Emmer’s message

A candidate has to get his message down to a short sound bite, designed for maximum appeal and designed to draw the contrasts with the opponents that the campaign believes bring in persuadable voters.

On Wednesday, Tom Emmer went on WCCO radio (the John Williams program) and gave a version of his elevator pitch. The campaign liked it enough to post the audio link on its website.

Williams asked Emmer how he will tailor his message for the general election. Came the reply:

“The message won’t change. It doesn’t matter about the party [translation, what he is about to say applies to both Mark Dayton and Tom Horner] the other people running for this office are proposing more government intervention and higher taxes at a time when our economy is stumbling  and struggling. We’re proposing just the opposite: less government intervention, more economic freedom, lower taxes,  get Minnesota working again, bring jobs back to this state. That’s what the next 83 will be all about.”

The interview continued. The subject of balancing the state budget did come up, but Williams didn’t press Emmer for his budget plan. Williams did ask, in a totally non-specific way, about Emmer’s social agenda. Came the reply:

“This campaign is about the economy. People gotta focus on the ball.”

 

 

 

Comments (45)

  1. Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/13/2010 - 12:24 pm.

    Rep Emmer proposes:
    “the other people running for this office are proposing more government intervention and higher taxes at a time when our economy is stumbling and struggling. We’re proposing just the opposite: less government intervention, more economic freedom, lower taxes, get Minnesota working again, bring jobs back to this state.”

    Followup question: Representative Emmer, when you drastically cut the state budget in order to balance expenses with drastically lower revenue, will there be a net employment increase or decrease when state, county and municipal employees lose their jobs?

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/13/2010 - 12:58 pm.

    So is it true the Emmer’s answering machine message says “I’ll call you back in October”?

    His proposed solution to every problem is still ‘do nothing’. When you’ve got nothing positive to say you run negative ads.

  3. Submitted by Ross Williams on 08/13/2010 - 02:12 pm.

    Its certainly about jobs. But to attract jobs you need to raise taxes and spend money on public services. Because you aren’t going to attract a lot of knowledge workers with lousy schools and deteriorating infrastructure. They can live anywhere and they are not going to choose to live here. That means the businesses that need to attract an educated workforce are all going to leave as well.

    Its interesting that while business people will say that high taxes drive people away, they all live in the places with the highest tax rates like Wayzata, Edina and Minnetonka. You would think they would all be living to Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park. But, in reality, when you are successful, taxes are only a minor consideration in deciding where you will live.

    The same thing is true of successful businesses. Taxes are only an issue when all other things are equal. But the folks that want to “run government like a business”, always seem to have relatively unsuccessful small businesses as their model. The never use thriving businesses that are growing because they are always investing in the future.

  4. Submitted by Stephan Flister on 08/13/2010 - 02:56 pm.

    Emmer certainly sends a message. Not the one he wants, but still, it’s a message.

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 08/13/2010 - 03:11 pm.

    Mr. Emmer was chief author of 34 House bills in the last session.

    https://www.revisor.mn.gov/revisor/pages/search_status/status_results.php?body=House&search=basic&session=0862009&location=House&bill=&bill_type=bill&rev_number=&keyword_type=all&keyword=&keyword_field_text=1&author1%5B%5D=40993&submit_author1=GO&titleword=

    Among the things he would have added to Minnesota law are:

    Term limits;

    The ability to sell out of state health insurance policies in MN, even though those policies did not conform to Minnesota law;

    A resolution asking our Congressional delegation to vote against the federal health care bill;

    Changes to state energy policy which would have eliminated such things as mandated low income programs and sustainable building performance standards to be developed by 2030;

    Prevent state agencies from rule-making during legislative sessions and sunsetted any rules enacted when the legislature is out of session, as of the end of the next session;

    Permitted the suspension of teachers charged with felonies without pay, prior to the adjudication of the charges;

    An obviously invalid law which would have required the governor and legislative leaders to review any new Federal mandate to determine whether the U.S. Constitution specifically authorized the law in question and, if not, to disregard it;

    Repealed existing greenhouse gas emissions law;

    Exempted firearms and ammunition manufactured and retained in Minnesota from Federal gun laws;

    Gutted implied consent laws;

    Asked Congress to “claim sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over certain powers, serve notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates, and direct distribution.”

    Required recipients of MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program) funds to undergo drug testing and required the forfeiture of benefits until the recipient had demonstrated that he or she was no longer a drug user, without making any provision for the children affected by the loss of benefits;

    and

    Shifted local government aid funds from cities to counties,

    among other things.

    I can only hope he campaigns on the strength of these proposals.

  6. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 08/13/2010 - 03:24 pm.

