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Tuesday Talk: What’s your message for legislators?

August 23, 2011 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

The Minnesota State Fair legislative booths probably aren’t that popular an attraction most years. But after the historic state government shutdown and no new taxes budget compromise, more Minnesotans might stop by to visit legislators and talk policy. For those of you who might not have time to hit the legislative booths, here’s your forum.

What would you want legislators, especially those who don’t represent your district, to know about moving Minnesota forward?
 

If you are going to the fair, here are schedules for when members will be there:

House Fair Schedule

Senate Fair Schedule 

Thanks for participating! Commenting on this conversation is now closed.

95 Comments:

  • Mike Downing says:

    August 23, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Our legislators need to work on reforming state government by:
    1) Make MN more competitive and more business friendly.
    2) Utilize Lean Six Sigma techniques to increase the efficiency & effectiveness of state government.
    3) Increase state employee contributions to health care and pensions to mirror private enterprise.
    4) Reduce the rate of growth in state spending to the rate of inflation only.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Moving Minnesota ahead is going to be about toning down the hatred back to civil rhetoric levels of moderate dislike. It is going to mean talking “to each other” not “at each other”. It is going to require teachers unions to put their needs behind those of the children they are suppose to be serving. It is going to require progresives to support returning power, decision making, and spending authority to the local level where it belongs. It is going to require both parties to sit down and create a fair and honest tax system for all Minnesotans, once and for all. Next it is going to require looking at healthcare from the patients and healthcare workers perspectives when you talk healthcare reform, instead of any other special interest group. It is also going to mean turning the majority of the discussion over to those involved not politicians. Lastly it is going to require both Federal and State governments to admiting they do not create jobs and then for them to get the hell out of private buisnesses way so Americans can be put back to work.

  • Rob says:

    August 23, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Let’s stop pretending we do not know how to fix Minnesota’s budget problems. The solution is to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations…a lot. A rudimentary understanding of history proves my point. The middle class and our nation as a whole had a single 50- year- run of greatness between Hoover and Reagan. Why? We taxed the hell out of the idle rich and corporations. Government took control of and redirected spending and we all benefited immensely from it. Property taxes were low, higher education was nearly free and Social Security was a raging success. Additionally, we built roads, dams schools, hospitals and the electrical grid. These are just a few examples of how we - the great middle class - benefited from a progressive tax system. Again, I am not talking about simply letting the Bush tax cuts expire - a large tax increase on the (I love this bogus description) “job creators” is the answer.

  • Greg Kapphahn says:

    August 23, 2011 at 9:34 am

    I challenge the Republican legislators to consider these things:

    1) why they cannot allow themselves to consider anything but an EXTREMELY limited set of options to address the problems of our state (by which I mean to say that all OTHER options are not even allowed to enter their awareness as possibly viable means to accomplish what needs to be accomplished).

    2) to look at the record and realize that every one of the “solutions” they have successfully enacted has produced precisely the OPPOSITE of what they promised (of course that MAY have been their aim, all along, but I doubt it.  They DO seem to earnestly believe in their “solutions,” the ample evidence to the contrary not being allowed to enter their awareness, either).

    3) to realize that, if they continue to pursue their very short-sighted and limited agenda, they will create for the citizens of the state and, ultimately, even for themselves and their children and grandchildren lives with severely limited options and much lower quality.

    —and—

    4) to consider that their unwillingness, perhaps even inability to pursue any solutions to our problems except those that are so destructive to us as a society and as individuals may be the result of a shared set of psychological dysfunctions which express some variety of unconscious death wish for our state and nation, a wish so often shared by those experiencing (and denying) the reality that, no matter how diligently they try to create happy, functional lives for themselves using the only means they can allow themselves to pursue, the can never feel happy or satisfied because of their dysfunctions, even though they might reach the very pinnacle of monetary success.

    How is the “conservative” agenda not something akin to “Richard Cory” projecting his angst out into the world, seeking to blame others for his anger and agony and (unconsciously) seeking to destroy those others rather than look within himself for the source of his pain?

  • John says:

    August 23, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I second everything Rob said. Tax the rich, tax the “job creators.”
    Fair is fair and our current system is not only unfair but is headed for disaster.

  • John says:

    August 23, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Mike has drunk tho Kool Aid of the Tea Party.
    Even eliminating every State employee would not close our budget deficit. Only more, and fairer, taxes will.

  • Herb Davis, Jr. says:

    August 23, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Would somebody please make the income tax PROGRESSIVE and based upon the ability to pay!?

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 9:56 am

    A rudamentary understanding of history Rob? ALL the so called experts agree that your solution doesn’t even come close to fixing the problem. Your concept does nothing to deal with the unsustainable growth in both the Federal and State budgest in the last 45+ years. Nor does it deal with the absolute failures of Education and Healthcare the deeper the Federal government has stuck it’s nose in both these issues, to include madicare and to a lesser extent medicade. Your beloved government intervention has fixed nothing and never will. All the power stolen from the local level needs to be returned and both the Federal and State governments downsized to fit budget realities. That means eliminating every unnessesary agency and public employee possible as soon as possible. The days of laxidaisical growth of government are over, as are the days of government in our faces every time we turn around.

  • Dale says:

    August 23, 2011 at 9:59 am

    FIRST: It is time to introduce REAL “Truth In Taxation”.  By that I mean that a study needs to be conducted to identify and quantify each mandated program and then require the level of government that makes the mandate to FULLY FUND that mandate before it makes any other expenditures.  SECOND: It is time to move past this lie that reducing taxes on the rich will inspire them to increase employment.  The only thing that will increase employment is to increase the demand for the goods and services that the employer provides.  Case in point…When congress didn’t act to extend the tax that funds the FAA, airlines raised prices by the amount of the tax and added that money to their bottom line.  They didn’t add any jobs and most of the airline tickets sold didn’t even pass that tax reduction on to the consumer.

