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How Dayton, Senate DFLers and House Republicans could forge a budget deal — and avoid a shutdown

The end of the legislative session, May 18, is a little more than three weeks away. In the Legislative Standard Time zone, there should be plenty of working hours remaining for the DFL governor, the DFL-dominated Senate and the Republican-controlled House to agree on a budget.

But with Gov. Dayton “unbound,” DFL senators not walking in lockstep, and a Republican House that needs to flex political muscle, the road to agreement may be as difficult to navigate as it was in 2011, when Dayton and the Republicans who then controlled both chambers forced a government shutdown.

Curt Johnson, who has led both the Citizens League and the Metropolitan Council, was chief of staff to Gov. Arne Carlson in 1994. At the time, Carlson, a Republican running for re-election, faced a similar distribution of power, with DFlers controlling the Senate and Republicans controlling the House. I asked Johnson, who I worked with in the governor’s office, for his thoughts on bringing together irresistible objects and immoveable forces in the next few weeks. 

First, Johnson said, acknowledge the reality that everybody needs something. “I’ll preface what I’m saying that, unless I’m romanticizing the past, in the days when we were doing our jobs, there was a sense of the need to find common ground. My sense is, today, people on the right and left must take a stand — even if it undermines progress, even if it stymies sensible solutions.

“If I were facing this today, I would try to find out: what is it that each side has to take home? They are going to have to compromise, so who has to have what?”

Tax cuts, transportation, and education are hurdles, Johnson said, but they are also opportunities.

On tax reduction, he said, Dayton should give a little — and a little is about all that is affordable. “The Republicans have got to take credit for some reduction in taxes, although they cannot get as much as they want because they don’t have as much money as they believe there is in the surplus. They count inflation on revenue, but not on spending.”  

Education is more complicated, Johnson said. “Dayton seems, more than any governor I’ve ever known, incredibly deferential to his education commissioner and incredibly intimidated by Education Minnesota [the teacher’s union]. He should go along with the DFL Senate and Republican plan to offer early childhood education scholarships. Universal pre-K education may be affordable now, but you have to think about the tails. It’s an investment that needs to be targeted. In the end, K-12 education will end up getting a better shake if they let go of universal pre-K and direct that money into the basic education formula.”

Curt Johnson
Curt Johnson

On a transportation plan, Johnson sides with the DFL. “This is where the Republicans have their head in the sand,” he said. “They are not paying attention to the profile of the millennial generation that wants good, public transportation. If we persist in this notion that it’s only roads and bridges, we will not have a metro area that is going to be competitive. This should be a conservative idea. I realize the election revitalized the prospects of rural Minnesota, but a competitive metro area benefits the whole state, and if we can’t compete, it’s going to hurt in Baudette, in Detroit lakes. They are going to feel it over.”

So, who starts the ball rolling when it comes to compromise? “The governor has latitude,” Johnson said. “He’s has a big runway, another three years in office, and he’s not running again. He has the status to be magnanimous. Kurt Daudt may be the most reasonable speaker of the House we’ve had in some time. As for [Senate majority leader] Tom Bakk, the governor’s relationship with him is layered with Shakespearean intrigue.

“Somebody has got to say there’s a lot at stake, that people have to make these strong stands, but we’ve got to come to a resolution on behalf of the people of the state. The governor has more political freedom to do that and everything to gain.”

On whether all sides will agree by the May 18 adjournment:  “The only class of people that are more driven by deadlines than journalists are politicians,” said Johnson. “They can’t get it done until it’s almost too late.” 

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Comments (74)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/23/2015 - 10:51 am.


    The essential problem is that we have gridlock, and it occurs within the Republican Party in the legislature. Republicans won in 2014 by arguing that the then DFL majority wasn’t doing enough for Greater Minnesota. That’s a disputable point, perhaps, especially so in that the main target of GOP ire was the Senate Office Building, not any particular issue with respect to Greater Minnesota. But the problem for Republicans is that while they campaigned on doing more which means spending more for Greater Minnesota, the campaign was paid for by Republican special interest groups, who really couldn’t care less about Greater Minnesota, a region of the country where they rarely venture. What they do care about is lower taxes, leaving Republican legislators with their central dilemma, which is that while they have promised to spend more, they have also promised to have less to spend. The result? The usual hare brained schemes, which try to address short term issues, with an extraordinarily creative array of accounting tricks, combined with striking hard at constituencies who don’t have the political wherewithal to strike back, in this case, the sick, the poor, and the kids.

    So the call from Republicans to the DFL has gone out here and elsewhere, as it does every time Republicans are in a position to influence the budget: “Please DFLer’s save us from ourselves. We just can’t keep the promises we made to our voters, the same promises you would make and keep to our voters, if only we would let you, unless you help us pay the political debt to our wealthy backers, who drove you out of the majority.”

    And you know what? After a lot moaning and wailing, the DFL will pretty much do what the Republicans want. We, will give them their tax breaks, and their fictional accounting, and just sort of hope that the voters will sort it out in the next election.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/23/2015 - 01:57 pm.

      “After a lot moaning and wailing, the DFL will pretty much do what the Republicans want.”

      While this is true to a certain degree, it’s only so because DFLers want and believe in a responsive and representative government that functions for the people of Minnesota. Elect a DFLer to government, and they will work at governing. Elect a MNGOPer to government, and they’ll prove to you why government doesn’t work.

      • Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/23/2015 - 03:21 pm.

        Oh sure

        We are the party of government, and we have a vested interest in government working, even if it’s controlled by Republicans. It’s not always a comfortable place to be, but it beats where the other party is. Republicans are the party against government, and so if they govern well it undermines their whole reason for being. But if they govern badly, it’s more difficult although not impossible to stay in office. The best position for Republicans is to have enough power to sabotage government but not enough power to get blamed for it. That’s why the status quo, where Democrats control the White House and Republicans control the Congress is not a bad fit for them.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/23/2015 - 06:44 pm.

          The Party of Government

          That is probably the best title I have heard of to describe the views of Democrats. “We are the Party of Government”

          Maybe the group’s vision could go something like this… “Don’t concern yourself with taking personal responsibility for your choices, efforts, beliefs, behaviors, etc. We, the party of the government will ensure that you are cared for and controlled at all times.” Have a nice day from the collective.

