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Tuesday Talk: What more should policymakers do to create jobs?

September 06, 2011 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

President Obama is addressing Congress and the nation this week with his plan for getting people back to work in a time of 9.1 percent unemployment. While Minnesota’s job outlook is slightly better, our construction industry has been hard hit. Governor Dayton’s infrastructure bonding bill will likely produce 14,000 jobs.

What more should Minnesota policymakers do to create jobs? 

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50 Comments:

  • Charlie Oakes says:

    September 6, 2011 at 8:41 am

    It is time for the private sector to quit whining and invest in domestic production and hiring some people.  If every one hired 3% more employees the economy would rebound.  It is the patriotic thing to do and sincve the “Job Creators” continue to enjoy the Bush tax breaks, then they owe it to America to invest in creating jobs.

  • Mike Downing says:

    September 6, 2011 at 9:00 am

    MN should create a business friendly environment in order for MN to be more competitive. Here are some of the ways to do this:
    1) Pursue low cost energy initiatives to bring energy intensive manufacturing jobs back to MN.
    2) Reform corporate taxes by eliminating deductions & credits and reducing rates.
    3) Reform individual income taxes by eliminating deductions & credits and reducing rates.
    4) Improve infrastructure and reduce transportation costs.
    5) Reduce state mandates to reduce the cost of doing business in MN.

    Remember, MN is competing for jobs with 49 other states.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    September 6, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Somehow, those legislators who believe that taxation is “theft,” that unions are impediments to good business, and cutting jobs and services, education, and infrastructure maintenance is the way to economic prosperity have to be re-educated OR removed from office. 

    I believe those on the left need to be as effective propagandizers as the Koch Brothers and Grover Norquist et al. have been on the right. Keynesianism WORKS, trickle down never has and never will. Both our state and our country will suffer until ordinary people understand and accept that truth.

    So I suggest a huge campaign of re-education of the populace so people will again vote for those who represent them instead of corporate power and the concentration of wealth at the top. Instead of attack ads, for instance, five-minute TV spots on how the economy could work better, how unions benefit all workers and the entire economy, et cetera.

  • Sharon Rickert says:

    September 6, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Reduce tax breaks for companies that export phone jobs overseas. I am disabled and homebound and have been looking for work for years. Bringing these jobs home would help make disabled people taxpayers and less dependent on government funds.

  • Bob says:

    September 6, 2011 at 10:10 am

    To create jobs the state needs to do several things:
    1) Fix and update the roads and bridges. They are falling apart. This is what got America working in the 1950’s.
    2) Corporations are seeing the highest profits in history. Get them to hire workers with this extra money by relating tax breaks to hiring of new workers.
    3) One of the main reasons companies come to MN is because of our educated work force. Unfortunately, lately we are reducing our educated workforce by cutting education, etc. Educate future workers.
    4) Health care is the #1 worry of small business owners. To attract companies and get them the money needed to hire workers we need to fix health care. Universal health care is the only way to do this. Most executives at health insurance companies (my wife included) are all for this even if it means less pay and fewer jobs in their companies.

  • WAYNE THORSON says:

    September 6, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Politions don’t think twice about putting a dollar a pack tax on a pack of cigarettes,  so why don’t they put a 1 per cent tax on every lottery ticket and pull tab sold?  It is an untapped industry that can easily afford to pay it.  Who would be against it.  Any one buying them would feel they are helping the country out.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    September 6, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Charlie seems to miss the need for market that companies need so they can put people back to work. Mike gives us a very good view of buisness friendly things we can do. Bernice wants commie style reeducation camps, much more aggresive than what our failing schools have been turned into. I really like Sharons idea. Even Bob is about half right, we do need to find a way to catch up on our roads and bridges (something that has been an ongoing discussion for more than a decade). He again fails to understand the need for market and orders before hiring can take place. He is right about the need for quality education but fails to understand the whole problem with education, (see item 2 on todays blog). Than he comes back with the same dead middle class solution to healthcare while trying to show upper class support for it. Any system that is second class in nature and that is not first about the needs of the patient is unacceptable as is “Single Payer BS” with it’s bloated unaffordable bueracracy. Then there is Wayne who wants to attack the poorest again with more regressive taxation that will even further undermine poor childen especially. Will we be surprised if Obama’s speach is again so politically stacked and charged as to make any deal immposible.