  • Rob says:

    August 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Bill, We have somehow endured - though by a thread - the destructive trickle-down economic policies of the radical right, but we are doomed if we go on much longer. Face the facts. The U.S. spends far less on the social safety net than all civilized nations and less than our own historically. We have starved the beast. We spend the lowest percent of GDP on our social safety net than all of Europe,Japan, Australia and South Africa. Question Bill. How the hell did we afford to build the greatest country on earth between FDR and Carter, and now after 30 years of nearly uninterupted economic growth have no money to restore her greatness. Answer. Certain Americans have taken the bait and vote for the Republican lie. Go ahead and cut your own throat, but remember that you are cutting everyone’s along with it.  Wake up before your house burns down.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Sorry Herb, I am not interested in your proggresive tax. While I too want the rich to pay their share your solution is just as unfair as the other sides aproach. I want a simple tax system that is easy for all to understand and fair to all. That is why I support a FAIR flat tax with low end cut outs and job creation credits for the rich with all other loopholes gone (perhaps donations to charitable causes could be included as well). This would level the playing field and if increases were needed it would be to the basic tax rate again fair to all and easy to understand. The present tax system is not fair to anyone.

  • Rob says:

    August 23, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Bill, Are ALL the experts employed by the Heritage Foundation or the Cato Instiute? Go to the library-broaden your horizons. Find out what the rest of us already know.

  • Rob says:

    August 23, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Bill, A flat tax would raise taxes on the poor and lower them on the rich. Why do you think Steve Forbes is such a big proponent of it? Surely, he wants to pay more taxes. Figure it out man. The truth shall set you free.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Rob, you are compairing us to Socialist countries which we are not, (apples to oranges). Second, mearly because the socialist beast goes headlong over the cliff, we are suppose to follow? There are other solutions to our problems than the failed socialist examples of Europe or your progressive dreams of a nanny state utopia that is financially unsustainable. The progressive dream of helping the poor has never been more than a shallow cover for the real goal of helping themselves to our (the 62% who are not rich or middle class) power at our expense. It is time you elitists start including those of us you believe too ignorant in the conversation, you don’t represent us and never have you progresive liars.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Who are the only ones you allow Rob? I clearly read and extrapolate from a wider variety of sources than you. You need to at least read the enemies line to be able to spin a believable yarn. Yours is lockstep Party garage that does nothing to move us ahead.

  • Mikerus says:

    August 23, 2011 at 11:02 am

    “I want a simple tax system that is easy for all to understand and fair to all.”  This is an oxymoron. A tax system that is fair cannot be simple and one that is simple will never be fair. Adam Smith, the father of modern capitalism strongly advocated for a progressive income tax. For he thought that burdening the rich and easing the poor was one benefit.

  • Rob says:

    August 23, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Bill, I know that I am wasting my time with you, but here it goes.You are missing the whole idea. Of course, I am comparing us to socialist countries. They are the gold standard for decent societies. Should I compare us to the feudalists of old Europe (pure capitalism) or our own era of robber barons ( more pure capitalism). Life was pretty grim for the working man under capitalist rule, buddy. So, let’s look at good ole Germany: the most socialist nation ever. It must suck for the poor Germans. A closer look reveals the following: national healthcare, nearly free higher education, much earlier retirement than the U.S., six weeks of annual vacation,  lower unemployment, fair wealth distribution and higher minimum wage - just to name a few perks of being socialists. America, the richest nation on earth, is shamed by Germany’s socialist ways. I hope this sinks in to all of you righties. If not, we are screwed

  • Lisa says:

    August 23, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I would like the legislators to consider revenue from other sources. If Wisconsin (our righty to the east) can tax clothing and still be ‘lower’ taxes than MN, let’s do it. Let’s have slot machines where the revenue goes to the state. Let’s reform, not cut. And mostly - let’s stop getting in other’s people’s lives and bedrooms. WHO CARES who your neighbor is marrying or if they receive $50 a month in food stamps? We have an economy to restore here.  Stop fighting and start thinking of a way out that isn’t along party lines….

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Sorry Rob Socialists are not the gold standard you make them out to be or Europe wouldn’t be in the dire straights it is in now. Nor are you even beginning to look at the horribly failed implementation efforts here in our SS, SSI, Medicare, and to a lesser extent Medicade. All frought with fraud and an acceptance of that fraud as legitimate by progressives like you. On top of that Socialism is responsible for the death of over 100 million civilians alone in the last 100 years, that is not GOLD STANDARD material by any measure my friend. Nor do their social standards, as you call them, come without a horribly high price.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Mikerus, with a line like that of course the only solution is yours. The problem is your oxymoron doesn’t exist, futhermore as always the proof is in the wording. Or perhaps if we looked around the world at other tax systems, especially in republics like ours, we might find other solutions than your proggresive Socialist taxing system that has been a perpetual political football all my life. You have never shown us a fair proggressive tax yet and I firmly don’t believe for one second that it is even possible considering your long record of failure. Time to look for a real solution rather than backtracking to your failed history.

  • Jane smith says:

    August 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    I would like the legislators to know that local farm resources
    need to be cultured and not sanctioned by big ag interests.
    hundreds of thousands and perhaps more dollars of our money have been used this past year to stop farmers from bringing their unprocessed food , including dairy, to their consumer bases off the farm. These healthy wholesome foods keep people healthy and aware from the medical system.  We must do all we can to make these food availably to the public. We can nurture the small farmer keeping them on the farms and providing
    more jobs as they grow. Please stop the farm raids and keep big government out of my decision on what foods I want to buy and eat and from whom. Do not try to protect me from myself please!!!

  • Mikerus says:

    August 23, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Bill Hamm…failed implementation efforts here in our SS, SSI, Medicare, and to a lesser extent Medicade. All frought with fraud and an acceptance of that fraud as legitimate by progressives like you——The capitalist system is much better and fraud is absent, execpt for; Enron,Countrywide, Lehman Bros. AIG, Bear-Sterns, Arther Anderson,Bernie Madoff,Tom Petters, Denny Hecker. Yep no fraud in capitalism, pure as the driven snow.