    There is an interesting bifurcation of jobs-taxes in different areas of business. Manufacturing, for example, seems to be favored by the low tax strategy. Witness Viper leaving for Alabama. On the other hand – for biotech – the situation seems to be different as Thomas Lee and the U of M’s Bill Hoffman have pointed out in MedCity News. ( http://bit.ly/bOGUUu )

    Here they point out:

    “Hoffman listed the country’s top ten biotech states, as ranked by Business Facilities. Then he noted in parenthesis how those states fared in favorable business tax environments, according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation. Here’s what he came up with (I confirmed the data):”

    1. CALIFORNIA (48)
    2. TEXAS (11)
    3. PENNSYLVANIA (27)
    4. MASSACHUSETTS (36)
    5. KANSAS (32)
    6. NEW JERSEY (50)
    7. NORTH CAROLINA (39)
    8. ILLINOIS (30)
    9. MARYLAND (45)
    10. OHIO (47)

    “So what can we conclude from this data? Well, for one thing, high taxes doesn’t always stunt economic growth, especially when it comes to high tech innovation. With the exception of Texas, all of these states don’t enjoy a particularly favorable business tax environment.”

    There’s more to it than this. Article highly recommended.

    Point: Simplistic generalizations about tax policy (lower taxes lead to greater business development) isn’t going to cut it. Emmer and friends are going to have to be a little more sophisticated about it.

    We may have to choose between motorcycle factories and high tech? Biotech? Who knows?

  7. Submitted by dan buechler on 08/13/2010 - 04:35 pm.

    Didn’t less government intervention and more freedom bring about the big mess starting in Sept. of 2008? To be totally honest September of 2008 probablt affected way more american households that September 11, 2001. And then the classic Pawlenty and Emmer response is that we should have let the Fall of 2008 be even more severe and risk 25% unemployment.

  8. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/13/2010 - 05:58 pm.

    I don’t why you people think we need to “do” something. That’s the whole point of magic, it just happens. We cut taxes, government services, and regulations… now we’re just waiting for the magic to happen. Any day now…

  9. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 08/14/2010 - 09:19 am.

    “Representative Emmer, when you drastically cut the state budget in order to balance expenses with drastically lower revenue, will there be a net employment increase or decrease when state, county and municipal employees lose their jobs?”

    When organizations in the private sector face a budget shortfall, they eliminate jobs. Companies don’t exist to provide jobs, and neither does government. Both have to operate within their means or they will fail.

    Why do bureaucrats believe they should be treated any differently than the rest of us?

  10. Submitted by John E Iacono on 08/14/2010 - 09:50 am.

    Not being of the “I want it, and I want it NOW” generation, I believe I will be patient and wait for the more detailed description of his plans that Emmer has promised.

    I believe added time will also put more meat on the bones of dem and independent plans.

    Patience gets easier as one gets older.

  11. Submitted by Bruce Pomerantz on 08/14/2010 - 11:38 am.

    #9-Tester:
    “When organizations in the private sector face a budget shortfall, they eliminate jobs. Companies don’t exist to provide jobs, and neither does government. Both have to operate within their means or they will fail.”

    The perspective that government should be run like a business is specious.

    The private sector reduces staff because of less demand for the product. Government cannot reduce its staff because its workload does not decrease, in fact, many times it increases.
    -Fires do not decrease when there is a bad economy,
    -crime does not decrease when there is a bad economy,
    -Workforce offices do not have less people coming in seeking employment assistance when there is a bad economy,
    -schools do not have less children to teach because of a bad economy,
    -libraries do not have less people coming in because of a bad economy.

    Etc. etc. etc.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/14/2010 - 11:48 am.

    Dennis, the Republican analogy to family homes and business has always been spurious. In many cases government is constitutionally required to proved some services such as education, defense, etc. Beyond federal and state constitutions government services are mandated by a myriad of legislation. Government also provides the very basic infrastructure that makes commerce possible, dismantling that infrastructure delvers a double whammy to the economy by damaging the business environment and contributing to unemployment. Finally, these deficits are not the products of market swings, they are created by tax cuts and refusals to raise taxes. Show me a single business or family that deliberately cuts it’s own revenue for any reason, let alone responding to a crises. Do you really need an accountant to tell you that there are two sides to any budget? This republican fantasy that revenue is irrelevant and all that matters is spending has seriously damaged our nation and state.

    John, please, we all know that Emmer is going to offer the same magic plan/bait and switch Republicans have been peddling for decades. He did it again in Friday’s debate- cut taxes and wait for the magic to happen. He also repeated the same lie Republicans always throw around in general elections, that he’s not talking about cutting services, just being more efficient. When asked where he’s gonna find 6 billion dollars worth of inefficiencies he changes the subject. The real plan is to cut revenue, create a budget crises, and use that crises to dismantle government so he can drag to the bathtub and drown it. After decades of this we’ll see if Minnesotans fall for it again.

    I did think it was interesting that Emmer evaded the bread and butter conservative issues in the debate and tried to focus on the economy. If he actually sticks to that plan it’s good for everyone but he puts himself at a great disadvantage because he’s all he’s got is an anti-plan.

    My guess is he’ll let MN Forward etc. raise the social issues and he’ll avoid them in the debates. That’s actually a decent strategy.

  13. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 08/14/2010 - 12:44 pm.

    Mr. Pomerantz, you seem to think that private enterprise exists solely to provide government with the revenue stream to fund its activities.

