We don’t collapse, we fall hard on purpose!

Salon.com details four ways that America could collapse in the next 15 years. Good news: most of the ways are fairly bloodless. Bad news: this is a thing.


  1. Wow. Someone at Salon has a vivid imagination. I agree that America’s global dominance will likely fall, but I hardly see us stealing oil rigs in the Middle East and becoming a new generation of Nazi murderers. We’ll lose our title as global champion and continue on as we always have, just like every other country. Such things need not be so dramatic.

  2. I lean your way Paul..I’ve travelled to the past empires, they still seem to enjoy life.

  3. IRRRB is too busy putting in baseball parks where more deer eat/play than people. I hope we, on the Range, take an interest who the new Governor appoints as it’s citizen watchman. Jack Ryan did a wonderful job trying to hold back the frivolous spending of the board. I suggest that everyone goes to a IRRRB meeting to see how money is being spent. The good news is there are a couple of bars 2 miles north on 53, cause you’ll need a drink after that…. Believe me.

  4. Not really related to this post, but nevertheless I think you’ll find plenty of Democrats — though few in office — that also recoil at some of the spending decisions made at the agency this past decade or so.

    I’m not sure which baseball field you’re talking about but I would point out, at the risk of being contrary, that the point of the mining tax money is that it replaces money that is NOT collected through property taxes. The only Minnesota businesses that pay no property taxes are mines, and they pay production taxes instead. The idea is that the communities affected by mining can benefit in ways, both economic and social, from the revenue, much like city funds go to libraries, parks and such, even though these things unrelated to commerce. The mines benefit by only paying taxes on products they can sell.

    I’m not saying the field you’re questioning was inherently a good idea, but funding parks and libraries and public functions around the Range is the primary, the fundamental reason the agency exists, with economic development only added later.

  5. Thank goodness our state doesn’t hammer the mining industry with more taxes than they already pay. When are we up here going to understand that companies who are not taconite related can go to S.Dakota, Texas or other states that encourage business to start up or relocate. Use some of the “production tax” to lure companies up here. I’m personally worried that with the new Governor and his “we’ll balance our budget woes on the back of the wealthy” won’t help getting much needed new industry to the Range. I’d like a list of the Dems that oppose IRRRB spending and what projects they voted against.

  6. sigh. You need to understand the relationship between property taxes and IRR production taxes. They should be considered to be similar in function. Then you need to understand the DIFFERENCE between state income and corporate taxes and these taxes. The stuff about South Dakota and all that, which I find to be more rhetorical than realistic, is related to state taxes. This is about a wholly different revenue stream, related to a highly specific local economy, existing unlike anything in the country, to our benefit (when managed well, as has not always been the case).

    I’ve written about Excelsior Energy and other projects. I’ve written quite a bit about agency policy. I’m not going to do a list for you. It is a nuanced problem.

  7. Sigh… Of course it’s about creating an environment to bring industry to the Range, which is not happening, or do you know something I don’t know. It includes giving business an incentive to be here, we have a high state tax, high property tax. I’m suggesting using the IRRRB money not on a library, ball parks and ATV trails but on helping new industry to come here. The usage of that money (millions) up to this point hasn’t created new jobs. We’re dying up here not on our freaking library being outdated but the simple fact we don’t have new jobs coming to our area. Haphazard economic planning has to end. I spend a lot of time in Cities, they think we’re pro union, anti-business up here and don’t feel comfortable bringing their companies here. Shockingly they are going to S. Dakota and other places that are giving them financial incentives.

  8. Your perception is reality Anon..Not only do Cities (all) businesses THINK we’re pro union, anti-business, they know so.

    Just look at the voting records of local politicians…using any of numerous groups which study this issue, not just the Chamber of Commerce.

    Your thougt to use the majority of IRR/IRRRB funds towards incentives which attract new business develoment is good. Still gonna have a heck of time overcoming the strong, historical union issue though. It’s not a pay issue. It’s the inflexible “we/they” attitude which leads to low productivity. i.e..I can’t change my own light bulb, I have to call a electrician, etc.

  9. It does my old heart good to hear from another person up here who understands how we’re looked at from outside the area. I have knock down drag outs with all my friends who work in the mines about this issue. They feel an ATV trail that’ll take them to their favorite stand is more important than giving money to a business to get them started/ established up here. Narrow thinking will kill chances for our grandchildren to make it in a beautiful spot to live.

  10. There are two issues here. One is the aesthetic appeal of the Range as a place to live. This is where public works projects have value. Indeed, one of the frustrating things about living here is watching the decline, both in appearance and economically. Other cities have trails and parks and fields and we deserve them too. Again, remember, the money we’re talking about is the equivalent of Range-wide local property tax. In moderation, it’s within bounds to use this money to make the experience of living on the Range better. The cities are increasingly unable to do things like this, for reasons that are complicated.

    The second issue, the one the two or more of you are talking about, is the idea of “economic incentive” and business growth on the Iron Range. This is, I agree, more important than the other but must be considered in context. Additionally, we must understand what a weird state agency like IRR can do and what it can’t.

    You’ll see that “incentives” in the form of loans, grants and other perks for private interests are to be had in great amounts, certainly greater than anything you’ll find in other defined regions, other than reservations. To some degree, the error has been in the haphazard and poorly accounted-for way the “incentives” have been handed out. I’ve harped on the wasted $9.5 million on Excelsior Energy over and over again. What if that money had instead been spent on expansion or innovation grants for small businesses hiring a dozen people apiece? Same number of jobs, higher likelihood of success and retained economic growth.

    No, it’s not the unions, though I’m aware of the mentality you speak of. I think if you talk to the tradespeople in this region you’ll find a group very willing to do business, to deal fairly. Attitudes within the Range culture can hold us back, but that’s a two-way street. Some of what you describe are old stereotypes and an aging perspective on labor issues.

    Deeper, I think the Range’s problems are as much social/cultural as they are political/economic. People here need to believe in some kind of future and they need to like living here better than living somewhere else. That’s a big challenge. Huge. And waiving TIF districts at sheet metal companies from Sioux Falls won’t solve the problem. Certainly not in and of themselves. A prosperous region attracts those companies through the private marketplace. A region that attracts them through whoring itself out attracts the lowest common denominator.

    Would any of the anons in the group like to write a guest post under a byline? I’d run it here and we could talk more.

  11. We better start advertising the fact that we have incentives to be had. I go to Sioux Falls often, other than pheasants, we have that place beat. To S. Dakota’s credit they are growing in a stagnant economy. Their perception is business friendly ours is anti-business. That has to change.

  12. Why are the Dakotas growing in a stagnant economy? One might be inclined to assume it’s because they’re full of Real Americans who work hard, unlike the filthy ne’er-do-wells who make up most of the American population–if one were a knee-jerk ideologue, anyhow.

    Based on what I’ve read though, my impression is that North Dakota is growing because of high agricultural prices and high energy prices, while South Dakota’s growth was driven primarily by the financial sector, which I suspect has something to do with the fact that that fair state’s lack of limitations on usury have encouraged numerous rapacious financial institutions to set up shop there.

    But I could be wrong.

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