  • Mikerust says:

    August 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Bill Hamm:..“we might find other solutions than your proggresive Socialist taxing system that has been a perpetual political football all my life.”  It’s not MY system and it isn’t socialist unless you consider Adam Smith a socialist, it’s his idea of progressive taxation and it really makes sense.  In the tax system I have known all my life, 1040, it’s almost as fair as it gets (less C.G.) because everyone pays the same tax rate on the same dollars. Whats wrong with that?

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    To Lisa and Jane, legalizing medicinal marijuana, hemp, and legalizing and taxing the social use of marijuana would bring in or free up over $1 Billion per year. Yet the majority of you progressives continue to oppose it because public employees would be layed off. Time to get your heads out of the sand, these are far from the only new sources of revenue that are available without increasing any existing taxes. Instead you continue to back the racist aspect of the drug wars started by NIXON. 400% more blacks than whites end up with felony marijuana charges than whites even though the use rate is equal. By jailing them at this rate the marijuana laws have become the defacto new Jim Crowe and you all continue to support it racists.

  • Rob says:

    August 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Bill,  Please explain Germany, Sweden and Norway. Gotcha.

  • Jan C says:

    August 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Most people, including legislators, are unaware that many small, sustainable family farms are being harassed, targeted and even put out of business by our own MN Ag Dept, due to influential pressures from Big Ag interests intent on grabbing total market share.  I want legislators across the state to become more educated about this destructive activity and actively promote and protect small Minnesota farms.  The burdensome paperwork and excessive enforcement actions are done under the false guise of food safety, but it’s the huge centralized producers that create the vast majority of food-borne illness. Meanwhile, small farms produce clean food like grass-fed meat, dairy and eggs that are chemical-free, safe and nutritious.  More and more people are demanding unprocessed, local, living foods that have not been obliterated and reconfigured in a factory.  Please protect and improve our access to these foods, halt the overzealous regulators, and safeguard our small family-scale farms.  These farms are part of the solution, not the problem.  They are bastions of our shared heritage and desperately need our collective support.  This is good for the local economy, food security, rural communities, cities that rely on local farmers, the reduction of health care costs, and food freedom.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Pretty simple Rob, these are all small monocultures. These are the only places Socialism has come close to working. The larger and more diverse a country becomes the more certian socialism is to fail. The reasons for this are well known and very explainable in a doctorial theasis not a blog. They very much have to do with the deaths of those 100milion plus I spoke of earlier. Socialism is the most failed system of governance ever devised by man, rating right up there with dictatorships which they have a nasty habit of turning into. I know the Devil when I see him.

  • John says:

    August 23, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Bill, I support legalizing, and taxing,  drugs and I’m a Progressive. Don’t see how this would result in the layoffs of any state employees (scapegoats).

  • Kathryn says:

    August 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I agree with Jane Smith.  We cannot possibly hope to have health care costs lowered if we are unable to eat the healthy, nutrient dense food we need to maintain our health.  HF 255/SF147 are two such bills which will allow farmers to deliver raw milk to their customers rather than consumers having to drive to the farm. Sale of Raw Milk is already legal in MN. This increases the income of farmers if they can sell their organic, grass-fed milk at $6.00 a gallon rather than $1.00 per gallon they get when they sell it to Big Ag.

    My message to Republicans:  Stop defending Big Ag.  They’ll still have the bulk of he business.  THere is no evidence to support the idea that if someone gets sick from raw milk that there will be a decline in consumption of all dairy.  The decline in consumption of dairy has to do with soft drinks, energy drinks, etc.,  and the fact that pasteurized milk is a processed food and it makes people sick.  If you believe that MN State Government needs to keep its nose out of business so they can go about making money and hiring people, this would be a huge step in the right direction.  Ask Senator Magnus to give this bill a hearing in the Senate Ag Committee.

    Democrats:  If you have heard that raw milk is unsafe, you are being scared needlessly. You have fell for the FUD routine in a big way.  There is no food that is completely safe. Pasteurized milk has a much worse safety record than raw milk, and there is federal data to prove that point.  We don’t need a nanny state to protect us.  We can make decisions on our own. Senator Wellstone used to say that he was for the little fellers, not for the Rockefellers.  By not supporting this bill, you are in the pocket of Big Ag and you are working for the Rockefellers.

    To both parties:  If you really want to be working in a bi-partisan fashion, you will support this bill, as it already has bi-partisan support.  It strengthens rural economies.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Rob, furthermore Germany’s healthcare system is not truly socialist but rather a hybrid that forces Insurance companies to sell the base policy at zero profit, that single room and that new cathider are going to cost extra. See how it works bud.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    What are prison guards and court stenographers John? Glad to see you support new revenue too. We don’t even have a real figure on how much hemp and seed oil would bring into the economy above and beyond the fiber value for our farmers. The last USA hemp grower was forced out of buisness by the DEA in 1960.

  • Mikerust says:

    August 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    What are prison guards and court stenographers John?...They can be put to work guarding the white collar criminals on Wall Street.

  • Rob says:

    August 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Bill, Everything is s hybrid, so your point is mute. By the way, as the collective wealth of a nation increases so does the likelihood that socialism will succeed. Furthermore, success is incumbant upon a well-educated and highly-skilled work force, which is only found in socialist nations, like the U.S., from 1930 to 1980. You want to live in a Dickens novel. Go ahead Scrooge. Check Mate!

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Mikerus, there you go compairing a government model to a buisness model. You know how mad you get at Republicans for doing that. The comparison I want to make is your socialist model as opposed to one based upon the principles of our constitution, a Republic solution with local control rather then centralized planning. As for your damn 1040, as a small buisness person who has paid for most of my medical and dental out of pocket I’ve been screwed. Even if I had bought insurance it would not have been deductible unlike your middle class and rich medical set aside acounts. Just anouther example of how the rich and middle class agree on how to screw us.