          Personally I think the GOP wants the government to run just as well as the DFL, they just want the government to be involved in fewer of our daily decisions.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/24/2015 - 12:39 pm.

            Best joke I’ve heard all week!

            “Personally I think the GOP wants the government to run just as well as the DFL, they just want the government to be involved in fewer of our daily decisions.”

            The GOP is the party that has declared that government is the solution, not the problem. Small or minimal gobvernance is the party’s guiding principle. Ineffective government is a basic credo of the party, so why would they waste any time in trying to prove themselves wrong?

            “Involved in fewer of our daily decisions,” except for abortion, marriage, recreational drugs, etc.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/24/2015 - 10:41 pm.


              You are correct, many in the GOP try to protect unborn humans, try to limit the use of some drugs and wanted marriage defined as a legal union between a man and a woman.

              I argue though that these pale besides the social morality laws that many in the DFL support. The DFL supports forcing every working person to invest ~15% of their personal compensation into social security and Medicare, forcing every tax payer to support the questionable charities of welfare, Medicaid, etc, pressuring low and middle class families to attend questionable local status quo schools by denying them vouchers, and more. And if they have their way, we would lose the freedom to select our health insurance provider.

              I still think the GOP strives to supports our personal freedoms more so than the DFL does. At least for the vast majority of Americans.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/26/2015 - 02:00 pm.


                Right. State interference with intimate decisions like marriage and procreation is a trivial price to pay for the freedom not to have Social Security. It’s also well worth the restrictions to all school vouchers, a device by which tax money is transferred to any charlatan who can put up a school (see, Louisiana). We don’t want any accountability there, because freedom!

                I don’t see freedom being supported for the “vast majority of Americans.” I suspect that vast majority supports being able to decide whom to marry, if they want to use contraception, or if they want to procreate at all. Still, lower taxes . . .

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/26/2015 - 07:13 pm.


                  I am not sure how one would best classify trivial or substantial. If every working person is forced to do something that they may not volunteer to do of their own free will, I would say those are pretty substantial losses of freedom.

                  If ~3% of Americans can not marry their same sex partner because ~48% of the citizens think it is immoral behavior, probably pretty minor. They can still live happily as a couple. Regarding contraception, I don’t see much resistance to the majority of options available. People just don’t want to help pay to stop the beating of a human heart since they believe that is the sign of a human life.

                  Charlatans, please remember that the city “approved public schools” are failing a large percentage of the kids we give them. Maybe the charlatans can do better, do you know better than the Parents of the child.

                  My point is that both parties want to claim the moral high ground and they are both happy to pass laws to force citizens to comply with their view of morality. Both tend to trounce on the freedoms of people in doings so.

                  • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/28/2015 - 07:24 pm.


                    I like the 3% 48% trade off! That means if 99% think the concentration of wealth with the uber-wealthy 1%, is immoral, we have the case to deny them most of their dough, that would be really minor,and they could live happily in the middle class. You know I’m starting to like this creative conservative thinking.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/29/2015 - 11:52 am.

                      Thankfully 99% of the American population does not support the socialistic view of arbitrary wealth redistribution, and they do support the capitalistic view of personal property rights. But you are correct that if the people of America choose Socialism of some kind, our personal property will no longer be ours.

                    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/30/2015 - 07:45 am.

                      You are confusing communism with socialism.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/23/2015 - 02:45 pm.

      Deja Vu

      I think we had this discussion somewhere else…

      $72 BILLION per year… I think they can do both. Just have to prioritize better.

      And I so hope that Jonathan and yourself are correct. It would be great if the DFL and Governor agree to let the GOP limit the growth of government and reduce the amount of money being pulled from our pockets. I have a child in college and would prefer to send my money her way instead of toward the MN government.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/23/2015 - 03:47 pm.


        Please don’t put words in my mouth. We agree on next to nothing. It is incorrect to say that I hope the MNGOP ‘limits the growth of government.’ I have a child in school too and I will work to make sure he grows up in a state where the MNGOP won’t be able to sacrifice his education, health, and well-being at the altar of greed and petty selfishness.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/23/2015 - 06:15 pm.

          Petty Selfishness

          Does this mean that you truly think MN GOP parents and grand parents want to “sacrifice the education, health, and well-being of their children and grand children at the altar of greed and petty selfishness”?

          Do you truly believe that you care for children more than the MN GOP parents do? My point is that if you assume and look for bad intent, it is highly likely that you will find it whether it is there or not.

          Personally I think we agree on a great number of things. What we disagree on is how to best attain those worthy goals.

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/28/2015 - 09:03 am.

            “Does this mean that you truly think MN GOP parents and grand parents want to “sacrifice the education, health, and well-being of their children and grand children at the altar of greed and petty selfishness”?”

            Yes. I think this is exactly what they are doing.

            “Do you truly believe that you care for children more than the MN GOP parents do?”

            My/our OWN children? No. I think almost anyone who has children loves them in an immesurable and unique way. I do think that I care for other people, and their children, more than MNGOP members do.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/29/2015 - 11:57 am.

              I disagree, I think you want to give them fish from someone elses plate instead of teaching them to fish and be self reliant. Both are forms of caring deeply, unfortunately one robs the person of human dignity and makes them dependent on the continuing good will of their keepers. The other can be more painful in the short term, but is much better for them in the long term.

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 04/23/2015 - 11:02 pm.


      Much like the budget in 2011, the GOP led House will pass a budget with lower spending which won’t get past the Senate and even if it did, Governor No will veto it causing another government shutdown. Incredibly, the Governor can force the House(and Senate) to spend more money than they want because they’ll get the blame if the government shuts down, even if it means higher taxes and more spending (hence the term “tax and spend”). The Senate is in the best position since they can oppose the House plan but let the Governor take the fall (since they’re up for re-election in 2016) if anyone objects.

      • Submitted by Bill Willy on 04/24/2015 - 11:03 pm.

        Sounds good, but…

        Speaking of tax (cuts) and spend, spend, spend, I’m guessing you didn’t get the bulletin either. Republicans may have a tough time passing a budget with lower spending than anyone, seeing as how exactly one week ago today, April 17th, the 2015 Republican budget surpassed the Governor’s budget by $600 billion, going from their “opening bid” of 39.9 to 42.6 in just under 30 days.

        That, of course, ate up that surplus they were promising to give back to hard working Minnesota families, but that wrinkle hasn’t done anything to slow down the $2 billion tax cut train that’s barreling toward the House floor at warp speed.