  • Norm says:

    September 6, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Maybe it is time to stop fantasizing about the resumption of growth as we have experienced it since WWII. We are beginning to bump up against limits to growth in many areas: soil, water, rare earth minerals, oil, natural gas, coal, etc. Never mind the hype from stock peddlers, delusional or ignorant denials from the Perrys and Bachmans of the world, or the fear felt by politicians that have any inkling of reality.

    We are starving our education institutions, health care is already being rationed (by economics), rural roads are going back to gravel while others are falling apart. Sewer and water infrastructure is breaking down in older cities, agriculture is a totally unsustainable mess as a result of decades of cheap energy, and we still want to go back to building houses with three garage stalls and bathrooms big enought to party in.

    Pay attention…we are going back to small houses, much less commuting, fewer cars, mass transit, and more local jobs, including MANY more farm workers as energy costs kill industrial agriculture. We are going to have to live and work local. At a time when we are going to need more skills in growing local foods (not industrial inputs like corn and soybeans),and near forgotten trades and crafts, we are phasing out home economics(FACS), building trades and ag classes and plugging in math and science classes that most students will not need for the careers that will be available.

    Our policy making processes seem to be focused on trying to replicate the past age of abundance, rather then coping with a future in which conditions are rapidly changing and extravagant possibilities limited.

    I recommend spending some time every day reading articles and linked documents at www.energybulletin.net and www.theautomaticearth.blogspot.com.

    It is time to begin to adjust our expectations for the future. Those that do recognize current trends are going to be mad as hell when the realization hits them that their dreams will only be dreams.

    And good luck to us all.

  • Paul Oman says:

    September 6, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    One simple suggestion is to just drop the 59.5 age limit on drawing from retirement funds so those who’ve made fortunate investments can retire when they want to, thereby opening up good paying jobs to others.  That would also require having available, affordable health care.  Assuming a single payer solution won’t be available for some time, due to ignorant attitudes like those expressed by Mr. Hamm, a reasonable alternative would be offering a Medicare buy-in to (at least some) under the age limit.  Policy costs could be adjusted to help assure Medicare sustainability, thereby solving two problems at once.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    September 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Bill:  You can call me whatever you want and I don’t care, but calling universal single-payer health care “B.S.” is wrong.

    Single payer would be similar to Medicare, but better because it leaves not one person out while saving $400 billion per year in federal tax money (Harvard University Med. School researchers).

    The peace of mind that comes from knowing you have coverage that no one can take away is perhaps the best thing about Medicare.  Giving the same assurance to everyone would prevent untold suffering and tens of thousands of deaths per year, as nationally, about .001% of uninsured people die. 

    Right now, we have 50 million or so uninsured persons, which means about 50,000 will die just because they don’t have access to ongoing preventive and diagnostic care.

    This ain’t B.S.  This is the best and biggest thing America could do to fulfill the Constitution’s mandate to “promote the general welfare.”

  • Rob says:

    September 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    What should policymakers do to create jobs?

    There is an untapped resreve of money that is doing nothing productive for America. The richest coorporations are sitting on 2.5 trillion in cash. The idle rich are sitting on trillions more. Given our history - the top marginal tax rate was 91 oercent between 1932 and 1962, where it stayed at 71 percent for another 20 years - American tradition insists we TAX THE RICH at a much higher rate than the present 15-18 percent that many of the rich pay. That money could instantly go into infrastructure repair and eliminate unemployment.This dea worked before and no plausable argument can be made against this idea now. TAX THE RICH. Simple solution for a sinking America.

  • KJC says:

    September 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    This is, of course, the question of our times.  And I have spent thousands of hours on this problem.  The first thing that I notice is?  It’s a whole lot like peeling an onion… you dig into a problem, and you find another one underneath it.  And?  For 30 years it’s been mostly a “let’s win this battle, and worry about winning the economic war” later.
    Make no mistake, that’s exactly what we are in: a war.  You can see the progression from WWII, a massive shooting war (and where we invented a weapon that could end mankind itself) and then progressing to a Cold War of more covert struggles.  I take that as kind of a good sign… a change from the usual escalation of “who can come up with the biggest killing machine wins.”  In the latest wars between nations, it’s fought with cheater trade policies, not bullets.  The USA still tends to think in terms of military force, and our competitors in the great East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere are mostly too smart for that.  Like in martial arts, they seek to get you to use your power against yourself. 
    They use limiting access to their markets and local content rules, and a thousand other ways to gain advantage.  You need only look at the trade deficit numbers of the last 30 years to “get it.”  When we stop pretending that we can afford to be cheated… because it’s mostly costing the Workers, Capital has the ability to move it’s Plant (to side with the Cheaters) we’ll get some jobs back here. 
    But?  We the People would have to insist, and not be dragged into “other Americans are your enemy” tactics of division.  I have a plan, when people are ready to Stand Up for Each Other… and no less than Prof. Robert Reich indicated that it would create jobs HERE.
    Until then… 

