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Tax code is ‘a weapon of mass destruction,’ says Bachmann

MORNING EDITION

While you were getting ready to shovel this weekend, Michele Bachmann was in South Carolina telling her true believers that the tax code is a “weapon of mass destruction.” Peter Finocchiario in Salon writes: “Michele Bachmann was firing on all cylinders [Saturday] night. The uber-conservative congresswoman — and possible presidential candidate — revved up a crowd of just under 200 Republicans in South Carolina, touching on several hot-button issues such as health care reform, terrorism and American exceptionalism. Most notable, perhaps, Bachmann called the U.S. tax code a ‘weapon of mass destruction.’ The whole speech was laced with anti-Obama sentiments, explicated most clearly when lambasting the President’s foreign policy: ‘Our Peace Prize-winning president is very busy bowing these days to kings. He is bending down to dictators, and he is brown-nosing the elites that are in Europe, and he’s babying the jihadists who are following Sharia-compliant terrorism. He is callow and confused and inconsistent in his response to the Egyptian crisis, and to the uprisings in Iran, and to the terrorist threats. And he’s accomplishing something nobody thought even possible: He’s making Jimmy Carter look like a Rambo tough-guy.’ “

An AP story out of South Carolina, where Bachmann appeared with Congressman Joe “You Lie!” Wilson, says: “She drew applause when she defended the tea party activists, saying they are simply people who think taxes and the deficit are too high and support the U.S. Constitution. ‘And these are the scary people?, she said. She said South Carolina was to be congratulated for sending four freshmen Republican lawmakers to Congress and for electing another tea party-backed candidate, Nikki Haley, as governor. ‘The tea party was all of us, all of you,’ she said. ‘For a Minnesota girl, you are a GOP paradise.’ ” For everyone else, it’s a … oh, never mind, it’s Monday morning.

A Reuters story, by Harriet McLeod, adds Bachmann’s deep thoughts on the showdown in Wisconsin: “ ‘Don’t let anyone tell you that the government workers in Wisconsin are losing their collective bargaining rights over wages,’ Bachmann said in a speech to a South Carolina Republican women’s group. ‘They are not. They are retaining them. It’s their collective bargaining right over their benefits.’ ‘It isn’t that these unions are bad or evil, it’s just that we’ve got to get real about what we can and cannot afford,’ she said.”

Simultaneously, Strib columnist James Lileks pops up in the New York Post taking a swipe at a City Pages blog (unnamed) while trying to explain Minnesotans’ affinity for the likes of Ms. Bachmann, Paul Wellstone, Al Franken, Jess Ventura, etc. (as though they all rode in with the same circus and jumped out of the same clown car): “Like Palin, she paints with broad strokes, which makes her opponents deeply concerned about the level of rhetoric in this troubled land. Rep. Alan Grayson can say Republicans want Americans to die, and Howard Dean can say the GOP doesn’t care whether kids go to bed hungry at night — these are regarded as piquant phrasings of an essential truth. Bachmann calls scooping up the health-care system into the arms of the government ‘socialism,’ and she’s a shrieking know-nothing. For some, Bachmann is regarded as Palin’s Mini-Me, minus the high-powered weaponry. She’s one of those inauthentic women who has not realized that the possession of ovaries requires one to fight for social justice and greater regulation of everything except the Department of Regulations.”

There may be something in the water because the PiPress’ resident working-class hero, Joe “Sooch” Soucheray, also has deep thoughts, this time about all the excitement next door in Wisconsin. Sooch’s view is pretty much Tea Party cut and paste: “For so long, we have not endured pain in this country that when pain might be used to make a point, we have to manufacture it out of whole cloth. Apparently it is painful, an attack, an assault on public employees to expect them to participate in the task of getting ourselves, our country, into responsible financial shape. The bill also would strip public sector workers of their collective bargaining rights, which in many cases they have apparently abused.” Apparently abused? Is that what the Revolutionary War re-enactors call contract negotiations today?   

Want some stats (as of last night) on the storm? Here’s Paul Douglas via the Strib: “6.8″ snow fell at MSP as of 7 pm Sunday, a new daily snowfall record for February 20. The old record for February 20 was 4.2″ in 1979. 13″ fell as of 10 pm Sunday evening in the Twin Cities, bringing the season total up to over 73″, making this winter the second snowiest to date. Only 1982 saw more snow as of February 20 (76″). 17″ measured at Eden Prairie (Flying Cloud Airport) as of 10:30 pm Sunday. Remarkable. 15″ at Bloomington — south metro picked up considerably more snow than the northern suburbs. 12-18″ snow totals are likely from this storm, just a little less than the storm that hit December 10-11, which dumped 17.1″ on the Twin Cities. The odds of two 15+” snowfalls in one winter? Probably 1 in 100, possible less than that. A few southern suburbs may wind up with 16-18″ snow before the flakes subside later in the day on Monday.”

Paul Huttner at MPR says: “[E]xpect slick and slow conditions if you do have to commute Monday morning. Some ‘wrap around’ on the back side of the low as it pulls away could produce another 1″ to 3″ in many spots, especially north of the metro Monday.”

A Warren Wolfe story in the Strib lays out the reality for the nursing home industry in Minnesota under Gov. Dayton’s budget: “The heavily regulated industry would take its deepest payment cuts in history under the budget that Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled last week. Some facilities ‘almost certainly will close’ if it is approved, said Gayle Kvenvold, CEO of Aging Services of Minnesota, which represents largely nonprofit homes. Industry leaders, who have fought off at least three budget-conscious governors in the past two decades, expressed surprise last week. ‘We’re shocked’, Kvenvold said. ‘Candidate Dayton talked about protecting elderly Minnesotans, but Governor Dayton’s budget does not reflect that.’

