Category Archives: Economy

Minnesota and Wisconsin, Apples to Apples in business, apparently not to The Chamber

Here is an interesting little fact for you to chew on.  The US Chamber of Commerce ranked the business climate in Minnesota a 40, while they ranked the business climate in Wisconsin a 39.  So Wisconsin scored one point better than Minnesota, but what’s interesting is that in every single category, except for one, Minnesota earned significantly higher scores than Wisconsin.

For example, although Minnesota ranked 40th in the US for “Business Climate” according to the Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota’s overall performance rating was 15th, while Wisconsin’s was 44th.  And we are not talking golf scoring here.  So how does Minnesota’s overall business ranking that is 29 spots higher than Wisconsin create a push when it comes to business climate?

Here are other statistics: The Chamber ranked Minnesota 6th in the nation on established infrastructure.  Wisconsin ranked 17th.  In the rating of a pipeline for educated young adults, Minnesota also ranked 6th, and had the second ranking of educated young adults, and the 4th ranking of young adult productivity.  Wisconsin ranked 14th.  In innovation and entrepreneurial ratings, Minnesota ranked 27 and Wisconsin ranked 41.  In every category they ranked, Minnesota outshined Wisconsin except for exports, which ranked Wisconsin 9 places ahead of Minnesota, must be the cows…

So why is it that Republican politicians use business climate to compare say, Minnesota and South Dakota?  Just so you know, South Dakota ranks first in Business Climate, even though most of their rankings are in the 30s and 40s, and North Dakota ranks 1st in performance, but in the upper-mid and mid-levels in everything else.

How is it possible?  What the heck is business climate?  I looked at the Forbes annual business rankings from December 2012.  Minnesota outscored Wisconsin in every category except Environmental Regulation, and personally, I like environmental regulations.  I like seeing bald eagles every day, drinking clean water, and fishing in lakes that seem to get clearer every year.

Is business climate even a real thing?  Do they use business climate, but in reality, they mean temperature?  Because Wisconsin and Minnesota are pretty close there, but it isn’t even close economically right now.

A couple final statistics to ponder, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists Minnesota as growing .1%-.5% and Wisconsin shrinking (-.1%)-(-.5%).  The Federal Reserve Economic Outlook from May 2013 ranks Wisconsin 42nd and Minnesota 19th.  The funniest thing to me is that Oregon, a bluer state than Minnesota is now ranked ahead of Utah, and Massachusetts has moved back into the top ten.  The consolation for Wisconsinites is that Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana, which have been “right-to-work” states for decades, I’m just sayin’, are still ranked lower than Wisconsin.

So tell us all you Sconies and Minnesota’s Republicans who cheered and danced at Gov. Scott Walker’s plans and actions, and cried and worried at Mark Dayton’s plans, how’s all that there working for ya?

Wisconsin with a Republican Governor, Republican House, Republican Senate, and let’s be honest, a Republican State Supreme Court, is dropping like a rock economically.  While Minnesota, with a DFL Governor, a DFL House and a DFL Senate (and a nonpartisan Supreme Court,) is rising up the rankings.  I just hope that Minnesotans don’t forget in 2014 what happened under Gov. Pawlenty, and what it was like with a Republican controlled legislature, and I hope we don’t ignore the lessons we are learning from Wisconsin.  You can’t compare the Dakota’s and Minnesota, it is apples and oranges.  But, you can certainly compare Wisconsin and Minnesota, it’s apples to apples in terms of almost everything, except for maybe alcohol consumption.

Elect Democrats in 2014!  Promises Made + Promises Kept = Progress.  Let’s keep moving forward!

Step 1: Raise the debt ceiling. Step 2: Cut spending. It doesn’t work the other way.

So I called up my bank today and told them, “we have a spending problem here, and we need to do something about it.”  I told them, “my credit card is maxed, my spending is out of control, I mean look at my statement, $29 at Panda Express, $45 at Holiday, $20 bucks for a haircut?  Unless the bank does something about my spending problem, I am not going to be paying my mortgage or my Visa bill anymore.”

Silence.

Sounds pretty ridiculous doesn’t it?  But that is exactly what Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are doing about the debt ceiling.  The debt ceiling isn’t for future spending, it is for past spending.  Congress has already agreed to spend that money, and now Republicans are basically calling up taxpayers and saying, Congress has a spending problem, and the only way we can do anything about it is to become deadbeats and do what Donald Trump keeps doing and just quit paying the bills.  Sounds pretty ridiculous doesn’t it?