     

  • Mike Downing says:

    September 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Rob, Bernice & others proudly want to emulate Europe. The natural result of emulating Europe is slow growth and high unemployment. You can thank the liberal progressives if you like low growth & high employment.

  • Jim Spensley says:

    September 6, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Building roads abd brudges and other transportation nfrastructure will create construction jobs, but for a gain in employment indefinitely, the new stuff needs to help other economic sectors.

    A sluggish economy means less disposable income for tourists, and a road-under-construction to meet projected needs years ahead might serve this year’s tourism less well than one needing repair.

    What struggling home-owner needs a city street paving assessment?  Let’s do things that increase revenue (yes, tax revenue but not only.)

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    September 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Yes, infrastructure repair and replacement for sure. 

    Also however, locally and nationally, we could rebuild our country, clean the air and water, and create millions of new, good permanent jobs by following the advice put forth about ten years ago (by the Apollo Project) to replace our current oil-gas-coal-based energy industry with a new system using renewable energy methods.

    The only thing standing between such a marvelous solution is ... of course ... the oil-gas-coal-based energy industry, and their friends in the Congress and those state houses led by right-wing politicians.

  • KJC says:

    September 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    There may some short-term things we need to do.  I’m not going to argue with that, things are a crisis. 
    And?  That has tended to blind us, the “can’t see the forest for the trees” issue in terms of the fundamentals.  We need to work on the basics, including insisting that the American Worker benefit from the global economy, too.
    I’ve been on all sides of the table, so I tend to see this less as “other Americans are my enemy.” But certain entrenched interests like to use that to maintain power, and deflect scrutiny from their own consistent lack of interest in the common good.  When will we refuse to be so easily diverted? 
    Various trade and tax policies will have to be changed, and with new rules and incentives in place the people will respond.  I don’t, for example, believe for a minute that our people are less smart, diligent or innovative than elsewhere… I’ve personally traveled Europe and Asia and that just isn’t so.
    But we don’t cheat on our currency by 25% (because it floats) and we don’t poison our atmosphere, soil and water and we don’t say things like “if you want to build electric cars here you’ll have to hand over the intellectual property to local interests.”  Yes, that actually happened, and it was the country that we have our biggest ongoing trade deficit with.  Surprised? 
    It’s a war, an economic war, which is an improvement on mega-shooting wars to be sure.  But still with plenty of intent to take advantage, an America has been naive about it.  Because they don’t see the same old guns?  We have a great country, and it’s it up to every generation… as We the People.. to renew the promise of our Founding documents, “to promote the General Welfare” and such by standing up for each other and principle. 
    Short term measures?  Sure.  But we need to work on a range of fundamentals, or we’ll continue this worsening cycle of bubbles and busts.  How bad does it have to get, to get your full attention?
    Until then…

  • Rob says:

    September 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Mike,

    You are a defeatist. Whoa is me; we cannot compete with China. Do you believe in American exceptionalis? Besides, can you really compare the natural wealth of the U.S. to bulgaria? Dude your thinking is illogical.

  • Edward Ratner says:

    September 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    As the population ages and increasing numbers of people are disabled, but cared for by family members (rather in nursing homes), there is a growing need for support systems for those informal, hard working caregivers.  As a state, we want and need those caregivers at home.  Many would prefer to stay at home caring for their mother or father.  Yet, without some recognition and support for such caregiving, some of this group is looking for work and thus counted as unemployed. 

    Let’s create a mechanism to compensate informal caregiving for more families than just the very poor (who are on Medicaid) and move those caregivers off the tally of unemployed.

  • Rob says:

    September 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Mike, Germany - the home of the National Socialist Movement - has higher growth and lower unemployment than the good old U.S. of A. - rated the most capitalist country on earth. Please explain.

     

  • Norm says:

    September 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Lots of truth here. It was sad to see the Tea Party (and other victims of the Koch Industries propaganda machine and money) oppose universal health care, most of whom would probably have realized benefits from the changes.

