Tag Archives: Whine and Waste Republicans

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.

Pat Garofalo and Per Diem – A fiscal hawk or a selfish take what I can politician?

Those of us who live in Farmington, are sure lucky to have such a fiscal hawk in Minnesota state House member Pat Garofalo representing us. Remember back in May 2011 when he said he was refusing to collect his per diem during the government shutdown because he said:

“Not getting a budget agreement with the governor shouldn’t turn into a financial windfall for legislators.”

See? That’s what I am talking about. He is absolutely standing up to his principles of helping to personally correct the state’s budget problems by doing everything he can, no matter how small, to protect the finances of Minnesota taxpayers.

Pat Garofalo 2012 - 2It’s funny, did you know House legislators get paid a per diem of $66 per day of work, on top of the $31,140 in taxpayer paid salary they make for a part-time job. It makes me wonder, with only a 25 mile commute to the Capitol compared to other legislators who have to spend the night in St Paul, Pat Garofalo must receive one of the lowest per diems in the Minnesota House.

Let’s see let’s look at the numbers… Here it is in 2012… Pat Garofalo only received $11,418 in per diem. See that’s not – WHAT!?! ELEVEN THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTEEN DOLLARS!?! That is the most in the house, and about $1,500 more than the second highest per diem taker.

I don’t understand. I thought…

Well, at least he isn’t the highest per diem taker overall. Republican Senator David Senjem took $11,438 in per diem. Wait. Wasn’t David Senjem the Majority Leader? He must have worked a lot more than Pat Garofalo. And he only took $20 more than Pat!?! What’s that you say? Senate member receive a 30% higher per diem than House members? That means in House dollars, David Senjem’s per diem would have been only about $8800.

This just doesn’t make sense. I thought Pat Garofalo was a fiscal hawk. But he took 15% more in per diem than the next closest member, and he doesn’t even need an apartment.

This is very distressing. Well I guess we can be glad that his salary is only $31,140, so his pension doesn’t include his per diem. I mean that would be wrong if in private business, an employer was forced to contribute to a 401(k) for the employee’s expense reimbursements.

WHAT!?! FOR LEGISLATORS THEIR PENSION INCLUDES THE COST OF THEIR EXPENSES!?! SO HE GETS ANOTHER $1,700 IN PENSION ABOVE HIS TAXPAYER FUNDED PAY OF $42,558 FOR A PART-TIME JOB!?!

Funny thing is, Pat Garofalo initially said he was retiring for the legislature last session. He probably figured since he was retiring, he might as well take everything he can from the taxpayers to get his just reward for his services, including a fatter pension. The only thing this proves is that Pat Garofalo is in politics for himself. In third-world countries, people become politicians and police to get ahead and take what they can for their selfish benefit. It is pretty sad that Pat Garofalo is treating Minnesotans, and more specifically his neighbors, with the respect of a third-world dishonest politician.

Hello Jason Lewis?? Dirty Tactics?? Your blaming the wrong side.

How absurd is Jason Lewis?  He wrote an opinion piece for the StarTribune this weekend titled “Voter ID foes fought dirty to get a win.”  A more apropos title might be Voter ID defeated despite dirty political tactics of conservatives to get it on the ballot.

Jason Lewis is a whiner, and I am already sick of conservatives who two years ago told Democrats to stop crying about elections — that the voters will was done.  But this year, are blaming the amendments (placed on the ballot by Republicans,) blaming independents, blaming the Independence Party, blaming Kurt Bills and Mitt Romney. In the words of Ann Romney, stop it!

And this argument of dirty tactics? RUBBISH! You know what dirty tactics are? Placing an amendment on the ballot to drive voters to the polls because you know you can’t win without it.  Another dirty tactic, changing laws to make it harder to vote, not easier.  That is dirty.  How about what one Farmington Republican told me: at least if the marriage amendment is on the ballot, liberals will spend all their money to defend gays and a Voter ID bill will pass easily, which only helps Republicans in the future. Has Brodkorb enlightened us on that tactic yet?  Was that rationalization his own, or did he get that idea from his state Senator, Dave Thomspon, who helped craft the ballot language on one and authored the other?  How slimy.

Two years ago all we heard was that elections have consequences.  Well elections have consequences still.  Do you know what else has consequences?  How you govern, how fairly you treat people, how you solve problems (can you say Republican government shutdown,) and how little you get done in the legislature.  2010 was a lucky break for Republicans because of Obamacare and the economy. 2012 was a realization that dirty politics, divisiveness, and gridlock come from one party far more than the other.

Chip Cravaack’s entire common-sense government frugality mantra is a lie

Two congressmen from Minnesota lease cars at taxpayer expense, Collin Peterson and Chip Cravaack.  Rep. Peterson leases two Ford Focuses, spending $652 a month in taxpayer money for his staff to use cars to travel the district.  Rep. Cravaack spends about $1,000 a month in taxpayer money for a Chevy Equinox.  It is “about $1,000” because even though the most recent report lists the car $1,700, a Cravaack spokesperson said that figure included lease startup costs so the true costs will be about $1,000 every month in taxpayer money.

