Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Minnesota's progressive path to economic strength proof conservative policies a failure.

On WPT's Joy Cardin Show, Scott Walker did his best dance around the great progressive economic results coming from Minnesota's Governor Dayton and his Democratic legislature. Excuse after excuse, Walker fumble this one, bring up Illinois as a better example. Illinois is kicking our ass when it comes to new jobs. Maybe he thought we wouldn't somehow notice.



This Minnesota vs Wisconsin story is rich with campaign ammunition for Scott Walker's Democratic challengers-use it:
NY Times: Wisconsin elected Republicans to majorities in the Legislature and selected a bold and vigorous Republican governor, Scott Walker. Minnesotans elected one of the most progressive candidates for governor in the country, Mark Dayton of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. 

Minnesota raised taxes by $2.1 billion, the largest increase in recent state history. Democrats introduced the fourth highest income tax bracket in the country and targeted the top 1 percent of earners to pay 62 percent of the new taxes, according to the Department of Revenue. A month after Mr. Walker’s inauguration in January 2011, he catapulted himself to the front ranks of national conservative leaders with attacks on the collective bargaining rights of Civil Service unions and sharp reductions in taxes and spending. 

Three years into Mr. Walker’s term, Wisconsin lags behind Minnesota in job creation and economic growth. As a candidate, Mr. Walker promised to produce 250,000 private-sector jobs in his first term, but a year before the next election that number is less than 90,000. Wisconsin ranks 34th for job growth. Mr. Walker’s defenders blame the higher spending and taxes of his Democratic predecessor for these disappointments, but according to Forbes’s annual list of best states for business, Wisconsin continues torank in the bottom half.

Along with California, Minnesota is the fifth fastest growing state economy, with private-sector job growth exceeding pre-recession levels. Forbes rates Minnesota as the eighth best state for business.

Higher taxes and economic growth in Minnesota have attracted a surprisingly broad coalition. Businesses complain about taxes, but many cheered Mr. Dayton’s investments in the Mayo Clinic, the new Vikings stadium, the Mall of America and 3M headquarters.

The lion’s share of Minnesota’s new tax revenue was sunk into human capital. Dayton invested 71 percent of the remaining funds in K-12 schools and higher education as well as a pair of firsts: all-day kindergarten and wider access to early childhood education. Minnesota was one of the few states that raised education spending under the cloud of the Great Recession. 

By contrast, Mr. Walker’s strategy limited Wisconsin’s ability to invest in infrastructure that would have catalyzed private-sector expansion, and he cut state funding of K-12 schools by more than 15 percent. Per student, this was the seventh sharpest decline in the country.

Health care presents another difference.  When Mr. Walker refused to establish a state health insurance exchange or to expand Medicaid, Mr. Dayton is on course to improve Minnesota’s already low uninsured rate. He expanded Medicaid to cover an additional 35,000 people and accepted Washington’s offer to pick up the cost ... Meanwhile, Minnesota’s tradition of innovative medical care and nonprofit insurers produced premiums in its insurance exchange that are, on average, the lowest in the country, well below premiums in Wisconsin. 

The lesson from the upper Midwest is that rigid anti-tax dogma fails to deliver a convincing optimistic vision that widens economic opportunity and security. The excesses of liberalism may lurk, but Minnesota is building a modern progressivism that plows a hopeful path.

2 comments:

Middleclassguy said...


In the last week I have heard two interviews with Gov. Walker.  In both interviews he was asked to compare Minnesota's and Wisconsin's economic recovery. In each instance he stated that "Illinois is the better comparison and went on his usual rants about Illinois' high taxes, pension troubles, etc. . Of course no follow up question asking him why Minnesota is doing better.

Anonymous said...

You guys still think there is some kind of recovery while the Fed continues to destroy the dollar and has backed itself into a corner. Too funny.