    Let’s not pretend that health insurance companies deliver health care services, or offer free insurance services or do not ration care when legally possible.

    Let’s not forget the GOP fight against reducing the cost of prescription drugs a few years back (at the behest of the drug companies and their money). Lots of what now passes as news in the media is out and out propaganda that is not in the long term best interests of you and I. 

    Let’s not forget that insurance companies, public and private, negotiate greatly reduced medical payment charges for their memberships at the cost of increased rates for the uninsured and public programs that pick up their expenses. It tends to make medical expenses lower for those that can afford them and higher for those that cannot.

  • Rob says:

    September 6, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Ed,

    I think you are on to something. Properly administered, it could be a good idea.

  • Norm says:

    September 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Obviously we need to refocus on the Reagen/GOP trickle up strategy. The rich do have it all yet so there is reluctance to let any meaningful share of the wealth trickle down. Bad joke, didn’t work then, won’t work now.

    Conveniently ignored in all this discussion is that crude oil cost about $10 a barrel just a couple of decades ago, now it is $86 to $113 per barrel, depending on where you buy it. As users of 19 million barrels a day, about 70% of it imported, we have to expect some reductions in American wealth, less for those in the money than for the rest of us. We will NEVER be energy independent unless we learn to use a lot less…and that is going to happen whether we like it or not.

  • Daniel M. Fix says:

    September 6, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    I think what we need to do is elect a constitutionally amending majority of Democrats to Congress and to all of the state houses in individual states. Most business people think that the Republicans are F.O.S.  Then Congress could enact political financing reform and other legislation to make the job market more accessable to Americans. I believe that at least half of the economic problems we are seeing are due to psychological factors involving mixed signals being sent to investors, business, and the American people, by legislative deadlock.

    Specifically, I would enact legislation to forbiding the letting of government contracts to companies, businesses and individuals who send the work off shore. 

    Second, simplify the tax code to get rid of the right offs for the rich. We may consider tax on net worth instead of tax on net income. 

    Regards,

    Dan Fix

  • Randy McLaughlin says:

    September 8, 2011 at 11:07 am

    You would think that with all the labor-saving technologies that have been introduced over the decades, we’d all be able to work just a few hours per week.  Why is it that we seem to have to work longer and harder to make ends meet?  Who has reaped the benefits of all the labor-saving inventions?

    In a world where capital and technology tends to replace labor and to move whatever labor can be to places with a lower cost of living, pumping more money, including tax breaks and tax incentives, into large corporations, large banks and speculative investors is counterproductive.  Let us not forget that those who reap the most benefit from characterization as “job creators” are often the very same people whose greedy excess killed millions of jobs. 
    Local and state economic development tends to concentrate on playing a zero-sum game, enticing businesses to lay off and displace workers in some other location in order to gain jobs here.  Meanwhile other localities are playing the same game, expending lots of money to entice businesses to pull up local roots and move elsewhere.  Businesses that remain rooted to a place and provide stable employment are ignored while rivals with little comittment to locality or existing workforce are highly rewarded.

    In today’s market, many of our job training programs are also playing a zero-sum game.  If you groom one person to make them a more attractive candidate for a job it often simply means that someone else is passed over for the same job.  While people tend to have to work harder and make more sacrifices to get a job the number of available jobs and the number of job seekers remains unchanged.

    It is often said that small business is where jobs are created, but small businesses face daunting challenges.  Many simply never get off the ground because their potential founders would lose company-provided benefits if they went off on their own.  A small, local business that relies on debt financing simply cannot compete with larger competitors that have access to equity financing.  How about changing the tax incentives to make it just as attractive to invest in a local small business than it is to invest in the stock market?  How about leveling the availability and cost of healthcare rather than continuing a system that greatly disadvantages anyone who is not filling one of the shrinking number of jobs offered by big business?

    Change the paradigm.  Invest locally.  Encourage small business.  Rebuild local markets.  Enable initiative.  Encourage job-sharing.  For that matter, encourage sharing of everything.  Encourage flexibility.  Stop trying to neatly plug every job into a 40 hour week model.  Concentrate more on understanding and fixing the issues that hold individuals and small businesses back.  Work to restore the inventive, creative atmosphere that made Minnesota a national and world leader rather than just another cold, remote place.