  • Richard Wright says:

    August 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Fund education fully, before any funding
    for anynew stadiums.

  • Rob says:

    August 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Bill, Name one country where unfettered capitalism has been successful - 1929 America, 2009 America.  There isn’t one. Stubborness is not a sign of intelligence.

  • David Culver says:

    August 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    It is apparent to me that our system of electoral politics in MN and the US is corrupted and broken beyond repair. The wealthy call the shots and the rest of us are expected to offer feudal subservience to them. The DFL still continues to cringe in unfounded fear at the IRs instead of taking their case to the electorate at large and politically isolating the IRs. But I guess curling up in a fetal position in the capital basement and complaining about the mean ol’ governor and IR dominated lege takes a lot less guts than real leadership. Not one law passed, not one policy promulgated was based on even the least scintilla of fact and logic. Every last bit of it was crafted on fantasy, fiction, fables, and falsehoods. The laws passed and policies promulgated by this nincompoop-controlled legislature only guarantees that our problems will deepen.

    The only solution Minnesotans have is to hit the streets and start a direct, non-violent protest of civil disobedience. The lege and other systems of electoral politics is hopeless!

  • Liz says:

    August 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    That’s right, the scare tactics against raw milk need to be put into perspective. No food is 100% safe 100% of the time, but other foods are worse and many are far, far worse.  Raw milk has nourished people for over 10,000 years.  An analysis of the government’s own data shows that raw milk is 35,000 TIMES SAFER than all other foods. That’s not a typo. Here’s the article: 
    http://www.naturalnews.com/033362_raw_milk_pasteurized.html

    and

    http://www.realmilk.com/real-milk-pathogens.html

    This is a legal food in MN and access to it needs improvement.

  • Rob says:

    August 23, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Angry Bill,  The problem with America is you and your ilk get equal voting rights with the clear thinking people. We need to take civics tests before being allowed entry to voting booths.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    David, the only thing broken about the system is gutless couch potatoes who haven’t the courage to stand up and show up for what they believe in. We use to be the party of managed difference before the Stalinist purgess of the Clinton years when our bottom up platform was thrown in the trash and replaced with the top down national party platform. When all our labor people of strong religious convictions were undermined by your fractional minority athiest friends. The party shot itself in the foot and still hasn’t figured out what went wrong.

  • Mikerust says:

    August 23, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Your wrong about me comparing economic systems to goverment systems. Socialism and capitalism are methods of economic activity. A Dictatorship, republic and a democracy are forms of Goverment.  Make up your mind and pick one to discuss.

    Bill Hamm: “As for your damn 1040, as a small buisness person who has paid for most of my medical and dental out of pocket I’ve been screwed. Even if I had bought insurance it would not have been deductible unlike your middle class and rich medical set aside acounts.”  Wrong! If you are self-employed and file a Schedule C with your 1040 Medical Insurance premiums are deductablel from income on page one of your 1040.  Instead of bitching at democrats I suggest you get a new tax accountant. (are you doing you own taxes?)

  • Mikerust says:

    August 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    “We use to be the party of managed difference before the Stalinist purgess of the Clinton years when our bottom up platform was thrown in the trash and replaced with the top down national party ”  It was under McGovern not Clinton.

  • John says:

    August 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Prison Guards and Court Stenographers will still be needed, to prosecute and jail white collar criminals.
    If they are not, they will be retrained to be tax collectors for the new revenue streams from the newly-legalized drugs.
    Ultimately, we’ve got to get past the “class warfare” we’ve gotten into lately. WWJD?
    When there were just a few robber barons, we could afford them. Now, there are thousands of multi-millionairs and we can’t afford to have them live apart from the rest of society.
    The most important jopb of any society, and family, is to educate its young. Yet that is precisely the area we cut back on in the recent budget “compromise.”
    It’s not smart for us to underwright the rich and their yachts and corporate jets while at the same time cutting back funds for education. We will pay for this.
    Slavery is a great system, for the slave owner but not the slave.
    Goods can be produced cheaply in that system, but who are the customers? And what cost to humanity?
    Our current system is glorifying slavery in the name of “free enterprise” and we don’t even care (see Michele Bachmann’s reading list).
    Let’s be more humane and more fair and we will have a better society and State.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Rob, “unfettered capitolism” is not a form of government. If your are suggesting that our Republic is and unfettered capitalistic structure without the inclusion of socialism, your streching things a long way. We did fine before Woodroe Wilson and we will do fine again once this progressive/socialist fad has run it’s course. We need power back in the hands of the people, not overeducatated arrogant buerocrats thank you anyway.

  • Rob says:

    August 23, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Bill, It may be convenient for you to ignore my questions, but please attempt to answer them. Please explain socialists Germany, Sweden and Norway - as you like to call them the"Marxists.” ALso, name one successful mature capitalist country. Slavery didn’t work out so well for the plantation Reaganites. Come on, I cannot wait to hear your spin.

  • Mikerust says:

    August 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    :“We need power back in the hands of the people,”  How do you suggest this get done?

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Mikerust, for those of us on the lower end, before we can deduct any of those expenses they have to hit a threshold percentage of income (something that doesn’t exist in medical set aside accounts). Even most years when I do have enough deductions to itemize, I have never been able to deduct one red cent of medical costs of any kind. The only year I could have was the year medical bills forced me into bankrupcy, no deduction. So much for your 1040 or tax fairness under the present system.

  • Dru says:

    August 23, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    A combination of tax increases and spending is essential to balancing the budget.  A balance between the three major taxes: income, sales and propterty is important for the stability of the state financial system.  Taxes and fees should be balanced among all tax-payer quintiles and the poorest people who have the least buying power, which results in lack of choice and lack of the essential services for living, should be protected and supported.  Increases in property taxes and fees are tax increases - income should not be a sacred cow.

