, as mentioned above, the policy of Quantitative Easing – which takes us beyond the New Keynesian framework – was what Friedman explicitly suggested for Japan. Now notice that Quantitative Easing, and the Fed in general, are reviled by the American right. What they support looks a lot closer to “Austrian” economics, which Friedman explicitly denigrated.

    This post by Miles Kimball is a master class in how to explain ideas effectively. In one post, he explains the core ideas of what he calls “Neomonetarism”, which I tend to just call “monetarism”, and which most economists would refer to as “New Keynesian models with investment”. This sort of model is squarely in the mainstream of what modern business cycle theory is. http://blog.supplysideliberal.com/post/56311827170/the-medium-run-natural-interest-rate-and-the-short-run

  7. right no cue.

    Many liberals — especially labor-oriented liberals — have very odd ideas about economics. It’s kind of like the way alchemists kind-of-sort-of use the language of chemistry, but then they start talking about a chemical process yielding the ‘hermaphroditic child of the sun and moon’ and the game is up.

    Dude, do you have ESP or do you just read EmeryTheUSAHater’s mind? I don’t know which one is scarier.

  8. Emery,

    You take your share of flak on this site. I just thought I’d say that I, for one, do appreciate your contributions here. I disagree with most of them, and find many of them wrong. You take your share of flak – much of it deserved. But you’re a sharp enough guy. Just thought I’d say it.

    With that out of the way:

    I told him that Friedman invented Quantitative Easing,

    Er, yeah – not quite the way it’s been practiced this past six years, though…

    and said the Depression could have been prevented by printing money and going off the gold standard.

    Which may have been true – and in the long term, is a case of the “cure” causing more damage than the disease.

    Contraction is part of the cycle. And the fact is, the Depression was exacerbated, deepened and prolonged by government intervention in the economy. The Depression would have likely ended by the mid-late thirties, with a huge expansion, if left alone. The fact is, with the interventions we had, the effects of the Depression held on well into the War years.

    One of the key rules of economics is that if you make someone pay a different amount for a good or service than they’d pay on their own, it will have unintended and unexpected consequences; that’s just as true for “stability” as it is for burger-flippers and Chevy Volts.

  9. . . and said the Depression could have been prevented by printing money and going off the gold standard. He refused to believe me.
    Maybe, maybe not. The meta lesson of the government’s response to the Great Depression is that whatever it would have taken to prevent it (or end it) was impossible for the US government to do. They tried everything they could, the only thing that worked was the economic side effects of fighting the most terrible war the world had ever seen, and the government did not choose to do this as a depression-fighting policy.
    I believe that when most people talk about going back to the gold standard, they don’t understand the gold standard. Governments, individuals, and corporations were able to profit by manipulating the value of gold in the olden days. There was inflation two hundred years ago, and the equivalent of stock market bubbles.
    When people express a wish for a return to the gold standard out of ignorance, I expect that their real desire is for a stable currency whose value cannot be manipulated by powerful forces (to the detriment of the gold bug).

  10. Steve Green at PJMedia points to this Forbes blog post about the dismal science:
    The author of the piece is an engineer, not an economist, which means he has the ability to critique the field of economics with a greater degree of freedom than an academic economist.
    Economists need to occasionally be reminded that the foundation of their field is human behavior, not mathematics.

  11. Quantitative Easing reminds me of George Costanza on Seinfeld. Always scheming to try to get a woman into a relationship. Once he gets her, then he starts thinking of how to get out of the relationship.

  12. Yes, your physicist friends can take trends and limits, extrapolate them out a few hundred years, and find, surprise, surprise, that we can’t possibly live this way. Well, of course. We didn’t live this way 200 years ago, either. This sort of analysis is both unremarkable and pointless. Physicists are people who solve very simple (by simple, I mean isolated) problems on very short or very long time scales because that is how we can discover fundamental truths about the universe. But you can’t model human society that way. Economists and engineers have to deal with much more complex problems, and arrive at more practical solutions, but stay away from claims of universal applicability or long range extrapolations because they know the limits of their assumptions which simplify a complex world.