    The role of government is to protect our constitutional rights, which requires law enforcement agencies and the court system. In Minnesota, it also means providing children with K-12 education. Beyond that, anything government does, including providing you with free reading material from libraries, is out of the kindness of the taxpayers’ heart.

    But you’re right about government not being run like a business. If it was it would have gone bankrupt long ago.

  14. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/14/2010 - 03:29 pm.

    Dennis–
    Actually, right now private corporations are making substantial profits and still cutting jobs, because they can meet the demand with fewer workers.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/14/2010 - 09:28 pm.

    //But you’re right about government not being run like a business. If it was it would have gone bankrupt long ago.

    50% of all new businesses fail within the first five years. Do you really need a list of major American corporations that went bankrupt in the last two years? When the big geniuses of the private sector drove their ships onto the rocks two year ago, who came to the rescue? Other private businesses? No, it was your government. This notion of private sector superiority is a matter of faith in some circles that is completely devoid of reliable data beyond anecdote. In fact many examinations have shown that government does more with less resources than the private sector, and is just as if not more efficient. The reason Republicans have never balanced the budget with “efficiencies” is the government simply isn’t that inefficient to begin with.

  16. Submitted by Tim Larson on 08/14/2010 - 09:39 pm.

    The perspective that government should be run like a business is specious.

    I disagree. Yes they’re different and cannot be run the same way, however.

    The difference is that successful businesses look to reduce their operational costs every minute of everyday.

    Because they have to.

    Until government understands that concept, they’re doomed to fail.

  17. Submitted by Bruce Pomerantz on 08/14/2010 - 10:04 pm.

    Mr.Tester,

    Regarding your #13 response to my #11, let me make sure I understand you.

    Local and state government should not provide
    -Fireman should your house catch fire (You must have great trust that your neighbors will endanger themselves by running into your burning house without any kind of fire fighting equipment and rescuing you should you succumb to smoke inhalation)
    -Health departments that ensure restaurants you eat at prepare food safely so you do not become sick and die (I won’t accept that you won’t go to restaurants that have unsanitary reputations. You can die of botulism only once a lifetime and it would be your death that would create the reputation that would warn you away.)
    -Safe drinking water
    -Roads
    -Electrical inspectors to ensure that electrical work done on your residence or place of work will not electrocute you (Again, I won’t accept that you won’t hire an electrician with a bad reputation–you only can be electrocuted once a lifetime.)
    -Penal institutions (Police can arrest and courts will try but where will you place those convicted?)

    etc. etc. etc.

    Finally, I did not state in my #11 posting that only corporations should pay income taxes. I’ll accept a retraction from your assigning me thoughts that I did not profess nor that I adhere to. I pay my full share of taxes pridefully.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/15/2010 - 09:13 am.

    //The difference is that successful businesses look to reduce their operational costs every minute of everyday.

    Again, this is an article of faith not actual analysis. And it’s a remarkably stable myth of free market ideologues. There are actually three elements of this ideology that need to be teased apart. First, the notion that efficiency. Magic planners like believe that the idea of efficiency was invented by the private sector and doesn’t exist without a profit motive, hence Tim’s suggestion that only the private sector is concerned with reducing costs. In fact history has shown that governments throughout history have naturally sought efficiency, some have been more efficient than others, but inefficiency is no more a characteristic of government than the private sector. Have you ever had a problem with your phone bill? I got almost one year of free high speed internet access from Qwest because it took them that long to get my DSL to work the way it’s supposed to. Several studies have shown that Medicare is more efficient, has less administrative costs and devotes more dollars to actual health care than private insurance. Likewise, the VA has ranked higher in customer satisfaction and trust than any other medical provider in the nation, and delivers more care for the dollar. Meanwhile, tell me about the efficiency of the private financial sector that can’t keep track of who actually owns mortgages, or customers applications. Let’s hear about the efficiency of the US auto industry. Note, GM and Chrysler have shed unnecessary capacity and production, improved quality, and are now returning to real profitability- under government stewardship. It always amazing to me when conservatives, who pretend to be the business people, fail to understand that the difference between the public and private sector isn’t efficiency, it’s profit. This is such a basic concept yet it gets completely lost within the dark recesses of Republican ideology. The private sector works for profit, the public sector doesn’t, that’s the difference. All efficiency does not flow out of greed.

    Now I’m not saying that the public sector is always more efficient than any business, I’m simply pointing out the fact that efficiency is NOT the defining characteristic of the private sector. The myth of private sector efficiency explains why Republicans from Reagan on have always created huge deficits despite their promise to find savings in efficiencies. No one ever bothers to ask for any actual data on how inefficient the government really is. And that data exists. The bogus assumption of gross public sector inefficiency drive the Republican plan (cut taxes and wait for the magic to happen) because it justifies tax cuts based on the principle that government must be getting more money than it needs because it’s so inefficient. This has been a disaster because it’s always been a bogus assumption. Sure, nothing is ever perfectly efficient, but you’re simply not going to find billions or trillions of dollars of inefficiencies.

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/15/2010 - 09:13 am.