In a very similar vein, David Wahlberg of the Wisconsin State Journal lays out how another facet of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget will hit  those most dependent on Medicaid: “ Walker’s budget repair bill, introduced last week but stalled by the protests, would give the state Department of Health Services the authority to restrict eligibility, modify benefits and make other changes to Medicaid with less legislative review than required now. If the federal government didn’t grant permission to make some of the changes, the state would drop at least 50,000 people from Medicaid next year. Cullen Werwie, Walker’s spokesman, said changes and flexibility are needed to plug the $1.8 billion hole in the state’s Medicaid budget over the next two years. The program, which includes BadgerCare Plus, Family Care, SeniorCare and other health plans, accounts for half of the state’s estimated $3.6 billion budget gap.”

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Joe Williams on 02/21/2011 - 07:55 am.

    What is the likelihood that Wisconsin would annex CD6? It certainly would free up a lot of space in the MN news, and it seems like they might feel right at home as Wisconsinites. Win-win.

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 02/21/2011 - 08:21 am.

    It is interesting, how much the Republicans, despite how much they talk about “fiscal reality”, inhabit a world of fantasy and delusion.

    First, there is the fact that the middle-class lifestyle and the modern economy was based on good pay that was achieved, not through the consent of Rockerfeller, Carnegie or J. P. Morgan, but through the fierce and relentless pressure of unions and collective bargaining.

    Second, the years of spiraling health care costs occurred under the tender mercies of the ministrations of the private health insurance industry. They did not restrain cost while the federal government was prohibited from negotiating price or prohibited from investigation of suspicious billing patterns.

    Third, China illustrates the environmental devastation that occurs when industry exists without consideration of who or what is downstream of your emissions. The lack of consideration of future or secondary effects of production that is entirely driven by current profit has resulted in significant permanent damage.

    Forth, continuing along the line of the regulation-phobia of the Republicans, apparently they have never read an economic history of the multiple giant cycles of boom and bust that occurred in the pre-WW2 era from the shenanigans of financial manipulators unrestrained by effective regulation.

    Fifth, many Republicans benefit from what they decry as the “nanny” state. How many of them are on Medicare or Medicaid? How many of the are prepared to bear a significant part of their elderly parents support? How about that nephew with schizophrenia? How many send their children to tax-supported schools in lieu of private schools? How many work in the fields of defense contracting, lower and higher education, medicine, medical devices, etc? All three of those areas, defense, medicine and education are supported completely or in a major way supported on the back of tax-payer dollars.

    Reductions ARE required by economic reality.

    But massive delusions persist as to the effects on their own lives with the changes that they desire.

    The American they think existed, never did.

  3. Submitted by Karl Bremer on 02/21/2011 - 08:37 am.

    I anxiously await your next item headlined “Joe Soucheray relinquishes Newspaper Guild membership and salary/benefits accorded him through negotiated contracts.”

  4. Submitted by Paul Scott on 02/21/2011 - 10:24 am.

    Isn’t that super that James Lileks got someone to care about something he said that didn’t relate to Life’s Little Foibles?

  5. Submitted by Sheila Ehrich on 02/21/2011 - 10:25 am.

    Did I read this correctly, Michelle Bachmann “revved up a crown of just under 200 Republicans”? So why all the publicity?? If the media would just ignore her she might just go away. I mean if Fox and the Wall Street Journal want to cover her, go for it. But why bother here??

    Also, don’t have the editorial with me and I’m under the weather, but George Will’s column in Saturday’s(??) Strib spoke about the guy who heads up the CPAC and what he had to say about income inequality. Was really quite interesting, and I thought, somewhat reasonable. Now, I grant you, I haven’t read a copy of this guys speech verbatim and maybe I was too fevered to actually know what I was reading, but why didn’t we see headlines about what he had to say instead of Bachmann and Pawlenty.

    If there are actually conservatives out there who can think reasonably about things like that, we should be reading what they have to say and forget the bomb-throwers!!

  6. Submitted by Marta Fahrenz on 02/21/2011 - 11:51 am.

    Brian, I love your writing and I always go to the Glean first, but I agree with Sheila–please stop giving Bachmann so much press. Her deliberately outrageous comments to 200 people do not warrant all those inches. As far as I’m concerned, people who make as many false statements and utter outright lies as she and her buddies do shouldn’t get any press except fact-checking reports.

  7. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 02/21/2011 - 01:33 pm.

    Are Republicans back at it again, using the term “weapon[s] of mass destruction”??

    Don’t they know that their credibility is shot to hell as soon as they utter that phrase in connection with anything?!

  8. Submitted by Steve Fester on 02/21/2011 - 01:58 pm.

    I appreciate the Glean as well, but dittos to Sheila and Marta.

  9. Submitted by Arito Moerair on 02/21/2011 - 02:27 pm.

    I’m just happy to see Lileks writing about something besides shopping at Target.

  10. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 02/21/2011 - 07:18 pm.

    The main stream media still are not mentioning that Wisconsin would have had a surplus by the end of 2011 and avoid the shortfall coming up in the next two years IF THE GOVERNOR HAD NOT GIVEN LARGE CORPORATIONS A HUGE TAX BREAK.

    Just like Pawlenty, Walker creates the shortage and then punishes ordinary people with such tricks as Walker’s attack on public employee unions and Pawlenty’s withdrawal of health care funding for the poor.

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