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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Katherine Kersten's Korner

Why can't she take a day off? Why can't she write about cute puppies or something equally non-controversial? But no, she has been on a hot streak lately, writing tedious kolumn after kolumn. She continues her streak today, subbing as Governor Pawlenty's press writer and ranting about the proposal by some wealthy Minnesotans to increase taxes on the top earners in the state to pay for government programs.

Wingnuttia Level: 10 (She's gonna blow!)

There is hardly a need to rehash her comments, which are basically the same as what Governor Pawlenty made: the ad writers are out of touch, they should feel free to write their own checks to the state, they are limousine liberals, etc. The Republican Noise Machine settled on a message for this issue quickly, and everybody in on board.

"The Gang of 200 seems badly out of touch with ordinary Minnesotans." Really? Did you notice, Kersten, that recenly MnDOT had to shelve plans to start rebuilding the Crosstown Commons because the state has no money and no contractors would pay out of their own pocket to cover the shortfall? Do you think that ordinary Minnesotans are happy that this huge bottleneck is not going to be fixed yet again? Did you notice, Kersten, that Governor Pawlenty had to recently ask Minnesota businesses to provide IT experts for free to the state because we have no money? Does this ring a bell to you?

"What programs would these additional dollars support? Education, health care, transportation -- the sorts of government endeavors that have proven capable of swallowing whatever resources we throw at them, no matter how massive." How nice of her to think this. I have a different view: that these "endeavors" as she puts them have real benefits are state spending is nowhere close to being excessive. More transportation money won't go down the black hole, they will pay to expand roads and transit, reducing congestion, reducing pollution, and helping our economy. Education spending will reduce the number of those 30- or 35-kid classrooms in schools around the state. Spending money on health care will get more people insurance, so that they aren't a drag on our local governments when they use the emergency room, they only health care they have if they don't have insurance.

Finally, Kersten, take a long, hard look at this graph:

You'll notice that the middle class in this state pays about 12% of their income in combined state and local taxes. You'll also notice that the people at the very right pay less than 9% of their income in combined state and local taxes. The signers of the ad want to increase income taxes by two percentage points on the top earners in the state. Do you see a connection here, or do you believe that the wealthiest people in this state should pay less than the middle class?

Here's what Kersten is really saying: it's okay for the richest people in Minnesota to pay less in taxes than the middle class. And since education, health care, and transportation swallow whatever resources we throw at them, why bother spending money on them at all? This is the Republican vision for the state. Now who is out of touch with ordinary Minnesotans?


At 2:23 PM, June 27, 2006, Blogger Da Man said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:10 PM, June 27, 2006, Blogger Da Man said...

I'm not sure there's a charity for improving transportation...

There sure are. In my town, there are charities that operate shuttles for the elderly, handicapped and people who don't drive (www.paratransit.org). There are also charities that sponsor ride-sharing (www.erideshare.com), road maintenance and clean-up, and bridge maintanance.

So the Growth and Justice group have plenty of charities to work with, in virually every field imaginable, including transportation! I would hope that these 200 rich people put their money to good work in their Minnesota neighborhoods rather than letting it burn a hole in their pockets.


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