Here’s how you fix it.  Step one: raise the debt ceiling to account for what you have already spent.  Step two: cut future spending so you don’t have to worry about the debt ceiling anymore.  Hello? McFLy??

It isn’t that difficult.  Well maybe you need a step 1-1/2, get corporate money out of politics so politicians don’t spend money on crap to keep donors happy.

GOP taking undeserved credit for a temporary surplus? What about the looming deficit?

It is funny that Republicans are taking credit for a surplus — a surplus that is almost guaranteed to quickly turn into a deficit within a year — when the surplus is largely related to what Democrats did here in the state, and to President Obama’s Health Care reform pushed through by Democrats in 2010.

State Rep. Tina Liebling recently wrote a Letter to the Editor in Rochester that pointed out that almost all of the surplus is a result either the budget passed by the DFL controlled house and senate before the current crop of “no-it-alls” were elected, or by savings in Health and Human Service costs thanks to the federal health care reforms enacted by President Obama and Democrats, including Senators Klobuchar and Franken. 

Since Republicans are so quick to take credit for the short-term surplus, I assume they will gladly take credit when a big deficit looms again next year since the new crop of “no-it-all” Republicans wouldn’t compromise this year?  Let’s hold them to that when it happens.  They are taking undeserved credit for the surplus, let’s give them the credit they deserve for the deficit.

Biggest lie in politics right now: Millionaires and billionaires are job creators.

Biggest lie in politics right now:  Millionaires and billionaires are job creators.

The Truth: You and I making less than $100K are the job creators because we create jobs by spending almost all (if not all) the money we take home.  There is no job creation unless there is a demand for product.

A $5000 tax cut to a millionaire does not create more product demand.  Millionaires already have more than enough money to spend.  But if I get $300 extra in cash, every cent of it leaves my possession.  Some of it will go to the Kowalski family, some of it will go to Target, some of it will go to my church, some of it might go to Best Buy, maybe a movie theater and local restaurant.  All of it is profit to the location I deliver it.

$5000 in tax cuts to a millionaire or billionaire is nothing more than additional profit and investment cash.  A tax cut for the wealthy does not create more demand.  You and I having cash in our pockets to spend creates product demand.  You and I having cash in our pockets to spend creates jobs.  You and I are the job creators.

Republicans may not care about the shutdown, but people with a conscience do

I predicted this would happen.  I said the shutdown would last a week or so and Republicans would start saying something to the effect that government is obviously not that big of a deal because most people are not feeling the effect.  It is the exact same reason Republicans will be able to take away people’s right to vote with a Voter ID Bill.  Because it does not affect a majority of people. 

The problem is that it is affecting people, and it is affecting them significantly.  It is obviously affecting people who receive benefits from the state to live and work, and it is obviously affecting the people that work to keep our state running and as great as it can be.  But that is a minority of people, and the people living in wealthy suburbs don’t have to deal with them on a daily basis.  Republicans have such contempt for people who can’t take care of themselves, never mind the circumstances.  And Republicans in Lakeville, Prior Lake and Eagan don’t really care about the fishing resort in Northern Minnesota who are losing guests from out of state because people can’t buy fishing licenses. 

Yeah, the Republicans are saying people don’t really care that the government is shutdown, but I’m saying even though it isn’t affecting me right now, I care.  And if Republicans cannot agree to cuts in government and tax increases on 7,700 people that make over one million dollars (that is $1,000,000.00, a one with six zeros after it) a year, then I say to hell with them.  What’s the point of trying to compromise?  Let’s just go back to the pioneer days of dirt roads and side arms.

This is hurting the state, it is hurting the economy, and it is hurting Minnesotans, even if you sit in your air conditioned family room watching cable news and eating the caviar you so richly deserve because you have proven you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps.  Thanks for working towards making Minnesota suck as a place to live.  Thanks for working to ruin everything that makes Minnesota better than every state around us.

A low tax on the rich does not make a state great.  Low government spending does not make a state great.  Highly educated people that come from great public schools and top notch universities make a state great.  Beautiful parks and clean lakes that draw visitors from around the country, and allow those of us to live here to enjoy weekend recreation make a state great.  The best healthcare and the ability to stay active and healthy make a state great.  Diversity in people, jobs and activities, cities and farms, open spaces and community gathering spots make a state great.  And the absence of extremist politics makes a state great.  How are the Republicans going to get any of that by spending less and making a few people richer?  People invested in making this state what it is.  Are we going to throw it away because a minority of people who are politically active and currently in power think the rest of us are worthless?

Seriously, let me know if you want to throw it all away…