  • Paul Harder says:

    September 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I agree with Randy’s thoughtful post…

    I just have a few thoughts. Currently there is a “buy American” law on the books for federal government purchases. It is not enforced. The Buy American Act of 1933 has been modified over the years to basically kill it’s impact on American manufacturered products.

    I would suggest that the Buy American Act be amended to remove all of the exceptions currently codified. I could be very simple. The American Government dollars used on all purchases will be used to purchase goods and services that are manufacturered entirely (all parts and sub-assemblies)in the USA by American owned companies.

    This alone would create jobs…

    All computers and most other electronic devices are built somewhere other than the USA. Our military Uniforms are made overseas. I could go on and on but you get the idea.

    A couple of other ideas. Create tax incentives for jobs (with a livible wage) in the USA and heavy tax disincentives for jobs creates outside the USA.

    Return to setting approprate tariffs for imported goods. NAFTA was supposed to create a level playing field but the USA is the only NAFTA country that abides by the tariff aspects of the agreement.

    Choose Wisely

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    September 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Randy, your most of the way there, the only thing your missing is returning the decisionmaking to the local level. To Bernice and Paul, much like medicare your beloved “single payer” is not patient based healthcare, it’s system based. That means it has litte to do with what is best for the patient and everything to do with what is best for the self serving system. It’s damn hard to accept that kind of second class healthcare when you know that better is possible. You both again gloss over the billions in medicare fraud as well as the bilions more we could expect from a buracracy run single payer program. Neither of you are at all concerned about the unsustainability of the bloated costs of mantaining said bueracracy. I will not accept such a second class system even if it includes you.

  • Rob says:

    September 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Randy and Norm,

    How can so much man-on-the-street widsom be absent in Washington D.C.? Regarding the tea party, they are portrayed as working-class folks, but the fact is thay are a very small group offered as a facade for the big money global interests. The truth is that typical tea party rallies often attract a couple of dozen people, and are often outnumbered by the media. Whereas, progressive events -often numbering in the thousands - get very little ink. This is all orchestrated by the big boys. Fact: the progressive caucus outnumbers the tea party caucus - who would have guessed that? The media is one of the biggest obstacles in saving/destroying America.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    September 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    One more thing Benice, making the statement that anyone who doesn’t see things your way should be reeducated to your way of thinking was arrogant and ignorant and you should well know it. I stand toe to toe with that kind of blatant arrogance every time I see it. We of the 62% are well aware of your kinds attitudes toward us. It is time for your kind to wake up, education level has nothing to do with IQ. Let’s look at Leck Vellesa of Poland , or Lulu of Brazil, both commoners who demonstrated intellegence far beyond their education levels. I am tired of those who hold their sheepskin up as a pedigree.

  • Rob says:

    September 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Vellesa was a socialist.

  • Paul Harder says:

    September 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Hey Bill, Single payer is only a way to pay the providers of healthcare. I agree that healthcare should be patient centered, same as you. I also am dismayed by the medicare fraud and want it stopped. I don’t blame government for the fraud, I do blame the fradulent billing entities.

    Single payer is a great way to take advantage of economies of scale. A huge risk pool and the ability to negoiate drug prices and the lack of “need” for liability insurance should bring down the cost of healthcare.

    Also what happens if you get sick or injured in a place outside your coop service area? And what if you are too poor to buy into the coop?

    Then the provider could easily be a coop like the one you are a member of…

    I’m not sure what this has to do with job generation except for keeping people healthy so they can work.

    Choose Wisely.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    September 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Thanks, Randy.  I agree. Americans should be able to work shorter hours instead of working overtime and taking work home while there are no jobs available for others who are just as well qualified.  Perhaps the current two 40-hour jobs, for instance, could turn into three 28-hour jobs.