    Of course the other myth of Republican ideology is that they invented the idea of government efficiency in the first place, as if no one else wants the government to be efficient. Truth is no one believe in government inefficiency, no on promotes it or runs on it in political campaigns. Republicans pretend that this mundane observation that government ought to be as efficient as it can be as thought is shrewd insight peculiar to Republican politicians.

    But really, most of the time we’re really not talking about inefficiency in the first place. The other problem with Republican magic plans it they obscure public debate by focusing on taxes to the exclusion of rational public policy discussion. The idea of small government is meaningless, one cannot have a coherent public policy debate based on “size” of government. The question isn’t how big we want the government to be but rather what we do or not do. When people complain about government inefficiency frequently their really complaining about what the government is doing. Republicans prefer to frame the debate in terms of inefficiencies because it allows them to pretend they’re not trying to cut services. But in reality, when you look at the examples of inefficiency they point to, most of the time it’s not about how the government is something, it simply that it’s doing something. Emmer complaints for instance about environmental regulations, although he characterizes them as efficiency concerns, are really complaints that the government is regulating. He doesn’t want the government to regulate more efficiently, he wants it to stop regulating. Likewise you can see even in the comments here, guys like Dennis aren’t efficiencies they like, their pointing to government activity they don’t like.

    This oversimplified magic plan debate framed as small vs. big government with tax cuts as the only course of action has always been incoherent. It’s distorted our politics and paralyzed our ability make rational and effective public policy. Let’s stop pretending we’re talking about government efficiency and start talking about what we want the government to do or not do. That we want it to do whatever it does as efficiently as possible is a given, not a Republican insight. When we talk about efficiency, let’s makes sure we’re really looking at efficiency, not ideological agenda’s disguised as efficiency complaints. Efficiency can be measured, show me you data before you make your cuts. Simply cutting revenue will not yield efficiency anyways, you make things efficient by making them efficient, not just by cutting funding. Sometimes funding cuts actually yield more inefficiency. For instance, forcing local school districts to take out loans to cover the state payment delays is a very inefficient way of paying for education that ends up costing more not less.

  20. Submitted by John E Iacono on 08/15/2010 - 11:57 am.

    With all the encomiums to government efficiency above, I have to wonder why the notion that government is inefficient is so widespread.

    >Could it be from watching three or four government employees chatting with each other behind the counter while a dozen citizens wait to be served?

    >Could it be from watching four or five MnDot or county or city road workers standing around watching while one poor sap actually works?

    >Could it be from hearing time and time again from government bureaucrats declaring in their own defense (when called on the carpet for NOT doing the job they are SUPPOSED to be doing) that it’s all because they “don’t have enough money to hire enough staff” to do their job? As though this justified their failure to perform as mandated.

    >Could it be from hearing about how it is so hard to fire an incompetent or unproductive government worker that it is easier to get them transferred out of one’s department or just let them keep collecting a payched and working around them?

    >Could it be from hearing in the media about how the teachers’ union seniority system gets rid of young, skilled, enthusiastic teachers in favor of burnt out older tenured ones, and then seeing the unions demand more funding from the legislature for those higher paid senior teachers while rejecting any quality measures for them?

    >Could it be from the frustration of watching the contractor with crew they have hired to do work on their home standing around doing nothing because the required inspector decided to take a coffee break and failed to come as scheduled?

    >Could it be from driving over pothole after pothole in the spring, and wondering where all those pot-hole fillers are? At least now we know where they were, although not one got fired for gross abuse of the time clock.

    >Could it be from watching a city crew of five at a bridge repair site leave for an hour at coffee break time, and an hour and a half at lunchtime to be followed by another hour at coffee break time and finally leaving a half hour before quitting time BECAUSE they must return to headquarters for their breaks?

    >Could it be from wading through the morass of government agencies required before one can begin any meaningful project, half of them redundantly checking and — for big fees — studying the very same issues?

    >Could it be from watching as one big “entitlement” program after another makes the news about huge overpayments or payments to persons not entitled, or payments for “job” programs which never get folks back in the workforce?

    I just have to wonder…

  21. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/15/2010 - 01:58 pm.

    John–
    While you’re wondering, think about your last dealings with the cable company. Most of your complaints are as typical of large private corporations as public ones. I’ve had plenty of good experiences with governments at various levels, and bad ones with corporations.
    As they say, the plural of anecdote is not data.

  22. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/15/2010 - 02:09 pm.

    A good example of public vs. private service providers is our municipal garbage pickup.
    The City of Mankato used to provide this service directly — it owned the trucks and employed the drivers. The service was hardly perfect, but when I had a problem I could call someone local who would deal with it.
    Now the City contracts with Waste Management, America’s leading purveyor of garbage.
    I’ve had several occasions in the past couple of months when they didn’t pick up our garbage. When I called their (Waste Management’s) local number, I was connected to an out of state call center — first I had to tell them what state I was in, then a long rigmarole while they figured out what route I was on (my address was not sufficient) and put a memo into their computer system. I’m not sure anyone actually talked to the driver in question.
    While the trucks are garaged locally, it appears that there is no actual local management, and my missed pickup problem has persisted after a couple of calls.
    Privatization doesn’t always help.