  • Rob says:

    August 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Mike, This is all about education. There is s great quote out there, ” Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.” This country was transformed by the policies of the New Deal and the Great Society, yet most people are totally ignorant about them. The media has misinformed a generation of Americans and hypnotized guys like Bill into believing in Reagan, Rush and Beck. A few basic history lessons for all Americans would go a long way toward fixing this country. An educated electorate is all we need, but it will take an overhaul of the whole system to get there.

  • Mikerust says:

    August 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Mikerust, for those of us on the lower end, before we can deduct any of those expenses they have to hit a threshold percentage of income (something that doesn’t exist in medical set aside accounts). Even most years when I do have enough deductions to itemize, I have never been able to deduct one red cent of medical costs of any kind…”  Thats because you are using Schedule A- Medical Deductions. Like I said, if you are self-empolyed you deduct your medical insurance premiums on line #29 on the front page of 1040 for tax year 2010, it reduces you income by that much ank makes the deductions on Schedule A thresholds lower. Take it as a “freebie”

  • Greg Kapphahn says:

    August 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    It’s clear that some of the posters, here, already believe themselves to KNOW the truth (as in “the devil when I see it”), and will allow NO verifiable facts, figures, statistics, nor logic to intrude on their “true” beliefs.

    To argue with such people, who are incapable of allowing any perspectives they do not already hold even to enter their awareness, but simply slap such inconvenient things away by refusing to answer questions that threaten to lead them to knowledge of facts that would prove false what they “know” to be true, is simply useless.

    Such people fill blogs around the world with such endless posts, that it almost seems as if they are using such posts to avoid considering what anyone else might be saying and almost desperately trying to convince themselves that what they “believe” to be true really IS true (and yet, even after clearly making their points, they keep posting and posting and posting).

    Although I admire the patience demonstrated by others, here, it’s important to realize that such people cannot be educated nor can they be informed away from the ignorance they constantly demonstrate by insisting that what they know to be true simply must be true because they KNOW it’s true, which makes it true because they KNOW falsehood when they see it, because they KNOW what’s true,... etc., etc., etc.,

  • Paul Harder says:

    August 23, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Bill, Hey buddy, we finally have something we fully agree upon. The drug war has been a complete failure, it has created a racial and economic apartheid in this country. I still disagree with your terminology of everything government being socialist and your representation that SS, Medicare and Medicaid being abject failures, but wait a few minutes and I’ll dig up some facts to support my side.

    Choose Wisely.

  • Richard Goerwitz says:

    August 23, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    I just want to echo the sentiments of those who have stated here that access to raw milk is a big issue for them.

    For me it’s a free-market thing.  Raw milk is legal in MN, but farmers can’t deliver it to their customers.  That means we have to drive out to the farms to get the milk, where the farmer has to have some sort of retail operation going - both of which add cost and up the level of difficulty (me having to make a special trip for milk, that is, and them having to be set up specially for me to do so).

    In an economy like the one we’re working with, I’d like to make it easier for local farmers to sell me their products, and for most of them that means delivering it to some central location where I can pick it up, or dropping it off at my house directly.

    Why can’t we just do this?

    It seems so simple and sensible.

  • Rob says:

    August 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Gregg, Well said. I understand how fruitless it is to post, but it is plain old fun to think circles around the intransigents. You can only hope they get tired of their own lies bouncing across their temples.

  • Paul Harder says:

    August 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I agree with Greg K., it’s very difficult to have a conversation when we are so set in our ways that the conversation becomes a finger pointing contest.

    I have tried for a while now to inject civil discourse here and I truly believe that it can happen. A person asked me what would save the world and I said, for everyone to set aside their personal agenda’s and just talk without all the hate.

    Bill and I have discussed several things, many of which we disagree on, but there are a growing number of things we do agree on. Perhaps if we stopped with the name calling and actually listened to the other side we could come up with a common solution.

    If not, we are truly doomed.

    Choose Wisely.

  • Kevin says:

    August 23, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    A good start to fixing the budget would be to reduce legislators pensions and eliminate their daily stipend. Eliminate subsidies to millionaire framers. Eliminate subsidies to oil companies. Reduce foreign aid.

    Reverse the Bush tax cuts for the rich that THEY were supposed to use to CREATE JOBS. Michelle Bachmann thinks the rich shouldn’t pay taxes because we should “keep it in the pockets of the people who create jobs” and then continues to blame Obama for not creating jobs. The problem is they are KEEPING it in their pockets and most of jobs that are created are lower paying. Our current President pretty much inherited the situation the economy is in and the Republicans refuse to help. It’s going take more than cutting programs or cutting the funding to programs, it’s going to take new REVENUE!

    p.s. pay Social Security back and then leave it alone!!

  • Mike Downing says:

    August 23, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Paul,

    I think we do agree that we are doomed to failure if Congress and the White House continue down the current path.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Mikerust, as a small buisness person I always have my taxes professionally done to make sure that I never have to go head to head with an IRS auditor. As I said earlier I have never been able to deduct one red cent, we must be talking different income brackets here.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Sorry Rob it appears one of my posts didn’t make it through. Your examples of 3 small uniculture countries as proof of socialisms success. My answer was yes these are the only types of socialist success if you can call them that. The larger and more diverse countries become the more difficult bueracratic centralization becomes and the more dificult it is to make one size fits all solutions work. Show me any long term large diverse socialist country with even 100 years of stable success. As for your slave/anticapitolism rant, I’m not buying any of that as having anything to do with the discussion we were having. As for your superiour intelect, I amstill waiting to see it demonstrated. One thing that has been proven over and over again is that there is no coralation between education level and inteligence quoteint. In other words you can’t become a genious by adding degrees to your name if you were not a genious to begin with.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Paul, the more we spare the more we begin to understand the hows and whys of where we each stand, that is the way politics and people work. We seldom in this formate get to expand upon areas of agreement so we pick the scab. There is little room in this hate filled environment for friendly conversation or conversation focused on any meaningfull change or solutions. The best I can hope for most days is some degree of recognition that perhaps there may be room for a little more inclusion and respect for those of us who may not be your academic equals. The arrogant Ideas expressed by some here that an education test should be given for a vote to be allowed, I think that happens right after the pole tax is charged. I am so tired of hearing such language from folks who can’t even change the oil on their car. Inteligence is measured differntly in different circles, for good reason.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    John, I hate to have to point this out to you but Michell Bachman is not responsible for the present education system failure. Furthermore she is not responsible for the worse racially and economically biased education system Minnesota has ever endured. She is also not responsible for a system where the children of rich get the best education system followed closely by you of the MIDDLE CLASS at our childrens expense. Our problem is, how could this possibly have happened on your power trip in our party?

