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Minnesota is way up there in most-expensive day care

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Median incomes slipping, but we’re ahead of neighbors; Walker recall efforts near; key stadium report looms; Cities 97 Sampler praised; today’s Bachmannia; and more.
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Another thing Minnesota is close to the top in … the most expensive day-care. Jennifer Bissell of the PiPress writes: “The state ranks among the least affordable for child care, with a $9,900 annual average cost for a center-based day care, according to a recent national study. The recession has helped lower the average cost of child care slightly, but it also has left more parents struggling to afford day care, increased the number of children receiving public assistance for child care and forced hundreds of providers to close because of low enrollment.”

Mike Ivey at the Capital Times over in Madison files a piece on the standard of living in Wisconsin, compared with Minnesota and Iowa: “Last year, median household income in Wisconsin was $49,001, down from $49,993 in 2009. The 2000 median when calculated in 2010 dollars was $57,316. (Median is the middle, meaning half of households make more, half make less.) ‘Frankly, I was alarmed when I saw those income numbers,’ says Adbur Chowdhury, an economics professor at Marquette University. ‘I knew we’d been slipping but I didn’t know it was that much.’ Thirty years ago, workers in Wisconsin earned as much as those in Minnesota and more than those in Iowa. Today, the average job in Minnesota pays $46,788 versus $39,945 in Wisconsin and $38,119 in Iowa. Wisconsin also ranks a dismal 40th out of the 50 states in per capita personal income growth since 1980, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Put another way, people in Wisconsin are working harder than ever for less money.” … Which I believe is the accepted definition for “worker productivity.”

Also at the Cap Times, which is unabashed about its “progressive” point of view, columnist John Nichols looks at Gov. Scott Walker’s situation with one month to go before the beginning of the recall process. “Walker could not be recalled until one year after his Jan. 3, 2011, inauguration as the state’s governor. Under Wisconsin law, that means that Wisconsinites seeking to remove Walker can begin gathering recall petitions in the first week of November. The timing could not be worse for the governor, who now seems to be resigned to facing a fight to retain his position. In recent weeks, Walker’s aides have emerged as key targets of a John Doe inquiry into political corruption that even media outlets that have supported the governor now acknowledge ‘threatens to become a big problem for Walker.’ Let’s recap. … On Friday, the governor’s chief of staff, Kevin Gilkes, abruptly resigned his position. Gilkes said he was going to work on setting up Walker’s campaign to counter the anticipated recall drive. But the announcement came just three days after it was revealed that Gilkes had played a central role in arranging for FBI-raid target Cynthia Archer’s transfer from the Department of Administration to the Department of Children and Families at a point when rumors about the John Doe inquiry were beginning to spread. Just before Gilkes stepped down, it was revealed that Department of Children and Families Secretary Eloise Anderson had never interviewed Archer, and that it was Gilkes who offered her the job. Walker continues to claim he knows nothing beyond what he reads in the papers about the John Doe inquiry — which has already seen one of his top donors convicted of felony campaign finance and money laundering violations.”

Jenna Ross at the Strib reports on the U of M’s new No. 2 “President Eric Kaler has picked the next provost — his No. 2 and the U’s top academic job. Karen Hanson is now provost of Indiana University, Bloomington, the flagship campus of that system, and like Kaler, is a University of Minnesota alumna. … Hanson has been a part of the Philosophy Department at Indiana … since 1976, first as a lecturer, later as its chair. Her research interests are in ‘the philosophy of mind, ethics, aesthetics, and American philosophy,’ according to her online biography. Her resumé notes several distinguished teaching awards, as well as a host of publications and public lectures. ‘The liberal arts, and in particular the humanities, may be the most under attack right now in terms of public skepticism about their value,’ Hanson said in her public interview for the U job. Their case, she said, ‘has to be made by somebody who truly believes it.’ ” You mean we won’t survive by math alone?