    Physicists, uncomfortable with a world far more complex than the phenomena they are studying, always want some sort of centralized plan controlling everything, like a physicist does in his lab. Human society just doesn’t work like that, or at least not well. Economists don’t plan new economic systems. They measure them, then try to cut through the complexity to explain to us how they are working. It may trouble a physicist who likes his little world to be perfectly controlled, but human society just doesn’t work that way. Never has, never will. Our economic system will adapt, yes. Technology and population levels will change, yes. Energy consumption will change, probably dramatically. But the one thing I will guarantee you about the future is that we will not create an economic plan for the planet and then follow it. Never, ever, ever. We will react, and adapt, and change will happen as billions of people solve billions of problems. If we’re lucky, we’ll get a broad understanding of the changes decades later. If you can’t handle that complexity, leave economics and engineering to somebody else,

  13. Emery wrote:
    “Economists don’t plan new economic systems.”
    You can’t be serious. How many economists were employed in the old Soviet Union?Ever read Krugman’s blog? There are academic economists who want to replace GDP with non-monetary measures. The entire ‘carbon credit’ scam is a means of replacing a money economy with a carbon emission based economy, e.g., you ‘buy’ economic growth by buying ‘carbon offsets’ from an NGO.

  14. Although your comment is off topic, I’ll bite.
    /”How many economists were employed in the old Soviet Union?”/
    This is a discussion of economic policy on a blog discussion board. My doctorate is in a hard science, and I cringe at the assumptions, leaps of faith, and bad statistics that go into a lot of the comments here, particularly on economics. Given the limitations of that soft science, it is important not to exclude the evidence in front of your nose.

    Re:’carbon credit’
    Note how startlingly effective a carbon tax is relative to cap and trade. Faced with a volatile and unknowable carbon price from a cap and trade market, businesses and consumers do nothing. With a known price going into the future, the cost of carbon emissions are easily quantified now and over a long future time horizon, which is what is necessary for investments which may take years to pay off.

    Hopefully Europe sees the light and switches to a carbon tax some day (probably masked as a minimum carbon price). And who knows, if tax reform becomes popular in the US, a carbon tax is one of the least painful and economically least harmful ways to raise revenue. $30 dollars a ton is only about $0.30 a gallon for gasoline. A carbon tax only hurts if you’re a coal producer, and there are lots of other reasons to stop burning coal.

    Re: :Ever read Krugman’s blog?”
    Economists need to alert us to the fact that the gains from increasing leverage in the rich world are finished, the days of cheap debt are hastening to a close, and that in a world of static populations putting off problems to tomorrow by issuing debt just makes them worse.

    Humanity will be transformed by the end of population growth, not in one big way, but in a million small ways. And then economists will write about how it was all in one big way, long after the fact. It is enough to solve today’s problems, today. Worrying about tomorrow’s problems is unproductive, as we see very poorly into the future, a lack of vision that increases exponentially with time, like all natural phenomena.

  15. Thread-jack to monetary policy away from DFL lying should consider the 8/12/13 post on Zero Hedge re: Bernanke Just Felt A Chill.

    The impulse to tinkering with the money supply to prop up failing institutions caused the Great Depression in the 30’s and Great Depression 2.0 we’re still fighting. It has caused every currency collapse throughout 5,000 years of recorded history. Changing the name and rationale to justify the impulse won’t help. The solution is let the institutions fail, struggle through the bankruptcies, start over. It’s not pleasant. It’s just inevitable once the impulse is indulged.

    A gold standard makes the impulse harder to indulge, is all. But that’s better than depending on the good faith of politicians.

  16. My doctorate is in a hard science, and I cringe at the assumptions, leaps of faith, and bad statistics that go into a lot of the comments here, particularly on economics.

    This describes a good deal of academic economics, Emery.
    In an earlier comment, you linked to a blogpost by an academic economist:http://blog.supplysideliberal.com/post/56311827170/the-medium-run-natural-interest-rate-and-the-short-run
    Did you notice that this post is voodoo? Science is a process — observe, hypothesize, experiment, repeat. The blogpost consists of speculation only. There are no experiments proposed. It is non-falsifiable.

  17. @Joe Doakes
    Anyone listening and taking the advice of Zero Hedge from it’s beginning (2009) missed the entire 2000-2013 rally in the equities market. ZH is a bit too Nihilistic for me. Although I imagine it’s big with the conspiracy and bunker building crowd.

  18. “My doctorate is in a hard science, and I cringe at the assumptions, leaps of faith, and bad statistics that go into a lot of the comments here”

    You’re kidding, right? Maybe you forgot Obama surfed to the White House riding the Hopey\Changey wave through your ilk.

    Talk about clueless; sheesh.