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    The truth is a versitile and creative thing in this environment Greg. A simple statement with the word DEVIL in it becomes proof of right wing extremism even for an agnostic. Resorting to loftyness and elitism won’t protect you from my acidric retorts but will almost garuantee them. Take care.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 23, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Mikerust, I have no doubt about what you say occured during the McGovern year, nor am I mistaken about the Clinton years. I was there when we dropped from 260+ bodies in Itasca County down to the 70-80 we draw now. I was there since 76 to see who was behind the hatred and attacks on fellow DFLers over religion and abortion rights. I was there to see the unfettered name calling and disrespectfull behaviour at every turn. I was there to see us go from the party of inclusion to the party of exclusion much like Stalins communist party. Many are now angrey Republicans or Tea Party members. Wasn’t that ever so smart of you all.

  • Mikerust says:

    August 23, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    As I said earlier I have never been able to deduct one red cent, we must be talking different income brackets here…No tax brackets have nothing to do with it. I’ve had my own tax biz for 34+ years, Just look at 1040 Line#29.

    “Wasn’t that smart of all of you”  You assume I was there or have specific views.  You don’t know so don’t put that on me, I’m fighting from the inside. Under present cond.  I could never vote GOP, they have never done anything just for the middle class.

  • WAYNE THORSON says:

    August 24, 2011 at 2:17 am

    They don’t think twice about putting a dollar a pack tax on cigaretts.  My suggestion is put a 1 percent tax on pull tabs and lottery tickets.  It would pay for the deficit in no time and have money left over.  No body should be against it.  I would like to hear from anyone that does not agree.

  • Rob says:

    August 24, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Hi Bill,  You make great points on intelligence and genius,but back to socialism. So we both agree socialism is great in smallish countries (Germany is actually a pretty large country). How about the roaring success we had during our “New Deal” years? Yes, the U.S. is a large country. Fact is, prior to the deal the United States was an abysmal place for most of her people to live in. Poverty, homelessness, disease and life expectancy were dismal compared to post New Deal. As you may have noticed, since Reagan’s bullshit has captured the imagination of working class voters, the nation is slowly dropping to pre-deal (pre-union) free-market capitalism standards. The return of an unregulated, anti-union, free-trade economy will leave the middle-class high and dry. Seriously, if we cannot convince guys like you of the importance of a quasi-socialist economy we are finished. Also, you still need to give me a country with mature capitalism that is not a hell hole.

  • John says:

    August 24, 2011 at 9:48 am

    What if we were to get back to the subject of what the MN legislature could do for Minnesotans in the next session?

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 24, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Rob, where do you get this roaring success during the New Deal years. While much good was accomplished and people were put back to work on CCC projects that actually made them better people, ( a far cry from our present welfare state), it is also accepted that WWII saved FDR’s ass on the New Deal which was about to fall flat on it’s face. Your blaming of Reagan for the fall of Unionism in this country leaves out the responsibilities that went unfullfilled by the Unions. When Reagan shut down PATCO and the Unionist in this country did NOTHING they sealed their own fate. Had this been France the whole country would have been shut down. The first and only chance the public employee unions had to stand up and act like real unions by putting their blood on the line and they fell flat on their faces. They sold out the American Union movement with cowerdess. Don’t blame Reagan, he only set the stage and called their bluff challenging them to a fight they had no stomach for. The quasi/socialist BS your trying to convince me is good is behind reduced local opportunities for input and problem solving. It is absolutely behind the failure of our education system. It is very much a part of the extreme cost and inefficiency of healthcare in this country. It is responsible for the fraud that continues unabated in SS, SSI, Medicare, and Medicade because admitting any problems in these programs might tarnish your lack of any proven success in dealing with the problems caused by your top down one size fits all garbage. As for a country with “mature capitolism”, that is nonsence and we both know it. You show me a successfull fully implimented Socialist system operating without capitalism. There is none because Socialism has always been an unfullfillable pipedream.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 24, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Rob, let’s look at anouther progressive/socialist horror story in America, prohibition. You remember the case of an elitist minority who tried to tell the country what they could and couldn’t drink. How much did that war on our own citizens cost in capital and human lives? Furthermore, how much did that play into setting the stage for the great deppresion?

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    August 24, 2011 at 10:11 am

    The Alberta tar-sands extraction has damaged Alberta’s arboreal forest, probably beyond recovery, and polluted a river than runs south from the extraction site so severely that local tribe(s) can no longer fish in it or use its water for anything else.

    The energy industry now wants the U.S. and Canada to build a pipeline from Alberta via Montana, South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois and then south to Houston, where the dirtiest oil on earth will be refined. Or perhaps shipped to Asia, as some fear. 

    Who benefits?  The owners of those companies.  Who loses?  The people of Canada and the United States.

    I would ask our members of the legislature to immediately (even though they’re not in session, so maybe each party could write one) create a resolution against our government spending dollars on this hugely damaging and dangerous project instead of on the development of renewable energy.

    They should also communicate with every state the pipeline would pass through to alert other legislatures of its danger and asking them to immediately enact legislation refusing to allow the pipeline to pass through their states. 

    And, most importantly, they should immediately contact President Obama to urge him NOT to sign the permit that would be the project’s go-ahead. Obama alone can stop it, as the thousands of demonstrators now in Washington are demanding he do.