    The obstacle would seem to be benefits. As long as we fail to see the benefits TO BUSINESS of single-payer health care, business will have to carry the burden of buying health care coverage for their employees.  Employees will have to stay with jobs they hate so as not to lose that coverage.  And small businesses will avoid hiring because the cost of health insurance is just more than they can afford.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    September 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Bill:  Sorry if I sounded arrogant. What I would like to see is not re-education camps, but constant exposure in the media of the truth about the corporate propaganda that has millions of otherwise intelligent and wise people believing that the propaganda is true because they hear it over and over and over until it seems true.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    September 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Rob, Lulu was acused of being a socialist too, but he took his country down a capitalist course far better than any of the college grads who came before him with only a 4th grade education. As for Leck, education level not ideology was the issue, read the words. Furthermore Rob, your ignorance of and demonization of the Tea Party is totally uncalled for. The Tea party is a working class kick in the teeth to the rich elitists and the sell out progressives running the GOP. I have followed this group since it’s inseption contributing to their blog just as yours. The fact is they very much were an offshoot of Ron Paul’s Campagn for Liberty, anouther group I follow regularly. You should be glad they are undermining the GOP power base rather than spewing this ignorant Democratic party hate rhetoric that has little basis in truth and does nothing to move your cause anywhere. This same foolishness has made Palin and her daughter millionaires in spite of her irrelivance.

  • Randy McLaughlin says:

    September 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    I don’t think the solution must be framed as single-payer vs the status quo.  For the sake of this discussion, what is important is decoupling employment from whatever mechanism pays for healthcare. 

    If employers are on the hook for covering an employee’s share of the cost of healthcare, they will prefer a smaller workforce working overtime to employing a larger number of workers that work less than what we currently consider a full-time job.  And if everyone is expected to have “an employer”, at least in order to avoid severe economic discrimination, that will serve as a strong disincentive to initiative.

    It’s a separate question how to structure a system that efficiently collects money from those who are well and able to pay in order to cover the cost of care of the sick.  Yes, that’s redistributive.  Get over it.  A health care system that was affordable to the chronically disabled wouldn’t be much of a health care system and one that catered only to those of wealth would lack the scale to be effective. Humans do tend to take care of their sick and wounded.  Americans are stuck with a highly inefficient payment system, one in which way too little of what is paid actually makes it to those who provide the service.  Until we come up with something that is much more efficient and which is decoupled from employment, we are going to have difficulty competing.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    September 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Paul, how is it that you have no blame for the representatives, in government, that have contiuously refused to do anything to stop the fraud in the medicare system for over 40 years now? As for the Coop structure bud, it will do everything your single payer will do with bottom up local control rather than top down one size fits all expensive bueracratic control and much cheaper. I do not propose these be stand alone entities but rather that they be connected to preform the service needed.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    September 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Benice, you and I have waltzed this trail before. The attitude that better educated people in government makes for better government has not given us better government just a more arrogant Ivy League and more dysfunctional government since the days following Jimmy Carter. Republican or Democrat your Ivy leagures have continuously raped my class, the 62%ers all this time. Let’s look at Clinton’s minimum wage increase that allowed Wall Mart and every other such Corporation to put us all on 32 hr. work weeks and pay no benifiets. That was your Ivy league trade off, not mine.

  • Dan Conner says:

    September 19, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Again, I suggest WD Billy become better informed.  Medicare has always been involved detecting and prosecuting Medicare fraud.  How does he think he knows about the fraud?  It was because Medicare (CMS) discovered it.

    Also, if he wants a more intensive effort, he needs to devote more money to enforcement in administration.  It has been Congress that has limited the amount of money CMS devotes to fraud detection/prosecution.

    Third, I think a critical factor in Medicare fraud is about who commits it.  The vast majority of fraud committed is by private providers (vendors, or contractors).  It isn’t CMS that commits the fraud and these private industry cheating providers don ‘t disappear when privatizing Medicare.  They are still there, but then fraud isn’t susally detected or prosecuted, particularly when private insureers can just pass along the cost of the fraud to insurees.

    I think WD Billy needs to lokk at issue in other than black and white.  They aren’t as simple as his mind seems to want to work.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    September 19, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Hey Danny boy, you need to watch more tv as both 60 minutes and PBS have done specials on Medicare fraud in the last yeart or so. PBS showed how fast a pharmacy in getto land can be converted into a medicare gold mine. The Russian mafia and several african organizations are also tapping our wallets. Fools like you keep wanting to minimize the losses to justify how little is really being done on the enforcement end of this fraud. When it comes to not putting the money behind enforcement, I wonder which party is refusing to do that, I think we both know.

  • Dan & Marsha Conner Conner says:

    September 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    WD Billy—I think you need to worry far less about the Russian mafia and Africans and worry far more about fraudulent Americans   A very silly farcical party called the Tea Party pushed for and elected the largest Medicare fraudster in US history.  Yes, iit was the Tea Party candidate Rick Scott, Governor of Florida.  While he was CEO, his firm was convicted of a $1.6 BILLION fraud against Medicare.  Then, the Tea Party fools elected him governor.

