Brown on the Air: SHUTDOWN?

The “Between You and Me” program on 91.7 KAXE this Saturday morning represents a bit of a departure. The show, which begins at 10 a.m. and runs until noon, dedicates its weekly discussion to the impending state government shutdown. I’ll be joining the conversation with my usual weekly commentary, this time sounding a bit more like the stuff I write here.

I recently suggested that northern Minnesota would be disproportionately affected by the shutdown. This is why we’re dedicating the show on Saturday to the topic as people in the audience will on the front lines of the shutdown. My commentary might explain why I didn’t get into the tit-for-tat budget politics of the session, even when egged on my comments here at the blog.

For one thing, I am a state worker and am nervous myself. Fortunately for my students and my family MNSCU was exempted from the shutdown. We’ll be allowed to finish our summer session and start the fall semester on time regardless of the negotiations. But we still don’t have a budget and all of this still leaves many important state functions and workers on the furlough list. People are going to notice very soon that the issue is big and won’t go away without great political effort.

The other reason I laid off the arguments during the session is the futility of debate when there is no give and take. Busy people don’t have time to try to talk people out of a political position held in the same part of the brain as religion. This is true of liberals, but especially true of the newest incarnation of the conservative movement — which combines the cocksure theories of libertarianism with the inflexibility of fundamentalism. This movement holds particular sway over the GOP held House and Senate.

Gov. Dayton, while assuredly a liberal, isn’t particularly dogmatic. He’d trade on any number of issues to get a deal. But lacking a the convenient “no new taxes”-like line the Republicans have he’s selected taxing the wealthy as his sticking point. He wants the Republicans to move just a little on revenue so he can call it break even. But they haven’t. And one is left asking why, short of carnage in the streets, would they start now? They must be offered something they want.

So we head for a shutdown. Personally, I am a friend and informal advisor of Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL-Balsam). I am proud that he announced he wouldn’t take a salary during any potential shutdown. This is a political problem. The politicians need to be made uncomfortable for any progress to happen. Not just some of them, but all.

The Saturday morning conversation on “Between You and Me” aims to be respectful and wide-ranging and will run from 10 a.m. to noon on 91.7 FM in northern Minnesota and streaming live all over the world at

I am curious what music producer/host Heidi Holtan will bring to the table to exemplify the theme this week? Might I suggest “Street Fighting Man” by the Rolling Stones?

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