Rochelle Olson and Mike Kaszuba of the Strib preview this week’s release of the feasibility study on the Vikings Arden Hills stadium dream: “[T}he much-anticipated findings, due to be released this week, are already being eyed skeptically by Vikings officials, who say they asked pointedly whether the conclusions might effectively scuttle the $1.1 billion project. Met Council official Arlene McCarthy, in outlining the thorny soil cleanup issues at the former Army ammunition plant, said at a briefing that ‘it’s just complicated.’ The report, according to the Met Council and the Vikings, will address road upgrades, pollution remediation, site acquisition from the federal government and potential delays over construction and permitting requirements. Metropolitan Sports Facilities Chairman Ted Mondale said the report will end several ongoing controversies, including an earlier insistence by the Vikings that the state pass stadium legislation ‘without knowing the costs.’ “

The invariably popular Cities 97 Sampler will hit stores Nov. 17. Chris Riemenschneider of the Strib is impressed with this year’s collection: “It looks to be a cooler-than-average year, with acts such as Adele, Mumford & Sons, Florence + the Machine, Ray LaMontagne, Lissie, Fitz & the Tantrums and the Head & the Heart (also all favorites on the Current 89.3) bumping up against more standard fare by David Gray, Michael Franti, Sara Bareilles, David Gray and O.A.R. Americana rockers Farewell Milwaukee are representing the local music scene in the collection this year. Too bad they didn’t also include the Drive-by Truckers’ ‘Too Much Sex, Too Little Jesus’ from the Basilica Block Party — now that would’ve been cool.” We like the Truckers.

Today in Bachmannia: Jason Johnson on the website Politic365 is using “death knell” in its story of Our Gal closing up shop in Virginia: “Usually a campaign is seen as being in trouble when major staff members take a hike, but the real death knell is when you start closing campaign offices. Team Bachmann, once riding high after winning the Iowa Straw poll, has already made it clear they won’t be in this game for the long haul. With the closing of her Virginia campaign office, the Bachmann campaign has announced that they will stay around at least till New Hampshire — which is about as re-assuring for her supporters as Jon Huntsman saying ‘Don’t Count me Out.’ This is sad on a larger level though because it appears that the Republican Party elites are just dead set on clearing the field for Mitt Romney the longer this campaign goes. The winnowing of candidates has become so intense that it would not surprise me if the first primaries only had 4 participants (Cain, Perry, Romney and Paul) which would not be good for American democracy or the party. But since when have campaigns been about what’s best for America?”

And … did you hear about her interaction with the toothless guy in New Hampshire? Michael Falcone of ABC News writes: “At a town hall-style meeting, a staple of presidential politics here, Greg S. Goldberg of nearby Bradford, N.H., told the Minnesota congresswoman about his painful problem: ‘My teeth are going insane, I can’t even go and get them fixed. Why wouldn’t it be better to go on a single-payer system like there currently is in Vermont and Montana?’ Bachmann rejected Goldberg’s suggestion. ‘You want socialized medicine,’ she told him. ‘That’s what you want.. But Goldberg, a Democrat who manages his father’s furniture store, pressed the Republican presidential hopeful: ‘I have no teeth right now.’ Again, Bachmann was unmoved: ‘If you’re indigent,’ she told the man, ‘there are programs set up for the indigent. I want you to have the best dental healthcare you can have,’ she added. ‘That’s why I don’t want you to have socialized medicine. That would be the worst possible system you could have. The free market provides you with the best system and we have charitable organizations and there’s universities who are willing to take people who are indigent.’ ” Yeah, really. Just walk in anywhere.

As Brad Allen is reporting here on MinnPost, two former U of M profs are sharing this year’s Nobel Prize in economics. The AP story by Karl Ritter and Malan Rising says: “Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims won the Nobel economics prize today for research that sheds light on the cause-and-effect relationship between the economy and policy instruments such as interest rates and government spending. Sargent and Sims — both 68 — carried out their research independently in the 1970s and ’80s, but it is highly relevant today as world governments and central banks seek ways to steer their economies away from another recession. Both taught at the University of Minnesota starting in the 1970s. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the winners have developed methods for answering questions such as how economic growth and inflation are affected by a temporary increase in the interest rate or a tax cut.”  So has anyone asked them about Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” plan?