        And as if that isn’t enough good news for hard working Minnesota families, word seems to be getting out that the $2 billion tax cut is really a $6-point-something billion credit card tax cut, the majority of which would go straight to businesses (instead of Ma, Pa and the kids).

        I’m not sure how Mark Dayton made them do those things (he must be a really powerful guy), but you may be right about Republicans getting blamed for the shutdown if one happens.

        Not that there’d be any good reason for that. I mean, why would anyone not go along with Bigger Than Dayton Spending Increases and Bigger Than Believable Tax Cuts For Business at the same time?

        Makes perfect sense to me, as I’m sure it does to you. Obviously, it will be Dayton’s, the Senate’s and all other Democrat’s fault if it happens.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/25/2015 - 10:54 pm.


          It will be the fault of all 3 groups if a reasonable compromise can not be reached during the normal working session.

          However the Liberals will blame the GOP, and the Conservatives will blame the DFL and the Governor. Apparently this is human nature.

  2. Submitted by John Appelen on 04/23/2015 - 12:43 pm.

    Makes Sense

    It will interesting to see if the politicians can hear what this gentleman is saying.

  3. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/23/2015 - 03:31 pm.

    “And I so hope that Jonathan and yourself are correct. It would be great if the DFL and Governor agree to let the GOP limit the growth of government and reduce the amount of money being pulled from our pockets.”

    Does government get bigger when a child gets the health care he needs? Does government get bigger when someone retires in the private sector and begins drawing Social Security? Does government get bigger when the roads are repaired? Does it get bigger when bridges collapse into the Mississippi River?

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/23/2015 - 04:09 pm.

      The answer to all your questions Hiram, is “yes” whenever government is in the hands of leftists. And truth be told, it is “yes” most of the time government is in Republican hands, too.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/23/2015 - 06:24 pm.


      As we have discussed many times, this is a matter of personal vs society choice. Back in the 1910, people got to choose what do with 92% of their income and the government controlled the spend of 8%. Now people get to decide what to do with ~62% of their income and government controls ~38%.

      Personally I have more faith in people spending their money wisely and more effectively than I think the politicians and bureaucrats will.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/28/2015 - 07:50 pm.


        Yep early 1900’s was a great time: Monopolies ran the country, labor was kept in poverty, and beat senseless when they protested. Its good that folks today are against labor. Do labor a favor,
        Dump that 40 hr week for a 60-70 hour one
        Dump that company sponsored health care program
        Drop the vacation, sick days, 401Ks, death and disability.
        Drop those safety standards, as well, what’s a 146 burnt garment workers.
        Whats near on 900 coal minor deaths over ~ 6 years, as long as the monopolies make their money who cares?
        And while we are at it, take away the women’s vote

        JA thought you were beyond this, evidently you prefer the Pakistani welfare system.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/29/2015 - 10:10 pm.

          Pakistan Somalia Etc

          It seems to me that you may be exagerating a wee bit. I am pretty sure that reducing government spend from 38% of GDP to 33% of GDP would still leave the bureaucrats with a great deal of money.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/23/2015 - 07:50 pm.

    Back in the 1910s

    …people who could afford them rode in a buggy pulled by a horse, and the really affluent drove new-fangled automobiles over rutted tracks. The world that Mr. Appelen seems to long for hasn’t existed for about a century, and maybe 50 years more than that. We ain’t goin’ back – at least, not voluntarily. Truly public schools were still on the horizon, so only the affluent could afford to educate their children, and you worked until you died, typically by age 45. If you couldn’t work, you lived with relatives and tried to make yourself useful around the house because they were under no legal obligation to feed or house you, and there was no “safety net” of any kind. “Medicine” was still largely “holding the patient’s hand until he either recovered or died.” Surgery was infrequent, and one of the reasons why it was infrequent was the fatality rate that accompanied it. Women regularly and frequently died in childbirth, regardless of their economic position, but social classes were about as far apart as they are now, and like the present, the rules were written by and for those with money.

    There’s no evidence that individuals spend their money more wisely and effectively than their government, even when they have the opportunity to do so. If they did, we’d have no need of bankruptcy attorneys or Chapter 11, and every lottery system would fail within weeks because we’d all know the game is rigged and would refuse to play. Humans don’t behave rationally, as many a study has shown, their behavior in many situations is determined far more by emotion than reason. That’s what allows religion to continue to flourish. None of the major religions make even the slightest sense rationally, which is why “faith,” in all its permutations, plays such a prominent role in them.

    In short, the “good ol’ days” of tiny government vanished in the 19th century, and at every level. They won’t be returning until the United States and industrial society go away. My fond hope is that my grandchildren, after normal life spans, still won’t live to see that happen, but you never know.

    In the meantime, and more relevant to Ms. Brucato’s piece, some degree of compromise seems like the appropriate response on both sides of the aisle. We can – and should – ignore the ideologues who begin from the position that government is the enemy, but that still leaves plenty of room for the GOP to behave reasonably, and for the DFL to remember that there are limits to what government can do, and to what people are willing to spend to do it. If the DFL is the “party of government,” then the GOP has turned into the “party of anarchy.” Neither one seems like an especially enviable label.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/23/2015 - 09:51 pm.

      Party of Anarchy

      It seems to me that the “Party of Anarchy” seems inaccurate since the GOP strives for Law and Order, sometimes excessively. Maybe the “Party of Small Government and Increased Personal Responsibility” would be more accurate.

      I agree whole heartedly that some people are irresponsible and/or foolish with their money. I disagree however that it is society’s job to protect them from experiencing the natural consequences of such decisions and actions. Especially when the protection is paid for by taxing those who are making good choices at a higher rate.

      By the way, I know of no one who wants the Total tax rate back at <10%,. However I think 1/3 for society and 2/3 for personal control seems reasonable.

      • Submitted by Bill Willy on 04/24/2015 - 11:14 pm.

        Excessive stiving for Law and Order (sometimes)

        Obviously… I mean just look at all those real estate collapse mortgage fraud guys, big bank execs, rating agency salesmen, hedge fund managers, and derivative and credit default swap savants that got locked up.

        Yes sir… Responsibility + Accountability = Integrity.

  5. Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 04/23/2015 - 07:59 pm.