  19. I imagine it’s big with the conspiracy and bunker building crowd.
    Better or worse than Krugman’s readers, Emery?

    William Buckley’s God and Man at Yale was in large part a diatribe against the notion that colleges were teaching students about unemployment and how to fight it; but what Buckley wanted was, in effect, for those colleges to get back to their proper role, which was religious indoctrination. In its heyday National Review was a staunch supporter of free markets; but it was also a staunch supporter of Jim Crow — which wasn’t just about the right of white business owners to discriminate against blacks, it was about a system of laws designed to protect white privilege.


    Nutty as a fruitcake.

  20. A Scientific American blog post on economics vs. physics:
    The author (Jag Bahlia) just touches on the source of the problem, then passes it by: that 19th Century economists thought of human behavior as being as open to mathematical analysis as the physics of the observed world. We tend to think of the Victorians as old-fashioned with crazy ideas about how the universe worked, but in fact they were excessively rational. The 19th century was a Golden Age of physics in a way the 20th century was not. The Victorians believed that they had discarded superstition in favor of reason, and they believed that the human mind was clear lens through which to observe the universe. They believed that an object’s color, let’s say its perceived ‘blueness’, was a phenomenon of the real universe. They thought that the sky would be blue, even if there were no observers to experience its blueness.

  21. Emery, in response to your ‘Although I imagine it’s big with the conspiracy and bunker building crowd’ remark, I was merely pointing out that some highly visible and highly credentialed economic commentators on the Left have bats in their belfry.
    National Review was never a staunch supporter of Jim Crow, and ‘God and Man at Yale’ does not promote the notion that religious indoctrination is the proper role of colleges.
    I would stay away from academic economists. They are weird, at that level it becomes like gnostic knowledge, where you can’t build on what you have learned before, and equally well credentialed practitioners can have wildly different ideas about the relationship between dependent and independent variables. That’s not a description of a science.

  22. All economic data, including business results, is both most certainly old (generally weeks or months) and is generally more inaccurate the newer it is. Almost irrespective of the inherent dynamics of the controlled system (the money supply, economic growth, etc.), when negative feedback is applied by the Fed, or the stock market, or citizens/consumers based on old and inaccurate data, cycles will result, and potentially instability as well. The cycles are all man-made, though. If we didn’t react to economic data, we wouldn’t have economic cycles.

    I’ve always thought economists and MBA students should be required to take a course on dynamic control theory, so they could appreciate some of the fundamentals of controllability, observability, and in general the limitations of feedback. There’s some differential equations and the square root of negative one involved, though. It might be a bit beyond them.

  23. I really don’t understand your fixation with Krugman.

    “Fixation” is your word, not mine.

    He merely writes so much that is at least simply wrong, and at most deeply disingenuous.

    His “Red States are net consumers of taxes” was a classic example. Absolute garbage. But treated as gospel by legions of bobbleheads who mistake “Harvard PhD” for “Right on things”.

  24. “legions of bobbleheads who mistake “Harvard PhD” for “Right on things”

    Ward Churchill
    Barack Obama
    Angela Davis
    Bill Ayers
    John McTigue
    Emery Peni Doug Whatever he’s calling himself today
    John Ellis

    Oooh, I’d say the Academic Legion of Dim has removed the need for a Harvard pedigree to accomodate the complete discrediting of a doctorate.

  25. @MBerg
    Adam Smith’s key insight was that more good has been done in the service of greed than has ever even been dreamt of in the service of altruism. The invisible hand of the market is its self-organizing nature. People who freely exchange goods and services do so because both parties benefit. There is a need for altruistic good deeds in our society, just as there are tasks best carried out by a regulated monopoly, but these are secondary forces which correct for the imperfections of the market, not a replacement for that market. Governments that do not take care to make sure the market is producing excess wealth through unfettered commerce generally find that there is little wealth left for altruism, or even basic governance.

  26. Regarding the gold standard and the Depression, it’s worth noting that FDR DID effectively take us off the gold standard, first by confiscating privately held bullion, and then by devaluing the dollar from $20/ounce to $35/ounce. His quantitative easing policies were relentless, and were stopped the same way Bernanke’s were today; because nobody had the confidence to borrow money. Hence the overall volume of money contracted despite relentless inflationary pressure.

    Suffice it to say that this is one major place where I believe Friedman got it dead wrong, and the Obama Recession is a demonstration of how QE is not working.

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