  • Rob says:

    August 24, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Bill, I can see you are coming around. Correct, it is a balancing act between capitalism and socialism, but the argument is on the economic continuum are we better off with more socialism or less in America. I can tell you most Europeans and Canadians do not envy us. Frankly, they think we are retarded, Because of working class whites that cannot grasp the whole pictue, we are screwed. Did you know that we rank near the bottom in social migration ( climbing the social ladder). Our golden years ended when Ronnie won you and your type over. Look, you can bitch about social issues all you want, but if you cannot see the anti-social effects of unmitigated capitalism, you are blinded by hubris or envy.

  • Rob says:

    August 24, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Bill, As Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes once sang. “If yo don’t love socialism by now, you will never, never never love it. Ooooooo,oooo,ooooo,ooooo,oooo.”  Later champ.You are beyond repair.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 24, 2011 at 11:21 am

    That’s a curious statement Rob, coming around on what? Anyway, I am glad we are becoming closer here. As for the continuum, (like that word, kinda has that treky Q feel), I have yet to see a single top down socialist effort in this country that is in any way working as advertised let alone working efficiently. LOCALY controled FD’s and PD’s are not in this discussion, the key word is top down. I want education decisions returned to the local level where corrections can be made by local citizens in a timely manner. I use to sit on some of the committees that no longer exist. I want citizens to be allowed more input than raising money for playground equipment, as it use to be. That is my example of what your beloved socialism has already done to negatively affect my country. Now show me something that works from your perspective.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 24, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Excuse me Rob but I forgot to give you my rant about the value of the opinions of European Socialists. After having saved their sorry stupid asses twice last century, I could care less what those fools and rectums have to say about anything let alone my country.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    August 24, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Here are a few socialized national governmental programs (meaning we all share in the expense of maintaining them):

    Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security,
    the interstate highway system, the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard; the Federal Aviation Administration, Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Equal Opportunities Act, the National Park System and the Endangered Species Act, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, the Postal Service, and probably many more. 

    To socialize a component of the common good is not to be a “socialistic” country.  A socialistic country is one where the government owns everything and every person is a government employee. Every decent government socializes those human and social needs that the private sector cannot or will not provide.

  • John says:

    August 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    And the alternative to “saving their asses” would have been what? N
    The Third Reich all over Europe with us left alone over here?

  • Greg Kapphahn says:

    August 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    With his every post our fellow poster (who shares his name with a former local brand of beer) proves the truth of my earlier post.

    Indeed, his “true” beliefs are impervious to any countervailing information and impenetrable by truth or logic.

    Argue with him if you will, but the alternative reality which he has wrapped so tightly around himself renders him incapable of considering any points you raise (unless he already agrees with them). 

    As is the case with so many who share his warped reality, any other points of view are dismissed without even the slightest glimmer of consideration or thought.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    You are absolutely wrong Bernice. Every one of those entitelment functions you described can and are being provided without government assistance with the Corporation tything an additional 10% of it’s profits back to the community. It is done by the Basque people in the Mondragon region of Spain. Everything we have been told, by the likes of you, that we need the government to do for us theses people have done for themselves at the local level without any socialist interferance. It has been accomplished by their Worker Owned Industrial Coops. It very much is the next evolutionary phase in what many of you would call socialism. It is the democratization of the workplace and the ownership of capitalism by the people. It is the ultimate “Power to the people”.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 24, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    One more thing Bernice, our military is not a Socialist structure. Military structures have existed since long before socialism. The millitary is not a for profit buisness run by the government but rather an Millitary structure with a chain of command leading to our president. Only a radical feminist would try that abserd assertion.

  • Rob says:

    August 24, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Bernice and Greg, How can this be so obvious, yet so out of reach for some?  Seriously, if Bill and his ilk couldn’t vote, I wouldn’t waste my time with them, But, I have converted a few lost souls, so keep up the frustrating work. We only need to crack a few of those nuts to take back congress and get this country back to where it once was. Truth is, we need as much government involvement in our lives as we can get. Big government is our bodyguard. Do not get “Hamm”-strung by the bitter, anti-social radical-righties. Our lurch to the right will end. It is just unfortunate that we have to endure back sliding to the dark ages every once in a while (1920s).l

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    August 24, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Your references to the Basques in Spain’s Mondragon region made me curious, so I looked them up. 

    The entire population of that region i 23,000 people, mainly Basques.  For that small group of people to organize themselves into worker cooperatives is remarkable and praiseworthy. It was tried in the U.S. by several groups in the 19th Century.  They flourished for a time, but are mostly gone now.

    As far as the U.S. is concerned now, however, to switch to such a system would require 100% of the population of every city or town in the country to agree to such a plan.  Might the orthopedic surgeon who replaced my hip be willing to trade his services for a farmer’s fresh eggs and newly-butchered bison?  I doubt it. 

    We’re stuck with a MIXED economy, the same as every advanced country in the world, even the former communist states of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Empire.

  • Rachel says:

    August 24, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Bernice,

    Lee Egerstrom wrote an excellent report on cooperatives in Minnesota that you might want to check out. Page 22 begins the section on worker co-ops and includes a couple of great local examples that we talked to.

    http://mn2020.org/issues-that-matter/economic-development/cooperatively-moving-minnesota-forward

    - Rachel
    (MN2020 communications specialist)

  • John says:

    August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    “Only a radical
    feminist would try that abserd (sp) assertion.”

    If the argument is strong, slinging mud is not necessary.

