Sunrise brings the dawn of (really) small government


You have awakened today to the nirvana of much smaller government. The Reuters story, by David Bailey, said: “Dayton and Democratic legislative leaders Senator Tom Bakk and Representative Paul Thissen met for more than a week with Republican leaders including House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. The leaders met at least three times on Thursday in the governor’s office. ‘I deeply regret that the last week of intense negotiations between the Republican legislative leaders and Senator Bakk, Representative Thissen and myself have failed to bridge the divide between us,’ Dayton said in a speech. When asked if there was any way to avoid a shutdown at midnight, he told reporters, ‘I’m not aware of it.’ “

Monica Davey of The New York Times writes: “While private negotiations went on, day after day, and the Friday deadline approached, it seemed as though the argument had never really shifted much at all. ‘This is a night of deep sorrow for me because I don’t want to see this shutdown occur,’ Mr. Dayton told reporters late Thursday. ‘But I think there are basic principles and the well-being of millions of people in Minnesota that would be damaged not just for the next week or whatever long it takes, but the next two years and beyond with these kind of permanent cuts in personal care attendants and home health services and college tuition increases.’ ”

Mark Trumbull at The Christian Science Monitor looks at the connection to the national meltdown in D.C.: “Republicans swept to power campaigning against tax and spending increases, while Governor Dayton won with a message of raising taxes on the highest earners. Dayton’s backers argue that if no deal is reached, voters will blame Republicans — and glean from the shutdown a visceral reminder of the many useful services the state government usually provides, from parks to schools and road-building. (Services deemed essential, such as police work, would continue during a shutdown.)” That’s the hope, anyway.

Here in town, Eric Roper of the Strib files on the last-minute theatrics: “House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch unveiled offers they had made earlier in the day, including expanding the school shift and issuing tobacco bonds. They also revealed that Dayton had briefly taken his tax plan off the table. But with two hours left before a midnight shutdown, Zellers said Dayton had ‘thrown in the towel.’ ‘This is about shutting down government for a political purpose,’ Zellers said. He added: ‘This is going to I think be one of those moments in our state’s history that we’ll look back on and be very disappointed [with].’ Dayton said in a letter that he could not agree to both the K-12 shift and tobacco bonds because they are not ‘permanent revenues.’ He instead offered a 3 percent income tax increase on people earning more than $1 million, or a 1.5 percent increase along with corporate tax reform, non-resident estate taxes and ‘sales tax reforms.’ Republican leaders rejected his offer in a letter, noting that ‘any proposal that includes a tax increase does not have the support to pass either the House or Senate.’ ” In other words, “We got nothing for you.”

Over at MPR, Madeleine Baran writes: “Both sides argued that they were not responsible for the failure to reach a budget agreement. Dayton blamed Republicans for refusing to accept tax increases to close the state’s $5 billion budget gap, while Republicans said Dayton should agree to a ’lights on’ bill to keep the government functioning for ten more days. Republican leaders delivered the temporary funding proposal to the governor’s office Thursday night. ‘The answer to the shutdown is now in the governor’s office,’ said Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, at a news conference a few minutes later. Dayton refused to sign the bill, calling it a ‘publicity stunt’ designed to shift blame for the stalemate.”

A bit like a proud father returning home to behold his creation, T-Paw was back in the state, and asked about The Shutdown. The Strib’s Bob von Sternberg and Rachel Stassen-Berger write: “Pawlenty, now running for president, said that both the shutdown he oversaw in 2005 and the one now happening were the fault of Democrats during a stop at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport Thursday night. Although he blamed DFL Gov. Mark Dayton for the current shutdown, Pawlenty did not take responsibility for the 2005 government closure. ‘The equivalence is this both in ’05 and now — You had Democrats demanding that we raise taxes and raise spending,’ Pawlenty said. In 2005, the shutdown ended with Pawlenty inking a budget deal that included what he called a ‘health impact fee,’ but most called a cigarette tax. He said he bore no responsibility for the $5 billion deficit economists projected he left behind and the current lawmakers and governor are working to close. He said the deficit is ‘a projected deficit’ based on spending he would not have approved.” But the big question is: “Is there anyone, even in Iowa, who will believe that?”

Jeff Rosenberg at mnPublius imagines a household scenario mirroring the budget debate. “Can you imagine how horrible it would be if you tried to learn a lesson from the MNGOP and applied their “protect the rich” strategy to your own family budget?
MOM: Kids, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. Our insurance premiums have gone way up, and we need to start cutting back. We’re not going to be contributing to your college funds anymore. Also, we’re dropping you from our insurance to save money.
JIMMY: But what about my medicine?
MOM: Sorry, Jimmy, we all have to tighten our belts and make sacrifices.
KIM: I don’t understand. Didn’t Dad just get a big bonus at work?
MOM: Yes he did, honey, but we’re going to let him keep that to spend on his jet-ski collection.
KIM: But Jimmy and I are contributing all the money we get from our paper routes. Why doesn’t Dad chip in more of his money?
MOM: If your Dad only gets two more jet skis this year instead of three, he might not work as hard. And then where would we be?
JIMMY: I can’t breathe without my medicine!”

