Bonding spat ends in election season splat

"You blew it up." Scene from "Planet of the Apes" (1968).

“You blew it up.” Scene from “Planet of the Apes” (1968).

Last week, Minnesota legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton abandoned hope of a special session this year. That means that the legislature’s failure to pass a bonding bill, and Gov. Dayton’s veto of the tax bill, will stand through this November’s election.

This sort of thing can happen with divided government. Gov. Dayton is a member of Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor party and the DFL controls the State Senate. Republicans control the State House of Representatives. The increased partisanship of our times leaves both sides more comfortable with broken talks and stalemates. Nevertheless, this particular partisan breakdown is especially big and especially frustrating.

At the center of it all: disagreement about one project, the Southwest Light Rail (SWLR) Transit project connecting Eden Prairie to downtown Minneapolis. Republicans detest the expensive investment in transit and would not include it in the House bill. Meanwhile suburban DFLers, led by State Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park), insisted upon it as a condition of passing the bonding bill out of the Senate.

Over this, leaders blew up the special session.

In the big picture, this failure affects much more than one rail project. The move stymies hundreds of millions in capital investments and repairs at state facilities, bridges, roads, water treatment facilities and other public projects. Duluth’s DFL Mayor Emily Larson shared her frustration with this process, citing expensive and now wasted resources used for planning and preparing projects.

Why is this Southwest Light Rail so important?

Rail proponents seem to be saying that this is a project their constituents want, so who cares what the rest of the state thinks? This is what they want to negotiate for and that’s their right. We don’t apply the same litmus test to other projects in other districts. So why would we in this case? Urban and suburban lawmakers represent high population areas, yet are often asked to defer to the Iron Range, farm country, or regional centers. No more.

Rail opponents seem to be saying that investing in the Southwest Rail project would move the state toward more investment in rail in general, something they think is less useful than investing exclusively in roads and bridges. Even if those districts want a train, they shouldn’t pay for it with state bonding money. They also point out process-oriented complains about how the SWLR deal was formed.

So they’re doing this for different reasons — one side to get something their constituents want, the other serving constituents who don’t want other districts to get this specific thing. Both see the Nov. 8 election as the final solution.

The core problem, however, is that Republican and DFL leaders both gambled, but not on the same bet.

GOP leaders look to the rural districts they won two years ago and say that supporting roads instead of trains helps them there. And that might well be the case.

Meanwhile, Senate DFLers have a tight hold on their seats. Majority Leader Tom Bakk, whose leash has became almost as short as Speaker Kurt Daudt’s in the House, needs the votes from his suburban caucus to stay in power. And while Trump might play well in Greater Minnesota, he is poison in the suburbs, where the Senate DFL’s most vulnerable incumbents are found.

If the GOP holds its rural House seats and the DFL holds its suburban Senate seats, both would have to find swing seats somewhere else.

It’s true, the Republican caucus in the House has a harder time finding votes for “regular government function” sorts of things because of a very strong anti-government sub-caucus. But the fact that the Senate DFL blocked the sans-train bonding bill in the regular session, and refused to give in the subsequent special session negotiations, shows that the other side is picking up the tactic.

It’s hard to say what voters might do this November. On one hand, this whole mess would seem bad for incumbents of all stripes. Yet, I wouldn’t expect voters to use “cohesive bonding strategy” as their prime reason for voting one way or another.

As a result, the most likely outcome seems like exactly what we have now: a GOP House and a DFL Senate, each of which will hold the same position on this matter in January that they do right now.

Perhaps I’m wrong, and the DFL picks up the House and the whole works sails through. Voters decide to blame the GOP more than the DFL for what happened. It’s possible. More likely, however, we are left to confront the continued failure of divided government in an age of partisan tribalism.


  1. There is much to criticize in both parties. But more of the positions and theories held by the republicans trend on nutwadism. It would surely be in the best interests of Minnesota as a whole for the DFL to regain control of the House.

  2. You’re right on Alan. Then we’d address the states critical issues, like building three or four new bathrooms in all schools state-wide to meet the needs of all different peeing styles. We’ve been talking about roads, bridges and choo-choos..and spending billions on ’em since the first, second and third stimulus. Long enough!

    It’s high time we get on to spending on the important DFL issues….urinals & bidets.

    • Yeah, we don’t needs roads and bridges. God gave us legs for a reason: to walk and swim, not to parade about in those newfangled horseless carriages! Bridges and roads are for sissies!

    • I guess intolerance is your new brand, R47.

      • Just working hard to keep Mpls/St. Paul from making the top ten list Gerald. I’m more concerned with the Range but the “Cities” are too large & too important to ignore. The trends, the facts say it might be too late though. So go the cities, so goes Minnesota.

        What do the top ten cities in the U.S. with the highest poverty rate all have in common?

        • R47, the rooster crows and the sun comes up, but the sun doesn’t come up because the rooster crows.

          Back in high school, one of the things my teachers tried to make clear was the difference between cause and effect. Your observation is a good example of getting that backward. As David Gray made clear on another thread, and as you commented on your now famous white supremacy post, it would be crazy for low income people or minorities to vote GOP.

          • As I said Gerald, we’ve reached the tipping point. The low income & certain minorities receive way too much “free” stuff from the working class folks for doing nothing to vote otherwise. (We all know it’s not “free”, it’s stolen from others). They’re not stupid….yet their initiative and self-determination has been destroyed by the DEM’s. Sad..

          • R47, that is the most insulting and patronizing of all arguments, that the reason minority people and poor people are poor is their own fault — as you say, they have lost their initiative and self-determination, otherwise they would have the good sense to have been born middle class white people.