    Some counter examples:
    Had a street light burn out.
    Emailed the city and the Xcel energy was out replacing it literally within 15 minutes.
    Had a limb on a boulevard tree (one on the city easement on our property which we paid for and is maintained by the city) broken during a storm. Again sent and email, and a city employee was out the next morning, picked up the limb and trimmed the stump. The guy called me after he was done to let me know what he had done.

    I doubt that Mankato is unique.

    So John, are you relating your own experiences, or passing one the same (sometimes apocryphal) stories that make the rounds on the conservative blogs?

  23. Submitted by Tim Larson on 08/15/2010 - 09:35 pm.

    #18 Paul U- Congratulations on winning the gold medal in the logic leap! How you get from;

    “successful businesses look to reduce their operational costs every minute of everyday.”

    To;

    “only the private sector is concerned with reducing costs.”

    Is… a long jump.

  24. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/15/2010 - 10:46 pm.

    //>Could it be from hearing time and time again from government bureaucrats declaring in their own defense (when called on the carpet for NOT doing the job they are SUPPOSED to be doing) that it’s all because they “don’t have enough money to hire enough staff” to do their job? As though this justified their failure to perform as mandated.

    John,

    Again, no one is a champion of inefficient government. And yes, if you cut funding, staff, and resources service will suffer. You can’t cut resources in the private or public sector without impacting service quality.

    If you want to go toe to toe with anecdotes, dude I’ll bury you with personal experience anecdotes of private sector mediocrity and inefficiency (as apposed to media reports). In fact not seven hours ago I had to return a special order door to a local home store because it was damaged at the factory, how efficient is that? My wife has spent the last two days trying to resolve an issue with an online purchase at major clothing retailer. Do you always get exceptional service at every restaurant?

    John’s point is interesting however in that it illustrates something about the pernicious nature of anti-government sentiment. It is odd don’t you think that despite weekly personal experience with poor private sector service ranging from damaged goods to service and billing headaches, many people still take it as a matter of faith that government is even more inefficient, despite personal experience. Speaking of anecdotes, it reminds of a personal experience a few years ago- I bought a car from a private party and had to transfer the title. I went to the Ridge Dale/ Henn Co. court service center on a Monday at around 3:00 in the afternoon, and was in and out in about ten minutes. Two days later I went with a friend of mine who was buying a car, we went to the AAA off of Hwy 100 and while we’re standing there in line for 25 minutes at around the same time of day, with even fewer people and services being offered, the seller comments: “If we were at a government run operation this would take twice as long”. I told them the service was twice as fast over at Ridge Dale and I just got this blank look. Frankly, I don’t even know who actually runs the operation over at AAA, for all I know the state leases the space and those are state workers. The point is, the simple perception of private a private sector environment is enough to bias people.

    Where does that bias come from? John shows us. There has been an almost unrelenting attack on government services for decades. Reagan started with his famous “government isn’t the solution it’s the problem”. No one’s saying government is perfect, we all want our government to be as efficient and cost effective as it can be, but between the anti-government fusillade and the obsession with market magic, public perception is completely out of whack. We’ve ended up with a nation full of citizens who have very little idea what their government actually does, but are convinced that the private sector could do it better. These attitudes are not based on any real assessment or evaluation, but rather the kind of anecdotal media reports and cliche’s like the ones John has provided.

    This attitude has led to almost complete public policy paralysis. Both liberals and conservatives bought into the small government fantasy. The private sector is neither inclined or equipped to marshal the necessary resources to cope with our crumbling infrastructures, education systems, or regulatory needs. The question is whether or not public perception is changing?

    And this is Emmer’s problem. The last few years may have seriously shaken public faith in market magic and private sector superiority. The collapse of the housing market, the financial markets, the US auto industry, BP’s oils spill, Target’s political contributions, and general disgust with the still private health care system etc. etc. have for the first time in decades seriously shaken faith based attitudes regarding private sector superiority. There may be a window of opportunity here to get rational public policy back on the agenda. I certainly hope so, but it would be a bad turn for Emmer.

    In a very basic way I think the contest between Dayton and Emmer comes down to whether not the small government fantasy has finally played out.

  25. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/15/2010 - 10:52 pm.

    //”successful businesses look to reduce their operational costs every minute of everyday.”

    To;

    “only the private sector is concerned with reducing costs.”

    Is… a long jump.

    It’s your argument Tim not mine. If business is no more concerned with reducing costs than government what is your point exactly?

  26. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 08/16/2010 - 09:19 am.

    Wow. The comments here are really interesting, and enlightening – and I specifically include those with which I disagree vehemently. It’s always worthwhile to know the mind set of the folks with whom you don’t share much common ground.

    For me, the prize-winners are James Hamilton, John Iacono, and Paul Udstrand.

    The list of legislative proposals from Tom Emmer that James Hamilton has provided does more than a dozen campaign speeches to explain the philosophical ground from which the Republican candidate for Governor has sprung. It’s convenient for Emmer to insist that we focus on the economy and forget all the other stuff, but if we elect him, we get all “the other stuff” along with his views on the economy, and both suffer from the usual ideological distortions of those on the right. Combined, his views on the economy and various social and constitutional issues represent several rather lengthy steps backward for Minnesota.