  • Dan Conner says:

    September 26, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Why would people elect the Republican party to lead Government when they don’t believe in Government?  Republicans have stated over and over again they want to make the Government inconsequential, drown it in a bathtub, and repeal any legislation that has to do with helping people.

    The ignorant follower party of the Republican party have been persuaded the Government is bad for their self-reliance, but it is the super-rich who really want any and all restrictions removed for their growing welath and power.  They want a plutocracy, and they are a long way to accommplishing it.  Meanwhile the ignorant on the right think they are fighting for a small government principle, when it’s really a super-large corporate and bank principle.

    Now, we can argue about how successful Government has been at doing their job of helping people, but a fool should understand that there is absolutely no committment of corporations or banks to help people.  Too amny of the weaker minder in our society have falledn for the chronic drumbeat of Government bashing over the years, by people who have had a planned reason for doing it.  Now, thesew people are convinced Government can do no good, even though its successes surround them each and every day.

  • Mike Downing says:

    September 26, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Dan,

    We elected a Republican MN House & Senate since people trust Republicans more than Democrats with our Money.

    We elected a Republican US House on 11/2/2010 and will elect a Republican US Senate on 11/6/2012 since people believe Republicans will clean up the fiscal mess that Democrats have created. People also believe Republicans match their values better since 44% of Americans are conservative and only 22% of Americans are liberal.

    It is as simple as that.

  • Dan Conner says:

    September 27, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Well Mike, I’m happy to read you are optimistic about the dimming possibility of Republicans taking over.  I particlularly chuckle at your views from your cloistered world for “world domination.”  However, I think people are tiring of the selfish and obstructive chicken-hawks from the right who really only guarantee the dismantling of the world’s only remaining superpower…the US.  There are far to many selfish and greedy people, only too willing to volunteer children from poor families to fight in wars for a country that only seeks to preserve the perks for an elite few.

    Then, there are a few “hangers-on” who think they are a part of that elite few, but who are certinly selfish, who fight to preserve special privileges for the top 2%, because they think they are among them.  Instead, we have the few Tea Party followers who gravitate to a “survival of the fittest” mentality, no doubt birthed from the events of 911. 

    The experiences of 911 have taught some people the virtues of working together and making an effort of getting along in the world, and then there is the viseral reaction of others who want to make endless wars, let people die without insurance, ridicule and bully gay patriots, coerce people into their religious views, hoot and holler in glee over governors who have executed the most people, but are too much of a chicken-hawk to demonstrate their views by defending the country that has endured their myopic views. 

    Mike, the Tea Party is not a political party as much as it is a disease.  It’s a mental reaction of hate (many times racial), isolationism, selfishness, and greed to difficult times.  Instead of rallying as a country, as we did after Pearl Harbor, Tea Partiers focus on division, hate, and faux-Christianity.  The more prevalent these malignant forces become the more assured our country’s destruction will occur.

  • Mike Downing says:

    September 27, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Dan,

    Hopefully, facts will trump opinions. I see you once again respond with judgmental opinions rather than facts.

    Gallup has issued a new poll: “Americans Express Historic Negativity Toward U.S. Government”.

    [http://www.gallup.com/poll/149678/Americans-Express-Historic-Negativity-Toward-Government.aspx]

    A large part of the negativity is based on a “do nothing” US Senate (no budget bill passed in > 800 days, etc.) and the Democrats inability to use market based incentives to create jobs in the private sector. 11/6/2012 cannot come too soon to move the US away from the failed European model and restore growth again in our once great country!

  • Mike Downing says:

    September 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Dan,

    Tea Party supporters are the silent majority who have been awakened from our sleep by the destructive ideology of liberal progressives.

    Joseph Stalin was right when he said: “America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”

    Liberal progressive socialists listened to Joseph Stalin and have been very busy destroying the fabric that held this once great nation together. The Tea Party aims to wrestle back the great country our Founding Fathers created.

    Liberal progressives like you are the truly greedy ones since you want to spend even more of our hard earned money.

    Policymakers can easily get our private sector humming again if liberal progressives understood how the private sector makes business investment decisions.
    1) Reform Corporate Income Taxes by eliminating all credits, exemptions and deductions and correspondingly reduce the tax rate. GE would pay corporate taxes, government would not pick winners & losers (government has a VERY poor track record of picking winners & losers)and the private sector would invest in the US again. The US economy would start growing again!
    2) Reform Individual Income Taxes by eliminating all credits, exemptions and deductions and correspondingly reduce the tax rate. Additionally, eliminate dividend income since the same dollar is currently taxed twice; once by corporations and once by individuals. Individuals would invest in America once again!