For some reason, this story resonates beyond the immediate situation. Pat Pheifer of the Strib reports: “Rolland F. Kruckow, 73, shot his 63-year-old brother, Christian D. Kruckow, took the remaining shells out of his gun and laid it on the counter, then called 911 and went outside to wait for police, according to charges filed Thursday in Cass County District Court. Rolland Kruckow is charged with one count of intentional second-degree murder. … Kruckow, he said he was still in bed when his brother came to his house. He got up and got dressed before he answered the door. He always carries the revolver in his pants pocket, he said. Kruckow told the investigator that he and his brother began to argue and his brother began to push him. That’s when he pulled his gun and shot his brother in the chest, Kruckow said, according to the complaint.”

Finally, my apologies to The Chairman. As I mentioned in Thursday’s Afternoon Glean, GOP state Chairman Tony Sutton complained that a quote from him in a blog I linked to was a “gag”. It turns out he was right. (Sadly) there is no anarchist group called CRAP. What’s more it does not agree with current GOP doctrine. The entire blog post was “satire,” I’m told. As a cranky bastard who routinely stands on my front porch and rails at “the overly literal-minded,” I am mortified. But I continue to regard Chairman Sutton as one of the most reliably entertaining characters on the local political scene.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Jeff Wilfahrt on 07/01/2011 - 07:34 am.

    Your apology to the Failed Burrito King Sutton pales before the apology he owes the state of Minnesota. But alas, he is not sagacious enough to know he owes us that simple thing.

    Jeff Wilfahrt, Rosemount, MN

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 07/01/2011 - 08:22 am.

    Nicely done, Brian. I love the jet-ski example from mnPublius.

    Mr. Pawlenty bears no responsibility for Minnesota’s current budget issues in very much the same way that George Bush the Younger bears no responsibility for the nation’s current budget issues. One hopes the people in both Minnesota and Iowa won’t be fooled, but the track record of fooling people in both states with right-wing rhetoric isn’t encouraging.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/01/2011 - 01:59 pm.

    Sadly for for Mr. Pawlenty, the only way he can find any connection to his internally exiled ability to be passionate about any subject is by watching his collection of clips of especially violent hockey brawls.

    But for the most dysfonic right wing of the Republican Party, the folks that wants their favorite destructive and self-destructive ideas and ideals delivered from those who are foaming at the mouth, Mr. Pawlenty’s lack of foam and flying spittle leaves them feeling unmoved,…

    even though he always tries to faithfully tell each and every audience only what THOSE PARTICULAR folks want to hear.

    Meanwhile, it’s clear that our Republican friends here in Minnesota, by introducing their favorite social policy issues and their gerrymandered redistricting plan into final negotiations made it clear that their entire professed desire to avoid a government shut down was a lie and the “negotiations” nothing but a smoke screen.

    I suppose we should not be surprised that they seem to believe, based on the fact that their psychological dysfunctions do not allow to enter their awareness any information which might call anything they believe into question,…

    that, since their wealthy keepers and handlers will be unaffected by the government shutdown, it will actually have NO EFFECT on anyone.

    I suppose it’s not that they don’t care about the other 98% of the general public who will be hurt or damaged by their protection of the rich, it’s just that, from their perspective, those people don’t actually exist, or if they DO exist, they don’t matter and probably didn’t deserve whatever it was the government was doing for them in the first place.

    After all, their wealthy supporters have homes and vacation estates that amount to private parks. Since those suffering from the closed state parks obviously were not smart enough to become wealthy enough to afford such luxuries, they clearly didn’t deserve to have the STATE provide them.

    It all fits into their overall perspective: “Anyone who needs state help of any kind clearly doesn’t deserve it.”

    The only chance for a shutdown that doesn’t run beyond Christmas, here, is for the few remaining psychologically-healthy Republicans to sidestep their leadership and work out a compromise with Gov. Dayton.

    They will, of course be sacrificing their political careers, but perhaps they can join with the Gas Tax six to bring about a reborn Republican Party in a new guise which leaves the dysfons out in the cold violently shouting at each other over who’s to blame for the fact that more than half of their party members took a hike.

  4. Submitted by James Hamilton on 07/01/2011 - 03:41 pm.

    Mr. Pawnlenty is entirely correct. He’s never been responsible.

  5. Submitted by Rich Broderick on 07/02/2011 - 10:12 am.

    As founder of CRAP, I take issue with your statement that CRAP doesn’t support the Minnesota Republican Party’s attempts to dismantle the state government. This is fully in accord with anarchist goals. The GOP budget proposals are full of CRAP.

    Meanwhile, did you really have to be “told” that the blog I posted was satire? What I wrote might be a parody, but it’s hardly a “gag,” with or without the quotations marks. There is nothing the least bit amusing about the Republican Party’s profoundly nihilistic willingness to wreak havoc on Minnesota for partisan gain. In the end, its tactics will destroy the GOP, but not before a lot of damage is visited on the state and a lot of vulnerable and needy people — including those children, both pre- and post-born Republicans supposedly care so much about — are hurt, and many even die, as a result.

    A real laugh riot, don’t you think?

  6. Submitted by will lynott on 07/02/2011 - 03:48 pm.

    Only to blame.

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