    I’ve sometimes agreed with John Iacono, but what he provides in #20 is a laundry list of stereotypes and half-truths that reveal plenty of frustration, but little else. Most of his examples could just as easily – perhaps more easily – be found in the private sector, at least that’s been my own experience. Personally, I spent 30 years in public high school classrooms in another state, and know of NO instance wherein a young, skilled, enthusiastic teacher was “gotten rid of” in order to keep a “burned-out older tenured one” on the payroll. In my school district, it was often the reverse, as administrators actively looked for ways to dismiss the more experienced staff because experienced teachers cost more, and the primary driver of school district budgets is personnel costs. I also take personal offense at the suggestion that my years of classroom experience and skill deserve to be trumped by youthful energy. I was a far better teacher at age 50 than I was at age 25.

    Paul provided a nice analysis of the fallacies at the heart of most right-wing arguments against government “waste” and “inefficiency.” I needn’t repeat his arguments, which are coherent and on-target.

    Along with several others, I’d just like to add my own endorsement of the idea that no one – NO ONE – campaigns on the basis of “Let’s make government more inefficient and costly.” People who ascribe efficiency only to private enterprise, and in worshipful tones, have apparently not worked for large private entities, which – in my experience with both industrial and retail big business – are no more efficient than public entities. As has been pointed out, there are plenty of rather obvious examples, ranging from Social Security to VA health care, that demonstrate governmental efficiency while simultaneously providing very good customer service.

    Yes, there are pothole-fillers who shirk their duties. Tarring ALL government activity with that particular brush certainly fits an ideology, but doesn’t match up very well with reality, wherein lazy employees are to be found with equivalent frequency in private enterprise. Like a couple of others above, I’m not especially concerned with the size of government per se. The relevant question is “What do we want government do DO?” If the tasks we assign to government are extensive and expensive to perform, then government will be expensive, and cutting its funding simply means it can’t perform the tasks we’ve assigned to it. That’s hardly a recipe for “efficiency.”

  27. Submitted by Tim Larson on 08/16/2010 - 09:59 am.

    Paul U, as you’ve noted, the “private sector” is not made up entirely of “successful businesses”.

    The idea that “You can’t cut resources in the private or public sector without impacting service quality.” Is rubbish, it’s done everyday.

  28. Submitted by John E Iacono on 08/16/2010 - 10:21 am.

    (#22) Paul Brandon:
    “So John, are you relating your own experiences, or passing one the same (sometimes apocryphal) stories that make the rounds on the conservative blogs?”

    Personal experiences, one and all. Of course, I’ve been around a while.

  29. Submitted by John E Iacono on 08/16/2010 - 10:33 am.

    To Paul B and others who attempt to justify outrageous governmental entrenched policies, procedures, rules, and individual behaviours accepted within the ranks of government employees by claiming private industry is no better:

    It bothers me when politicians attempt to justify their own outrageous activities with the claim that “everybody does it.”

    It bothers me even more when otherwise thoughtful persons use the same argument to justify what should be and is objectionable policy and behavior.

    In my thinking, two wrongs do NOT make a right, and to argue that government does not need to clean up its act, or that such action would not save multiple millions of taxpayer dollars, is just plain silly.

    And to argue that the government waste I see all around me every day is acceptable because some in private industry commit the same sins is disingenuous at best, and plain dishonest at worst.

  30. Submitted by John E Iacono on 08/16/2010 - 10:46 am.

    (#26)Ray Schoch says:
    “Personally, I spent 30 years in public high school classrooms in another state, and know of NO instance wherein a young, skilled, enthusiastic teacher was “gotten rid of” in order to keep a “burned-out older tenured one” on the payroll.”

    Ray, apparently you are unaware that each spring it is the “new,” untenured teachers who are given layoff notices each and every spring, and who must then either hold their breath until August when they MAY be called back, or desperately seek other employment because their economic future is at stake. This whether they are among the best teachers in the shool or not.

    If you read my post carefully, I believe you will not find a single word or suggestion that all tenured teachers are suspect. We all know those great, mature teachers whom we encountered in school, and we know that experience can contribute greatly to effective teaching. I was a much better teacher after 25 years than I was in my first year teaching.

    My problem is not with mature teachers, but with there being NO ongoing objective evaluation of competence as a condition of continued employment for those with tenure. And you, I’m sure, after all those years in the school system, know exactly who are my targets.

    All professionals should be, and most are, subject to continuing education requirements and periodic review of their competency by outside sources. Only tenured teachers, to my knowledge, are exempt. I blame the unions, with their factory-based contracts.

  31. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/16/2010 - 11:45 am.

    //In my thinking, two wrongs do NOT make a right, and to argue that government does not need to clean up its act, or that such action would not save multiple millions of taxpayer dollars, is just plain silly.