  • John says:

    August 24, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    MN has an excellent system of health care (still not ideal) that requires all providers to be non-profit.
    Wish we could have included that in ObamaCare, but the Profit-First Corporations wouldn’t allow it.
    We can see very clearly what profits do to health care costs by just looking down the road at United Health.
    Absurd profits, absurd executive salaries and denied services.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 24, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    You are right of course John. Bernice, the Basque Coops employ over 55,000 people not just people in the Mondragon area. The Minnesota library system use to have a 3 film set following the Mondragon Coops from their inseption in 1953 to the year 2000, the VHS version was available last time I checked it out. I have a personal unofficial DVD versionthat is rough. The structure was loosely based on the Rothchild experiments in England in the 1500’s coupled with Catholic social doctrine that drove the structure and experience showed what worked. These structures have very hard size limitations that must be adheared to and can not be scaled up without carefull planning. They have consistantly oupreformed their stockholder counterparts greatly due to the lack of need for middle management. It is a one man one vote system, and all must participate, no dead weight. Workers do the hiring and firing based on preformance. Nothing puts an end to outsourcing like real worker ownership. By the way, there is absolutely no connection to the failures you speak of in the USA. There are a number of versions right here including a Construction Company in the metro area. You will find that Union reviews of this structure from back in the 90’s fault it for failure to include Union protection for it’s worker owners who had more to say about their workplace than any Union member. As Unions continue to lose their hold this is the only other choice to being sheeple. I challenge you Bernice to find a reason to hate something with a record like this that has no connection to me other than my efforts to recreate it here. I left much for you and others to discover. You have some very serious misconceptions. The films were produced as an ongoing investigation and documentation of these coops by a British scholar group.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    John, I asume you are speaking of Minnesota care for them poor people. You pointed at the most touchy/feely aspect, non-profit. Having seen Minnesota care from the recieving side, its value varies considerably with income. It is not patient based, it is system based, quility healthcare is secondary to system rules and requirements. What looks good to a benifactor may not feel so good to the benificiary. On anouther note, how do you see giving our money to the Federal Government to manage services for us at the State level? Every time we do that we get about $0.60 per dollar back in services. How does that work for us again?

  • Mikerust says:

    August 25, 2011 at 8:31 am

    It has been accomplished by their Worker Owned Industrial Coops. It very much is the next evolutionary phase in what many of you would call socialism. It is the democratization of the workplace and the ownership of capitalism by the people. It is the ultimate “Power to the people”.

    Pretty good discription of Socialism, if you ask me.

  • Tony Rozycki says:

    August 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Cut the fluff.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    August 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Mr.Hamm—I neither said nor implied that I “hate” worker cooperatives.  They are a wonderful way for—as you admit—small groups of people to cooperatively own and operate a business or a small, self-sustaining community.

    What I object to is that you seem to think all of America should reform its economic and governmental systems to conform to a system that only works for small groups.  There’s no way a country of 300-plus million people can fairly operate its government except by fairly raising revenue.  And that ain’t “socialism.”

  • Paul Harder says:

    August 25, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I would first tell my legislators that they represent ALL of the people in their district not just those that votes yes for them. I feel very often that I have no representation in the State and US House of Reps.

    I would then tell them to drop personal agendas, core principals and the negative political speak and get down to working on the business of the people.

    I agree with Bill in that this should a bottom up thing, person first.

    Speaking of Bill, he is a Jeffersonian, conservative. Thomas Jefferson thought that all power should be local.

    I too am a supporter of coops, I walk the talk too Bill, I was on the board of a food coop for a long time, one of the old school food coops where all the workers had the same level of influence, it was completely flat in it’s operation, it’s also now out of business.

    In a world that is as interconnected as ours, local coops have their place but so does government.

    Choose Wisely.

  • Mike Downing says:

    August 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Paul,

    Welcome to the club!  I feel very often
    that I have no representation in the US Senate, White House and in the MN Gov’s Office! grin

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 25, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Sorry Bernice, it wasn’t coops that I was implying you hated, it was me and I was appealing to you as an intelligent person, that you would leave that out of your evaluation of the Mondragon Coops. The IOF (Independent Order of the Foresters), the Moose, the Eagles, the VFW, and many others use coop variants to provide insurance for their membership. All insurance can be done via coop thus eliminating insurance company profits and eliminating the need for overbearing bloated government involvement. Better than that, if I had 4 good board members I would file the Coop paperwork sitting on my desk right now and start going after loans from nonprofits to cover the escrow type funding (sorry I forgot the name of the backup fund an insurance organization needs to start buis.) require To begin bidding on all public employee and low income healthcare as well as MNCARE. How would you like to see no copays and no rediculassly high deductibles. Taking these lucrative contracts away from the Insurance Co. would give this thing a hugh step up and the numbers in these groups produce the launching base needed to succeed. As I told you before I held a Life and Health License here in Minnesota. We don’t need government to do anything for us, that is the lazy mans way out.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    You do understand Paul, I tend to preffer the term Jeffersonian Liberal but I am not offended by conservativ. I know a lot of folks who describe themselves as conservative Democrats. Many of the things we did as independent coops in this country over the last 150 years or so are incorporated as secondary supported coops in the Mondragon system. They own there own banking, Grocery stores, Schools and Universities, Insurance providers, unemployment Insurance, workmans comp., healthcare facilities, and much more. When they have to close an antiquated plant it is done with planned inhouse training, they have seldom had layoffs. This is the passion along with family that drives me because this is the kind of environment I would wish for my children and grandchildren to work and live in.

  • John says:

    August 25, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    No, I am NOT refering to MN Care. EVERY Medical plan in MN is non-profit.
    Other states have for-profit medical plans, and United Health Care is one of those providers. But they cannot operate in MN.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    August 26, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Bill:  To disagree with you is not to “hate” you. 

    John:  UnitedHealth Care actually does operate in Minnesota.  It owns or controls Medica, which is the insurance that AARP sells to its members. It also covers Minnesotans on government plans like MinnCare and MA, along with Blue Cross and UCare.

    It and Blue Cross together control most of the insurance market in Minnesota.  They and UCare are not allowed to show a profit here, but do put their “excess income” into reserve funds should there be something like a flu epidemic that required extra payouts. 

    This fund has, however, grown to over $2 billion, much more than what the state estimates they could possibly need for such an epidemic.  UCare has returned a portion of its reserve to the state, but the other two continue to earn interest or investment income on OUR desperately needed money.