It seems just a little bit hypocritical that Chip Cravaack who said “Congress must learn to do what families in Minnesota do every day, live within our means,” is the same Chip Cravaack who has a $1,000 a month car lease that very few Minnesotan families could afford, but who are still the taxpayers paying for his high lease when he is supposedly concerned about government living within its means. 

It also seems just a little bit hypocritical that the Chip Cravaack who has been painting a grim picture of the consequences of current government spending, who said at a May town hall meeting that if spending doesn’t change, the U.S. will end up facing the same economic issues as Greece and Portugal, is the same Chip Cravaack who is spending $1,000 a month in taxpayer money on a car lease, when he thinks government spending needs to change.

And I guess it seems still just a little bit more hypocritical that the Chip Cravaack who thinks the U.S. is so broke that we can’t afford to continue to fund something so basic, and crucial to our wellbeing as a nation like funding Medicare and Social Security, is the same Chip Cravaack that thinks it is different to spend $1,000 a month in taxpayer money on a Chevy Equinox SUV so his staff has a safe, roomy and reliable car to travel around the district in.  Did I mention at taxpayer expense?  That means government spending. 

In fact, Chip Cravaack’s entire common-sense government frugality mantra is nothing more than a lie to get voter’s who may not be paying really close attention to support him.  He and practically every other Republican don’t have an answer for what to cut or how to solve our financial problems.  They have a darn good slogan though.  It seems like the only money saving ideas they have are to cut services and benefits in the country as long as those services and benefits don’t affect their own services and benefits.  So they cut Medicare, Social Security, education, worker’s rights, gay rights, women’s rights, child labor laws, clean air laws, clean water laws and every other line item as long as it does not reduce their livelihood coming from big business, big oil, financial markets and military spending.

Here’s an idea Rep. Cravaack.  You could have gotten three of Collin Peterson’s Ford Focuses for $978, had your staff running around your district like hamsters in a habitrail, and still saved taxpayers $22 a month.  That’s a start toward changing government spending.  Here’s another idea, stop spending $15 billion a month on wars and let those countries govern themselves.

Who is the adult? Governor Dayton who is willing to compromise or the GOP (Greedy Old Party)?

In the “you have got to be kidding me” political world that we unfortunately seem to be living in right now, Republican leaders and right-wing bloggers are attacking Governor Mark Dayton for saying he is willing to compromise on the budget.  He is willing to go halfsies!  $1.8 billion in raised taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Minnesotans and $1.8 billion in Republican tax cuts.  That seems like a very adult and very logical reconciliation to a budget problem that they have less than a week to solve without paying legislators more and thus costing taxpayers more for a special legislative session. 

I don’t completely agree with it necessarily, but at least Governor Dayton is being the grown up in the room trying to resolve the problems of the whiney and time wasting Republican legislators acting like selfish toddlers.    

Let’s see, one side wants to negotiate (Governor Dayton) and one side WILL NOT compromise because they are greedy and want to get their way (Republican Legislators.)  Who is the public going to blame if there is a shutdown?  I suspect it won’t be the party that was willing to negotiate and for weeks asked Republican leaders for a full budget to at least get the negotiations started (yeah, let’s not forget that Republicans still have not submitted a full budget plan.)  No, I suspect the Republican led legislature who refused to compromise will be the ones getting blamed, and they should. 

63% of Minnesotans support a budget that includes both tax increases and cuts.  27% of Minnesotans support at cuts only budget.  So who are the Republican legislators trying to please here, the majority or their base? 

Republicans who refuse to compromise will be loved by their base, what’s that 27% of the voters?  But when the campaigns kick into gear in a few months, it will be the DFL Party, the party of progressives, farmers and workers, as well as education, compassion and compromise, against the GOP, not the Grand, but the Greedy Old Party, the party of the richest Minnesotans, CEOs and pawn shops, as well as the party of taking away rights, fiscal meltdowns and selfishness.

I guess if we can survive the next legislative session led by selfish Republican legislators, it should be slam dunk in 2012 for the DFL.  Amy Klobuchar will crush Dan Severson, Chris Barden, Dave Thompson, or whichever candidate the Greedy Old Party picks.  And she along with President Obama will lead a ticket that retakes both Minnesota houses, which will be led by forward thinking politicians in Paul Thissen and Tom Bakk.  Governor Dayton, Speaker Thissen, Senate Majority Leader Bakk… I’m dreaming of a golden age of growth and improvement in Minnesota, truly a better Minnesota, but we need to get through this mess and past these selfish Republicans right now.

Spread the word about who is willing to compromise.  Now is not the time to be a timid Democrat.  Speak up.  Call Governor Dayton’s office and tell him to stand strong, and tell him you support him on the budget.  We can’t sit back and just wish or hope for a Better Minnesota, otherwise we will end up in the struggles Wisconsin is fracturing under.  Even a baby step out of the political closet is a positive step toward a Better Minnesota.  Do it!