    No ones making that argument, nor is anyone arguing that government wast is acceptable. Again this is republican ideology pretending to have an argument with imaginary liberals, pretending have a monopoly on concern for efficiency. We all want government to be as efficient, responsive, and cost effective as it can be. We all recognize that government can be better. The difference is your one and only solution is always “smaller”. Liberals want to actually examine the problems, evaluate efficiency, make public policy, and develop a plan. We’re not willing to make your leap of faith that tax cuts and less government will produce magic results. Republicans want to apply ideology without performing any analysis. We’ve been doing that now for almost three decades and the results are alarmingly poor.

    The comparison to the private sector arises from your constant and dubious assertions that the private sector is more efficient. It’s not an excuse for government waste, it’s just important to note that this fetish with the private sector is not based on any real analysis. Were you people not constantly proposing privatization as response to government waste it wouldn’t be an issue.

  32. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/16/2010 - 11:49 am.

    //Ray, apparently you are unaware that each spring it is the “new,” untenured teachers who are given layoff notices each and every spring,

    The reason layoff notice are going out every spring is because we cut funding for education. You cut funding for education (it is “big” government after all), expect the same services with less resources, and then blame the Unions for lay-offs. Nice.

  33. Submitted by Colin Lee on 08/16/2010 - 11:59 am.

    There is no easy answer to create long-lasting and efficient jobs in the private sector. However, you can create a climate conducive to profitable businesses. That means more than simplistic tax arguments.

    According to the NFIB, the #1 issue affecting the profitability of small businesses today is the cost of providing health insurance. If our state government pursues policies that makes health care (not just high-deductible health insurance) more affordable for everyone, then people will be more likely to start small businesses or to keep them running when they experience a serious illness. That means we need statewide health insurance pools available for small businesses, school districts, and municipal employees. Exactly like the school teachers’ statewide pool bill would save taxpayers $200 million per budget, but Emmer voted against it. Our governor’s Minnesota Management and Budget office produced those numbers.

    I examined the possibility of starting a small business in computer networking a year ago. I even picked out commercial real estate. However, going without health insurance was far too risky. I couldn’t afford to pay my own insurance in the lean startup years with 10% rate hikes every year.

  34. Submitted by John E Iacono on 08/16/2010 - 12:42 pm.

    Paul,

    In the spirit of “eat my cake and have it too” it would appear you prefer NO cuts to education (or any other government budget?) as the solution to the need to making cuts by the school board.

    What happened to “We all want government to be as efficient, responsive, and cost effective as it can be.”?

    I note you do not speak to my point, that — assuming cuts need to be made — those cut should be the less competent or produtive, not the less tenured.

    Cuts are, after all, the only real incentive to bureaucracies to “shape up.”

  35. Submitted by John E Iacono on 08/16/2010 - 12:50 pm.

    “We all want government to be as efficient, responsive, and cost effective as it can be.”

    In my town, the city council plunged ahead with a project that will cost the 40,000 city taxpayers a couple of million dollars to get a chunk of TARP funds for a bridge project.

    Even at rush hour there was not much backup at the semaphore replaced by the interchange.

    They did not apparently worry about the impact this will have on cash strapped seniors living in homes in the city.

    Need I mention the city council is controlled by dems?

  36. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/16/2010 - 01:51 pm.

    //What happened to “We all want government to be as efficient, responsive, and cost effective as it can be.”?

    I note you do not speak to my point, that — assuming cuts need to be made —

    Such a beautiful illustration. Like I said, your one and only approach to efficiency is “smaller” i.e. cuts. Assuming cuts need to made? That’s the point, how about we stop making assumptions and start examining the problem. I’ll go along cuts if they’re necessary, but I’m not going assume they’re necessary. I’m willing to cut the military budget for example, are you? Cuts don’t always produce more efficiency, sometimes cheap is expensive. For instance, you may have to invest in a more expensive computer network to get more efficiency. And having a better network doesn’t mean you need fewer employees.

    As for your home town’s $40,000 dollar project, that’s an illustration of my previous point that Republicans pretend to be talking about efficiency when in fact they’re complaining about policy decisions. That’s not about efficiency, you just don’t like the project. That’s fine, that’s the discussion we should be having, what do we want our government to be doing or not doing. But the answer isn’t always more or less, it isn’t necessarily going to be cheap, and one way or the other we need to pay for it.

  37. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/16/2010 - 08:51 pm.

    John–
    I believe that municipal elections in Minnesota are nonpartisan.

  38. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/16/2010 - 08:55 pm.

    //Cuts are, after all, the only real incentive to bureaucracies to “shape up.”

    See, there you have it. Simply incoherent. Dismantle something to make it better. Should we try this with the Pentagon John? Does your car run better if you take out a couple spark plugs? There is such a thing as good management and organization you know, we could try that. It helps if you hire people who are interested in running the government to run the government, otherwise you end up with the Franken scenario- Republican always claim government doesn’t work, then they get into power- and prove it.

  39. Submitted by John E Iacono on 08/17/2010 - 09:39 am.

    (#36)Paul Udstrand:
    Uuh – 2 MILLION dollar project on a POPULATION of 40,000 — about 15,000 homes… Do the math.

    And yes, I disapprove the project, especially at this time in the residents’ economies. But I was not consulted.