    Sloppy 2-fold, $36 billion error = unserious

    If a person wishes to be taken seriously, one should have a good grasp of the subject at hand before expressing opinions about that subject.

    At the bare minimum, a person should be expected to:

    1) Read the very beginning of the material linked to
    2) Understand what is read

    In this thread, we see the following claim about Minnesota state government spending:
    “$72 BILLION per year”

    From the link given right after that claim, the headline for the first paragraph is:
    “The Biennial Budget Cycle”

    In case somehow the word “biennial” isn’t crystal clear, the very first sentence of the very first paragraph explains:
    “Minnesota enacts budgets for a two-year cycle (a biennium)”

    Then when it comes to the figure employed, it’s made crystal clear once again by the end of the title to the table that it’s referring to a 2-year period:
    “FY 2014-2015”

    Also, one should understand how rounding works. If one is rounding to the nearest integer, one only rounds up if the number after the decimal is 5 or higher. Otherwise, one is overstating a number to the dishonest benefit of one’s opinion. In this case, the figure is $71.289 billion, when properly rounded is $71 billion, not $72 billion. At the very minimum it is an overstatement of $711 million. But this pales in comparison to how much it was overstated.

    In reality, spending during that biennium from that document’s figure, on the “per year” basis as asserted is $35.6445 billion, or $36 billion when rounding to the nearest integer. So asserting Minnesota state spending is $72 billion overstates it 2-fold, or by $36 billion.

    One can get confused by three different figures, which are also explained in the document linked to. These are the general fund, operating funds, and all funds. All funds is the operating spending plus capital spending. The 2-fold-overstatement “$72 billion” is operating funds, not all funds, as clearly indicated above the table where it says:
    “All Operating Funds”

    To top it off, it is unnecessary to put the word “BILLION” in all caps like that. Doing so is somehow meant to shock some theoretically grossly ignorant individual reading this at MinnPost who would somehow entertain the notion that the state budget is somehow 1,000 times smaller than it actually is. That is, that somehow it’s plausible a modern US state would be spending $13 per person over the course of a year or that state government spending in a $312 billion economy is 0.02% of that economy.

    This is why it’s inadvisable doing a crude search for [Minnesota budget], clicking the first result, then following the first link from that result (as was clearly done in this case), then typing a critical comment before getting the numbers at least within the ballpark of reality.

    In case dividing by 2 is prone to be too difficult a task, the state does one a service by translating the biennal budget outlays into single fiscal year numbers here:

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/23/2015 - 09:31 pm.

      Sorry – My Error

      $72 BILLION per 2 years is a lot of money to spend. I am sure there is opportunity for improved prioritization.

      $36 Billion / 5.5 million ~ $6,545 / person
      $36 Billion / $312 Billion ~ 12%

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 04/23/2015 - 10:54 pm.


      But we’re still saying that spending will increase another 8% or more for the 3rd biennium in a row aren’t we?

      • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 04/24/2015 - 08:46 am.

        Unfortunately that’s what happens

        When govt is ridiculously underfunded for a decade

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/24/2015 - 09:53 am.

          Please Note

          Per Jay’s link. The biennial increases:

          13.5%, 13.0%, 15.4%, 7.3%, 8.4%, 11.0%, 5.9%, 5.9%, 15.2%

          Please remember that inflation during this period has been <3% per year. So even in the most Draconian GOP years, the budget kept increasing at or faster than inflation. And some years at 2+ times the inflation rate.

  6. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/24/2015 - 08:38 am.

    Magical thinking prevails

    I think the most interesting thing about Ms. Brucato’s article is the fact that she has to reach back to Arne Carlson’s administration (Curt Johnson), in order to have a somewhat reasonable conversation about the budget.

    Judging from the comments here and the debates and legislation flowing out of the MN House you just can’t have reasonable discussion with the current conglomeration of republican reactionaries, tea partier’s, and libertarians. The problem isn’t differing priorities, the problem is that on a very basic level republican thinking is simply incoherent. Republicans are literally incapable of following their own “reasoning” to it’s logical conclusions.

    No matter what the budget is, republicans think it should be smaller. No matter what the tax rates are, they think they should be less. They prattle on and about leaving more money in people’s pockets but from an economic standpoint such reasoning is nearly infantile. Nowhere have republicans EVER identified any kind of rational goal. They think taxes and spending are too high but they can’t tell you what their tax and spending targets are. What should the government budget be? What should government revenue be? Their only response is less than whatever it is now, and they can’t explain or justify how less is better because it’s basically magical thinking. Cut taxes and dismantle government and prosperity and growth will just “manifest” itself.

    Republican mentality get even more incoherent when they try to govern. On a basic level they just don’t understand the function and operation of government. They think elections are ideological referendum. They think their role as legislators is to cut taxes and legislate morality and “values”. This is why they keep shutting the government down… they can’t help themselves.

    Listen, this week House Republican’s passed an emergency spending bill to help address the bird flu epidemic that’s devastating turkey farms. Remember, these are supposed to the rural guys, the new champions of equity for rural Minnesotan’s. Well, you know legislation doesn’t become law until it passes BOTH houses and is signed into law by the Governor. So the House passes this bill allocating emergency money for the Dept. of Ag and the Board of Animal Health, but they send it over to the senate with a demand that the senate will simply vote on the house bill without any amendment or modifications. Of course one body cannot tell another body what to do or how to vote so the senate passed IT’S version with some modifications. This means the house has to vote to “concur” with the senate vote in order for the bill to go the Governor. What does the house do? They vote it down. So much for the rural champions. They just don’t get it.

    Meanwhile there isn’t a single successful nation or economy on the planet that is government according the libertarian/republican fantasy. The closest example you can find is Somalia or Bangladesh. The closest thing you can find in US history is the Confederate States… the guys who thought firing on Fort Sumter was a good idea.

    If Brucato thinks that the people who just voted down their own emergency farm legislation because they couldn’t tolerate ANY changes to their bill by the Senate are going to compromise on the budget bill… she’s probably in for a disappointment. Remember, the last time these guys shut the government down they didn’t think that anyone noticed. I don’t mind because this is how the democrats take back the house in 2016. The funny thing is that some republicans know shutting down the government again is political suicide but they just can’t help themselves. It’s like the frog and scorpion.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/24/2015 - 12:22 pm.