  • KJC says:

    September 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    You’ve earned this one fair and square Mike.  If you’re going to bring up the Communists as the experts, please don’t forget their quote: “When it comes time to hang The West, the Capitalists will be there to sell us the rope.”
    Are you really sure you want to use them as your credible experts on our democracy?

  • WAYNE THORSON says:

    September 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    When G. W. Bush lowered the taxes the Koch Brothers were worth 39 Billion dollars.  They are now worth 50 Billion dollars.  They have about 20% fewer workers employed by them now than when Bush lowered the taxes.  This is proof that welfare to the rich and trickle down Reganomics does not work.  The Koch Brothers are the biggest contributor to the Republican Party.  Not hard to figure out why.

  • Dan Conner says:

    September 28, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Mike—

    So, you berate a “do-nothing” Congress?  Do you forget about the historic record setting number of filibusters in the Senate virtually halting any legislation?  Did you also forget about how the Tea Party threatens funding for the Government at the drop of a hat.  The lastest is to demand that FEMA funding for disaster victims has to come out of another Federal program?  It is undeniably hypocritical to indict Congress for being “do-nothing” when your party has CAUSED it. 

    As I stated before, the Tea Party is not as a much a political movement as a disease of hate, fear, selfishness and greed in our country.  It threatens the fabric of our country and threatens ruin.  People like you, who cause inaction, are blaming it.  It’s as if you killed someone and then blame him/her for laying around.

    Mike, there is not a single Christian value in the values you stand for.  The commonality of all the Tea Party is that they don’t wnat to pay taxes and they don’t want to pay for the services of Government.  Guess what?  Somalia has that kind of Government.  Why don’t you try it there?

  • Dan Conner says:

    September 28, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Mike—

    You are calling the Tea Party a silent majority?  You’re making me laugh.  Surely you jest.  First, it is anything but silent.  It is generally rude and offensive.  It is so rude that it forces others to be rude and assertive just to be heard.  And majority?  For one who demands use of facts to back them up, you are woefully uninformed.  The Tea Party represent a small majority of even the Repbulican Party, let alone majority of people in our country.  Many have referred to the Tea Party as the lunatic right of the Republican party. 

    If the Tea Party ruled even the Republican party, Michelle Bachmann would the the Republican nominee.  Afterall, she claims to be the Tea Party Presidential candidate.  Another confirming fact about the Tea Party credentials is that she is nuts, as are so many in the Tea Party.  The party is filled with malcontents, racists and people burdened with more than their share of hate and fear.  In fact, so much hate and fear, that they are hypocritical in about most every stand they have.

    Tea Partiers stand as anti-Government, as long as the Government doesn’t change Medicare,  Against Social Security, as long as the Government doesn’t change their benefit, militantly pro-life people who love to execute people at the drop of a hat, against help from the Government until they, or their state experiences a disaster, against stimulus, until stimulus money is spent in their district, and then they attend the ribbon-cuttings bragging about their helpful role in getting the money.  How about lofty speeches with concerns the national debt has on their children, but who owe over $100,000 in back child support? 

    Oh, but these were but such a small sampling of the hypocrises and lies of the Tea Party.  They are so full of the braggadocio about their plurality when facts demonstrate they are but a small wacky fringe group of the GOP.  It is amazing about how bold so few can become when in such a small group.

    The one thing we can agree on is that our country is in a death spiral.  However, not from the “liberal” programs enacted in the past.  We are in the death spiral because of the myopic and threatening views of the Tea Party.  They are the cancer eating away at our country.  Tea Party, silent majority?  Are you joking?  They are loud and rude, not even convinced by birth certificates that the President is US born.  They believe he is Muslim, even though he regularly attends Christian churches.  The Tea Party is a joke, but a potentially violent one at that.

  • Mike Downing says:

    September 28, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Dan,

    So many words but just the same old worn out thoughts.

    Why does it take liberals 3X the number of words to express themselves compared to conservatives?

  • Dan Conner says:

    September 29, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Mike—It’s because Tea Partiers are used to only looking at the pictures, and everyone knows pictures are worth a thousand words.