    (#37)Paul Brandon:
    They may be non-partisan in name, but not in fact. They use dfl colors for their lawn signs, and — in our town — are pretty much run and financially backed by the Minneapolis dfl machine. And everyone knows it, of course.

    (#38)Paul Udstrand:
    “Dismantle” – YOUR words, not mine. Reductio ad absurdum may be a fun way to counter, but is not very productive of intelligent discourse.

    “the Pentagon” – I though we were talking about reinventing STATE government. Are you referring to the Guard here, or just changing the subject like a good politician?

  40. Submitted by Fritz Dahmus on 08/17/2010 - 03:48 pm.

    I have a suggestion. The democrats are itching to put their plan to work. Go ahead boys…a very nice start with ObamaCare. Let them in! Raise the corporate taxes and the taxes on upper incomes. By all studies, they are holding on to a record amount of cash. They can afford more taxes now more than anyone. Expand those government budgets.

    One of the best jobs in America is with the government. Instead of putting us all on some program only….hire us so we can also be productive! With the increased taxes you can now afford us. A lot of the 7%-16% unemployed (depending on where and how you look at the numbers) are very old, well educated and/or very experienced (I can personally vouch for that). If you are not, move back home. The new personal income generated will give the fat cat corporations new customers and the fat cat government new tax revenue. Fat cats win and workers have disposable income.

    Isn’t that the government’s job (according to almost everyone in this post) to provide us with the means and methods to pursue happiness? I wasn’t real happy the day they postponed the Target Field ground-breaking ceremony, because the 35W bridge fell.

    We are stuck with our government, it needs to be looked at (pick your reason). If you don’t like Target because they like guys who hate gays….go to K-Mart!

  41. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/17/2010 - 08:03 pm.

    //And yes, I disapprove the project, especially at this time in the residents’ economies. But I was not consulted.

    Just out of curiosity, do you ever go the city council meetings or the town hall meetings your state reps have? If not, you should.

    (#38)Paul Udstrand:
    “Dismantle” – YOUR words, not mine.

    YOUR agenda not mine. You’ve been cutting government for 40 years, when do you plan to stop? According to your small government guru Norquist the cuts won’t stop until you can drag government to the bathtub and drown it. If that’s not an agenda for dismantling the government what is? Now if you disagree with that agenda great, there’s hope for you in that event.

    As for the defense budget since your arguing on principle I would assume that you’re prescription of budget cuts to make the state bureaucracy “shape up” ought to work with the Pentagon as well. I’ve been having this debate for decades and I’ve always found it funny that the cut cut cut mentality stops on the steps of the Pentagon. For some reason the entire Republican argument against throwing money at problems, disciplining agencies with budget cuts, “smallness” in general turns on it’s head when talk about $1,000 toilet seats and missile defense systems that don’t work, and billion dollar low level bombers that have to fly like at high altitudes in case a flock of geese happens to be out and about.

  42. Submitted by John E Iacono on 08/18/2010 - 01:09 pm.

    Ever go to Party in the Park? I raised the funds for it until some folks went for an impossible budget and ended up having to have the taxpayers pay for it.

    Heard of the Human Rights Commission? I chaired it for a number of years.

    While I have not been a regular, I have often attended both city council and school board meetings over the years.

    I have served as an election judge for a number of years, until I was not invited this year.

    And I currently serve on a commission that works on matters affecting my home town.

    Paul, how have YOU participated in your government? And is it relevant?

    As for “dismantle,” I maintain that you do NOT get, in honest discussion, to put words into my mouth to create a straw man at which to shoot. Apologize, and cut it out, please.

  43. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/19/2010 - 06:20 pm.

    //As for “dismantle,” I maintain that you do NOT get, in honest discussion, to put words into my mouth to create a straw man at which to shoot. Apologize, and cut it out, please.

    John, you may not like my words, but that doesn’t I don’t get to use them. You don’t get to spend 40 years slashing “big government” and then claim you haven’t been dismantling it.

    If I remember correctly you said you’d been a judge over at Prince of Peace. You must be talking about that Hwy 7 Project over by the old Jr. High? The only reason I asked about the city council and the town hall meeting is they’ve talking about all this stuff, I wasn’t questioning your civic participation. There was a debate with the Henn Co. commissioner candidates a couple weeks ago. If you want to e-mail me back channel, google my name, I’m easy to find, I’ll forward the stuff I get from Latz, Kelly, and Winkler.

  44. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/19/2010 - 08:50 pm.

    John, I wasn’t questioning your civic involvement, I was just asking. The town hall meetings that Latz, Kelly, and Winkler have are actually quite informative, and I notice you live in the same city I do.

    //As for “dismantle,” I maintain that you do NOT get, in honest discussion, to put words into my mouth to create a straw man at which to shoot. Apologize, and cut it out, please.

    You may dislike my words, but that doesn’t I don’t get to use them. Republicans don’t get to spend 40 years cutting government budgets and services and then deny they’ve been dismantling the government. You can call it whatever you want to call it, and call it what I call it.

  45. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/20/2010 - 08:03 am.

    Sorry for the double post, technical glitches my end.

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