      Goal Please

      What is your rational goal for government vs personal spend? (as % of national GDP)

      Mine is 1/3 government and 2/3 personal. Which would mean we would spend far more than Somalia and somewhat less than today.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/24/2015 - 09:14 pm.

        Rational goal?

        Schemes based on GDP percentages of government vs. private spending are economically naive for a multitude of reasons. There’s nothing particularly rational about such “goals”.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/25/2015 - 08:58 am.

          Your Goal

          If you are indifferent regarding how much control you have over what is done with the income you earn and how it is used by and for your family, please give us another SMART goal. In particular I am interested in the Specific & Measureable aspects.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/28/2015 - 08:26 pm.

            The Goal is value

            What do we as a society get for the taxes paid?
            Any good sales person knows its all about value.
            Republicans/Conservatives apparently see less value investing in society they appear not to be trusting of “We the people” type of people.
            Democrats/Progressives apparently see more value investing in society they appear to be trusting of “We the people” type of people.
            We do better alone vs. we do better together?
            JA puts a number on it, notice not a result, just a number, meaning, would you walk away from a deal that gave you 50% more value for only a 15% greater investment?
            Yes, government is an investment, but as with most any investment it has administrative fees.

            Folks think 15 cents a gallon is expensive. Enjoy the Singapore ERP, not to mention a typical $100K permit to buy a car, and fuel prices ~ 2-3x USA. And surprise Singapore is quite a bit of a Right wing autocracy. Lee Kuan Yew was well known for his “social investments” the government literally owns the entire country! JA I’m sure you’ve been to one of the finest cities on the planet, and keep speak first hand about Singapore value. Its all about value.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/29/2015 - 03:40 pm.

              Diminishing Returns

              I believe there is initially a huge societal benefit to citizens giving tax dollars to the government. Unfortunately I think the marginal utility of removing those dollars from the pockets of citizens and putting them into the pockets of government declines as the number increase past some point. In my view, after 33% we start to lose as a society due to this exchange.


              • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/29/2015 - 06:35 pm.


                Come on, you saying you have never been to Singapore?
                Relative to your point about removing $ from pockets, evidently you are OK with a corrupt political system that allows those with wealth and power to “legally” pick the pockets of the not so well to do i.e put them into life long financial servitude? Remember in Adam Smith’s theory, the game wasn’t rigged as it is today!

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/30/2015 - 12:30 pm.

                  No Singapore

                  Just China, South Korea, Japan, Mexico and Europe so far. I go where people manaufacture and/or test vehicles.

                  I guess I don’t see our system as corrupt. There are some benefits of holding capital, and hopefully poor people begin to understand that and begin striving to learn, save and invest. However this requires a lot of disclipline and effort.

    • Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 04/24/2015 - 01:29 pm.

      Paul nails it

      “No matter what the budget is, republicans think it should be smaller. No matter what the tax rates are, they think they should be less.”

      Proven right here.

      The rest of your comment is equally on the mark.

  7. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/25/2015 - 10:09 am.

    Just a note about budget numbers

    Jay W. provided a link to a budget summary that provoked some discussion:

    John Appelen makes the following observation:

    “Per Jay’s link. The biennial increases:

    13.5%, 13.0%, 15.4%, 7.3%, 8.4%, 11.0%, 5.9%, 5.9%, 15.2%”

    John’s numbers are drawn from the wrong column. These numbers are from the: “All Funds” column rather than the: “General Fund” column. If you’re trying to get a handle on the MN tax “burden” you would use the General Fund column. All funds includes a multitude of revenue sources and fees, federal funds etc that don’t reflect state tax revenue. The “all funds” numbers are higher because they include federal stimulus spending, flood relief, etc, but that funding and spending doesn’t all flow out of state tax revenues.

    The General Fund spending numbers on the other hand are much lower, in fact the general fund spending actually dips into negative territory in 2011. The average for the time frame here in the “all funds” column is : 10.6% while the average in the general fund column is: 7.7%

    But really, the thing to keep in mind is the fact that in-and-of themselves these numbers don’t really tell you anything. You may think 14% is an impressive increase in spending but back in the early 70s you’ll see increases in the +40% range. You can’t make any coherent evaluation of government based on spending increase or decrease percentages. These are accounting calculations that simply tell you what you’re spending, they don’t tell you what you should be spending one way or the other. If you’re fighting a war or building a major highway system or education system a 14% may sound impressive unless you need a 50% increase to do the job. There’s no logical or rational “rule” that smaller increases are “better” than larger increases. NOr is there any “ideal” increase percentage. On the contrary in modern economies, impressive economic expansion is typically promoted and accompanied by larger increases in government spending.

    Government is like anything else, the size and mission is decided when you decide what you want your government to do. Size is an incoherent measurement because the government is either doing what you want it to do or it isn’t. And of course if want a government that’s doing what you want, you have to pay for it. Government costs what it costs, you can dictate what you want the government to do, but you can’t dictate the cost. You either pay for government or you don’t. If you don’t, you end up with debt and deficits and a government that’s not doing the things you want it to do. It’s not that complicated. So the question isn’t how much spending increased or decreased in a given time frame; the question is whether or not we paid for those increases. Given the fact that we ran deficits for most of the last decade the answer is simple, we weren’t paying for our government. The US government for instance saw larger government spending increases than any other country on the planet after WWII and we also saw the largest economic expansion. This is because government spending represents an “investment” in public welfare and infrastructure rather a mere “expense” that doesn’t pay off in any meaningful way.

    These pseudo formulas that dictate some kind of “ideal” spending caps for government ignore the fact that government spending is how we invest in our future and protect our investments and resources as a community. Economists typically calculate that for every dollar we pay our in taxes for instance we get $2-$3 back in benefits. And we’re not just talking about section 8 housing, Walmart gets billions in exchange for our food stamp program.

    Now republicans always tell us we have a spending problem and promise to reduce spending but you’ll notice they didn’t deliver on the promise, (they never do) spending still increased at least 7% despite all their budget cutting. They always promise cheaper government but all they ever deliver is budget deficits. We’ve seen this before in the 80s and 90s. The problem republicans have is they basically make up all kinds of assumptions about government “waste” and when they get into power they find that government isn’t anywhere near as wasteful as they assumed it was. If we’re lucky they just cut essential services for the our poorest and most defenseless people. If we’re unlucky in addition to cutting essential services they manage to trigger a recession as well. Sure, they’d always like to cut more but they won’t admit their goal is Bangladesh, and they eventually lose elections because American’s don’t want to live in Bangladesh.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/25/2015 - 07:15 pm.


      “Economists typically calculate that for every dollar we pay our in taxes for instance we get $2-$3 back in benefits.”

      Based on this we should be paying in 100% of our personal earnings, though I am still looking for the $90K check back from the government to make up for that $30,000 I sent them. The reality is that you have no tax/spend goal, you simply are happy to keep letting government control grow and taxing people with money to cover the costs incurred. I don’t think that counts as a plan or goal.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/27/2015 - 09:03 am.

        One more time…

        You don’t start with an arbitrary goal arrived at via pseudo spending formulas and work backwards. That’s not how government and civilization work. Just because you don’t get a benefit check, doesn’t mean you get no benefits. Government costs what it costs, and the cost is not going down, or remaining flat.

      • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 04/27/2015 - 09:12 am.

        Not rational

        Benefits does not equal income. The benefits you get back are increased in value because your individual purchasing power does not come even remotely close to comparing to the pooled dollars of a tax base. It’s like buying in bulk, but a lot more money efficient.

        It makes me chuckle that individuals who espouse “efficient” spending believe that their individual dollar is efficient. Egad. Even billionaires’ dollars are pretty inefficient because they simply don’t buy enough to get bulk savings. But, as individuals, they don’t care because their money gets them money gets them money gets them money at that point, so they can be as inefficient as they want (get a yacht! It’s the most inefficient way to spend it!) If, in fact, you want dollars to be efficient, you would be logically opposed to the uber rich. Oddly, as a liberal, I don’t give a rip if the uber rich exist as long as they contribute appropriately to the society that has allowed them to be so inefficient with so much wealth. Money that isn’t used drags the economy, so more of the money should be put back into circulation.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/27/2015 - 11:15 am.


          Hi Rachel,
          I think you have some paradigms that are very incorrect. From this comment, it seems that you believe the “Uber Rich” bury their money in their mattress. When in reality most of their money is invested in the companies that we work at and this capital allows our companies to invest in equipment, research and development, etc, thus keeping us employed. People do not become Uber Rich by letting their money sit idle.

          “Money that isn’t used drags the economy, so more of the money should be put back into circulation.”

          Then you criticize their choices when they spend what they earned. Do you think that yacht just showed up at their dock one day? It likely employeed hundreds or people during it’s development, production and transport.

          Do you really want a group of people deciding what you should spend your money on? No more art, nick nacks, starbucks, etc because they are inefficient.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/28/2015 - 10:14 am.

            Is it any surprise that the US companies that are sitting on the biggest piles of stagnant capital are run by leftists?

            Google, Apple, Facebook & their ilk all have huge cash reserves, just sitting in banks. Maybe it’s they that Rachel is talking about.

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/28/2015 - 08:35 pm.

              So are lefty:

              Job value creating companies bad people?
              Your point is? All companies should be right wing conservative promoting entities like the Koch brothers?

              • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/29/2015 - 08:44 am.

                Just pointing out the facts. I have no idea why lefty run companies are hoarding cash. I don’t really care, but judging from her comment, it appears Rachel doesn’t approve of hoarding.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/29/2015 - 12:09 pm.


              From Finance class, how much cash a company holds was relative to the amount of cash flow risk they may incur.

              General Mills carried almost no cash because people buy cereal no matter what happens in the stock market. R&D / Growth firms carry large sums of cash to insure they stay solvent if things go wrong, and so that they are ready to buy companies that fit their plan.

              The reality is that even their CASH is likely in Bonds, Money Funds, etc, not under their mattress.

  8. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/25/2015 - 10:31 am.

    And the other thing…

    When it comes to government spending, as someone already pointed out, when you suppress spending it catches up to you in a variety of ways. Regardless of the actual increase or decrease, if you don’t spend enough you pile up a backlog that just keeps accumulating. That’s what keeps happening with republican transportation budgets for instance. In worse case scenarios things blow up, or collapse, or flood, etc. and not do people actually get hurt but in addition to making up for deficient past spending you now have to pay for an otherwise avoidable catastrophe. Again, this isn’t just “spending”, this is how we maintain and improve our civilization.

  9. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/26/2015 - 06:47 am.

    Health care

    I think I forgot to mention this article seems to miss one of the two very large elephants in the room, which is health care. Essentially state government pays for two things, education and health care. You can’t meaningfully deal macro government costs with addressing both, and it’s rising health care costs that’s driving budgetary costs. While Mr. Johnson puts a nice, Chamber of Commerce face on things, rising health care costs are why we find it difficult to even keep pace with inflation in education funding, why it’s necessary for Republicans to destabilize transporting financing, and that it’s people who are sick and elderly who will finance those tax cuts, that the DFL is asked to cave in on in order for the legislature to go home on time.

  10. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/26/2015 - 11:39 am.

    What’s for dinner?

    All this does sort of remind me of what a friend of mine likes to say: “If you are not at the table, you are on the menu.” It appears, at least, that for Mr. Johnson, health care is on the menu tonight, and many of us although by no means most of us, will be living on the leftovers for a while.

  11. Submitted by Bill Willy on 04/26/2015 - 01:08 pm.

    Somebody help me here, please!

    Speaking of incoherent (great word and way to describe the situation, Paul, along with the other part of that, “Can’t help themselves”), I’m having an moment right now that’s making ME feel incoherent.

    I’m trying to keep track of a couple things, see what I can find out about the (supposed) reality of whatever seems to be going on in the House and, in this case, have been searching the web for some set of accurate as possible numbers related to the amount of money House Republicans are proposing to spend this year: Their ovearall “budget”; their “targets” (which may or may not be the same thing, but I seem to think they are – please let me know if that assumption’s incorrect and what the difference between “budget” and “targets” is).

    It’s amazing to me how difficult it is to find a straightforward listing, or simple, regularly updated spreadsheet-like listing and total or each involved party’s budget. It probably exists somewhere obvious that I’m missing, but so far this is the closest thing to that I’ve been able to find, and it is the source of the incoherence moment I’m suffering. Please take a look at this and tell me what it seems to add up to to you…

    First, there was this from the House Information Services web site on March 24, 2015.


    Committee leaders can now begin crafting omnibus finance bills, with the House Ways and Means Committee’s approval late Tuesday of a budget resolution with spending targets for the 2016-17 biennium.

    Sponsored by Rep. Jim Knoblach (R-St. Cloud), the budget resolution sets a maximum limit on net spending at $42.58 billion.

    The targets announced for each fiscal committee (with some tweaks from figures announced during a Tuesday morning press conference):

    E-12 education: $16.87 billion
    Health and human services: $11.62 billion
    Taxes: $5.63 billion
    Higher education: $2.95 billion
    Public safety: $2.08 billion
    Capital projects and grants: $1.52 billion
    State government finance: $902.64 million
    Jobs and economic development: $330.9 million
    Environment: $231 million
    Transportation: $361 million
    Agriculture: $91.16 million

    Within those targets, Knoblach said he expected to see $2 billion in tax relief and an $800 million bonding bill next year. DFLers asked if he had expectations for other spending areas; Knoblach said no.

    In addition to the spending targets, the Republican-proposed budget would put $100 million in the state’s rainy-day fund. It would also set aside $319 million as “yet-to-be-allocated” funds

    [end quote]

    The next day, March 25th, Kurt Daubt, Jim Knoblach, etc., announced their $39.9 billion spending proposal (their budget) and the $2 billion, “Give it all back,” tax cut.

    So okay… So far, so good (sort of). The basic way I read all that is Republicans were saying on March 24th and 25th that they would be spending $41.9 billion dollars on the $39.9 in direct spending and $2 billion in tax cuts.

    I’m assuming Republicans are viewing the proposed tax cut as spending (which seems like a new acknowledgement, as in, “Yes. We agree. A tax cut really is spending”) because of what Jim Knoblach said on the 24th:

    – the budget resolution sets a maximum limit on net spending at $42.58 billion; and

    – he expected to see $2 billion in tax relief within those targets.

    (And just a quick side note, it probably ought to be noted that the Governor’s budget total is $42 billion which means the March 25th Republican proposal was $100 million less than his.)

    Now… Here’s the point where I started to feel the first symptoms of the bout of incoherentness I’m currently experiencing: For some reason, Jim Knoblach’s $42.58 billion limit caught my mind and made me look at the list of targets again.

    And that made me copy that list off the screen, open Excel, and paste it into a spreadsheet that turned out to say this:

    (All numbers are billions)

    E-12 education: 16.870
    Health and human services: 11.620
    Taxes: 5.630
    Higher education:2.950
    Public safety 2.080
    Capital projects and grants 1.520
    State government finance .903
    Jobs and economic development .331
    Environment .231
    Transportation .361
    Agriculture .912

    Sub total 1 43.408

    Rainy Day Fund .100
    yet-to-be-allocated .319

    Sub total 2 .419

    Total 43.827

    At the time, Democrats kept saying, “The Republican’s numbers just don’t add up,” and even though I tended to believe that in the general sense, the above seems to be a literal example of that happening with the very numbers the Republicans themselves were simultaneous publishing and explaining in press releases and a televised press conference.

    Jim Knoblach again: “The budget resolution sets a maximum limit on net spending at $42.58 billion.”

    Yet, when the numbers on the very list he was talking about are added up, the total for K-12 Education through Agriculture (sub total 1) is almost $1 billion more than what he just said the maximum limit would be. And, when the “rainy day” and “yet-to-be-allocated” is added, it seems the $43.827 billion total is more than a billion over his own maximum number.

    And he was standing right there in front of a poster board replica of the list above, saying what he said above. And the numbers on the poster board he was pointing to literally didn’t add up.

    And it wasn’t like some other committee or person put those numbers together. It was his Ways and Means Committee and, presumably, himself, that did it. Or a person would think, at least reviewed them before “going public.”

    Call me a low-information uninformed voter, or just another idiot that doesn’t know how to make an electronic spreadsheet work right, but, to me, the above is at least a little bizarre.

    And that’s why I’m asking for your help. I feel almost sure there must be something I’m being stupid about… Some wrong or missing number, some mistake I made, something I just plain don’t get.

    I mean, even if those numbers are correct, there are still much bigger, probably more important examples of the incoherence Paul pointed out that I’d like to take a closer look at (instead of messing around with what is now old news and water under the Republican budget increases bridge), but I’m wondering why, if I’m not mistaken, no one in the media – no one in the room where the press conference was being held, no one on the editorial or “fact checking” staff at House Information services, no one at the Star, Pioneer Press, MPR, MinnPost or anywhere else I’m aware of looked at something simple as that list of targets close enough to catch Jim Knoblach’s substantial mistake and subsequent misstatement of “the fiscal facts” to the public.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/27/2015 - 09:07 am.


      You’re doing a lot of work here. All I can say is republican’s haven’t finished all their budget work yet. Once they get done with all their ant-abortion and gun “rights” legislation they promise to get right on it.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/27/2015 - 09:29 am.

    See, this is the thing:

    John says:
    “you simply are happy to keep letting government control grow and taxing people with money to cover the costs incurred. ”

    Time after time what you find with these arguments is the simple fact that the people behind them just don’t understand on a basic level how their government actually works. Frankly the fact that some of the people making these arguments are elected to run the government is kind of spooky on ocassion.

    Government “control” is in liberal democracies is dictated by legislation passed by elected officials. Control doesn’t just “grow” without our consent or beyond our control. Libertarian’s for instance just don’t get that on basic level. Laws don’t manifest themselves, they are written and voted on by human beings.

    You don’t control the government with pseudo spending formulas and tax rates, you control the government by voting and enforcing the law. A lot of conservatives just don’t get this because on very fundamental level they don’t actually believe in democracy. They don’t trust the democratic process.

    Government “control” is limited in liberal democracies by checks and balances and various legal rights that the government is obligated to enforce, and legal systems uphold. It’s not a perfect system but you’ll notice that none of our liberal democracies are totalitarian states. We have our moments but the historical trend is anti-totalitarian. Yes, freedom requires vigilance, but libertarians and republicans don’t promote vigilance, they promote hysteria based on civic ignorance. And then they shut the government down and wreak fiscal havoc on budgets.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/27/2015 - 09:57 am.

    Again, it’s just incoherent

    You see this weird scheme emerge from Libertarian’s and Republicans over and over again: they think they control costs by limiting revenue. Frankly it’s bizarre for two basic reasons.

    First, stuff costs what it costs regardless of your income or revenue. You can’t control your rent by limiting your income for instance. Using that logic we could make our world more affordable and efficient by earning less money. Not only is that proposition absurd, but it’s contrary to the republican dream of wealth and affluence.

    Second, it’s the typical conservative impulse to govern by discipline, as if the government is behaving badly by costing so much and we’re going to discipline it into behaving by cutting it’s funding. Kind of like dialing back a kids allowance to reach them a lesson. Of course the problem is that the government isn’t doing anything wrong when it builds roads, educates children, and provides welfare assistance to qualified recipients. The government’s not doing anything wrong, it’s doing exactly what we tell it to do. Republican confusion about this is constantly on display. The other day Walker visited from Wisc. and one of the republican lawmakers complained that in MN our government spends every dime it takes in. Well, that’s exactly what government is supposed to do. When we give the government money for roads and education they’re supposed to spend that money on roads and education. The expectation that they’d do something else with the money is actually bizarre. But there you have it… republicans. It’s magical thinking and it never controls cost it just creates deficits and hurts people who need the government services you’re eliminating.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/27/2015 - 11:36 am.

      Thankfully you are not running the business that employees me, we would be bankrupt soon. What I am reading is that you believe we should determine the roles, scope and responsibilities of government with no regards to the trade offs, costs, efficiencies, effectiveness, etc. Just let government grow without bounds and then pay whatever it charges.

      Regarding the goals of the GOP vs those of the DFL, the DFL seems to think somewhat like you do. Let’s increase the roles, scope and responsibilities of government and then find the money to pay for it. Even if it means each citizen will have less of their paycheck available to spend as they wish.

      Whereas the GOP wants to constrain the cost of government within reasonable limits and maximize the money that individuals are free to spend as they wish. This then promotes that the politicians and bureaucrats work harder to find ways to improve the efficiencies and effectiveness of the services they are responsible for providing, and it forces them to prioritize carefully.

      On the upside, you are correct that we the citizens do get to choose what we get and what we pay for it. I am hoping most citizens vote for a small effective efficient government so that they have more more money to spend as they choose, not as the collective chooses.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/28/2015 - 08:11 am.

        Misreading is a form of reading I suppose

        “What I am reading is that you believe we should determine the roles, scope and responsibilities of government with no regards to the trade offs, costs, efficiencies, effectiveness, etc. ”

        John, you can watch our legislators pass laws on TV if you want, TPT televises it. We don’t pass laws regardless of cost and effectiveness etc. In fact, most bill proposals require something called a “fiscal note” that describes the cost of a law and it’s impact on the budget. Some bills pass, most don’t.

        We pass and repeal laws all the time because they work or don’t work. This notion of a government that grows without bounds is a conservative fantasy that ignores the nature of democracy and the reality of governance in a liberal democracy. You may think a spending formula you found on a website is a better way of controlling and running our government, but most of us want to stick with the Constitution.

        As for employers, if you think an employer who believes in paying the bills is more likely to put you out of work than an employer who thinks they can control costs by making less money, all I can say is it’s a good thing you’re not self employed.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/29/2015 - 03:46 pm.


          There are 2 ways to ensure one can pay their bills:
          1. Buy fewer services and / or products.
          2. Generate additional funds.

          We are in agreement if you believe that it is fine to do either. As far as I can tell no one is saying we should not pay our bills, they are saying we should buy / provide less. Or we need to promote effectiveness gains so that we can buy /provide the same for less cost. Just like private firms do every day.

  14. Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 04/27/2015 - 03:25 pm.

    17/45 > 1/3

    We’re really exceeding the ideal level now.

  15. Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 04/28/2015 - 01:05 pm.

    The most successful capitalists in the US are leftists?

    That’s an interesting admission.

    Also, I’m looking for Google and Facebook in this list. Can’t seem to find them. I see the right-wing GE on the top of the cash-hoarding list, however.

    I guess to some people “leftists” are all generic, like the name “John Smith” or something.

  16. Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 04/28/2015 - 04:53 pm.

    Dear world: Apple is not a successful company

    Nor is GE, Google, or Facebook. You heard it here.

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/29/2015 - 08:40 am.

      You’re having a tough time comprehending this, I understand. Let’s see if I can help.

      GE is using its cash reserve to expand the company through strategic aquisitions. It’s how most of the very largest and successful companies grow. They are putting their capital to work.

      Lefty tech companies appear to be simply sitting on piles of cash, in the case of Facebook and Google, almost all of which came from the increase in stock price, not products.

      The lefty CEO’s are undeniably wealthy, but (excepting Apple) their companies exist at the whim of stock brokers, consumers are bit players in their business plans. They appear to be sitting on piles of hoarded cash, doing nothing.

      Personally, I don’t care. It’s their cash, they can do what they want with it. It’s the leftist readership that is up in arms.

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/29/2015 - 08:49 am.

      GE isn’t letting mold grow on its capital, they are growing

      Prudent financial management has kept them in business for over 100 years.

      I have no clue what Google and Facebook are doing, but reinvesting doesn’t appear to be something they’re interested in.

      Hope that helps your understanding.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/29/2015 - 07:08 pm.

        According to Forbes

        1. Questcor (Calif)
        2. HCI GRoup (FL)
        3. On Assignment (Calif)
        4. Patrick Industries (Ind)
        5. Kodiak Oil & Gas (Col)
        6. United Rentals (Conn)
        7. American Rail CAr (Mo)
        8. Ocwen Financial (Ga)
        9. Virtus Investment (Conn)
        10. CalAmp (Cal)

        The small print: a $10M company only has to add $10M to double its revenue. A $10B, has to add $10B to double its revenue.
        1. When making the statement of growing/mold grow on capital one must set some parameters.
        2. Warren Buffet/Berkshire is sitting on ~ $55B capital w/mold growing on it, does that make him/them bad investors?

  17. Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 04/29/2015 - 09:27 am.

    The health observation

    Many assume some sick will inevitably fail to invest some assets, requiring everyone to assist.

    Reality dictates everyone does things requiring others’ limited leverage.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/29/2015 - 10:13 am.


    Wealthy liberal’s and companies run by liberal’s are hoarding cash and doing it more than conservatives? That’s one of the more bizarre claims I’ve seen in a long time.

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