            Of course a father who works three minimum wage jobs or a mother who comes home for an hour after work at Walmart before heading out to clean offices is lazy and lacks initiative, otherwise they would have had the gumption to be born in a suburb, attended a school where the funding was not destroyed by the GOP congress and legislature, gone to an Ivy League college, and been given a six figure job by one of their frat brothers.

            And of course the “stuff” the government gives is “stolen.” Anything that goes to poor and nonwhite people is stolen, but money spent on middle class and upper class whites is earned, as all the congressmen demanding money for Baton Rouge but who voted against money for Sandy victims will be glad to tell you. After all, the flooding is a natural disaster, but Sandy was because everyone in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut had lost their initiative.

  3. And of course, the idea of creating a program of lasting funding to meet the need to repair, maintain, and build roads, bridges, and mass transit is anathema to the GOP, who demand that transportation must compete for funds with schools, health care, higher ed, and rainy day savings rather than have a plan for lasting dedicated funding.

    To add to everything, with the Southwest Rail veto they are demanding that transportation in the Twin Cities must compete with transportation in Greater Minnesota, even though the Twin Cities actually will fund the program out of their own pocket and still send added money to Greater Minnesota. In fact, the Twin Cities delegation is actually asking for a new sales tax for the Metro Area that would fund all Twin Cities transportation independently without impact on the rest of the state, but GOP “no taxes” policy is blocking that too.

  4. Gerald, excellent cause and effect tutorials but much too logical for angry white guys. Of course, even members of the lucky sperm club could lose everything, become destitute through unfortunate circumstances beyond their control or simply because they blew up their own lives themselves but it would still be the fault of Dems, liberals and the undeserving getting all the free stuff.

    I still think R47 is a troll. Hard to believe people can be that clueless.

    • Everyone starts out in life bare-ass naked equal kissa. Some folks are fortunate enough to have a Mom & Dad who help ’em out in their early years to get ’em on their feet, some less so.

      However, everyone has God given abilities to eventually do something for themselves. Then….the DEM’s step in with “free” hand-outs, and encourage the less fortunate to become dependent on the government…and greatly diminish their incentive to ever carry their own weight.

      And the DEM’s do this with other peoples money, yet pompously claim THEY did a good deed. It’s a two-fold evil what they do kissa, pure evil.

    • Independant says

      I am sorry but “angry white guys” is so played out I could puke. If anyone and I mean anyone of able body and mind works through their life consistently putting in true extra effort which may require an 80hr+ work week from time to time and continuing to educate themselves they will be successful. There will be ups and downs in that path but if you work hard I don’t care where in life you started you will rise to a level of success. The mechanisms in place to help assist those who are from a minority class weather it be race or gender are extensive. We should spend our energy as a country encouraging all children regardless of race or gender to not be afraid of hard work be it physical or mental and insist on giving them a real meat and potatoes education about personal responsibility and financial understanding throughout their elementary and high school education. Maybe I am too young and my mind is not stuck in the past but I feel if we continue to perpetuate a narrative to any minority group that they can not be successful and its not their fault that the system is stacked against them that helps to continue a self fulfilling prophecy which essentially keeps that group in perpetual poverty as second class citizens.

      • The sad fact is that America is near the bottom as far as the opportunity for social and economic mobility compared with other developed nations, and especially Western European nations. Data set after data set shows that Americans have the largest likelihood of staying in the same economic class as their parents of any developed country.

        The key fact is not the self fulfilling prophecy of despair, but rather the stacked deck for opportunity. In education in the US, affluent and middle class communities spend a lot more on education than low income communities do simply because of the way education is financed in the US. This is much more pronounced in other states, especially the red states of the Sunbelt, but can even be seen in MN, where places like Edina, Eden Prairie, and White Bear Lake spend way more money. And, surprise, it turns out that measured achievement on testing almost exactly mirrors community income averages. This disadvantage or advantage then cascades onward to greater levels of post secondary ed achievement to access to better paying jobs and more opportunity.

        Another important factor is the impact of low income on parenting. Contrary to the beliefs of some people, most low income people work, and in fact, most low income people actually work more hours than most middle income people because they work low paying jobs that require extra work to make ends meet. This means that parents spend more time away from their kids, are not available for child related activities from reading to their kids to working in children sports to attending school events and even teacher conferences. Middle class parents are available to help kids with homework while low income parents are out working the evening shift at McDonalds to supplement their low paying daytime job. Plus low income people tend to work jobs that are more disruptive, with more irregular schedules and ad hoc scheduling that prevents all sorts of commitments to other things.

        While it is true that high income people also tend to work long hours, they have the advantage of money in dealing with the child rearing issues that entails. One parent may actually be able to not work and be available as a full time parent. All sorts of parental surrogates, from high priced nannies to expensive extra experiences are available.

        All this does not mean it is totally impossible to succeed from a low income birth. It just means it is a lot harder, and that many fewer people make the jump.

        This does not mean that low income people have to be second class citizens either. We can make choices as a country that make the myth of America as a land of opportunity a true story. Start by raising the minimum wage to a level that can support a family, especially with two wage earners working one job each — the minimum wage is an education and children’s issue. Offer pre-school and day care that makes it more possible for families to care well for their children, giving the advantages that higher earners have to all Americans. Spend a more equal amount of money on schools, or better yet, follow the medical care model and spend more on those who need it more — in almost every other developed country education is a national, not local, responsibility. Provide more and better pre-natal health care and child health care, since data shows that pre-natal, infant, and child health is a strong influence on educational achievement and on lifetime achievement and earnings. Create a national housing program to end childhood homelessness and substandard living conditions associated with health and life problems.

        In the US we love to talk about the value of hard work, but unfortunately we don’t really believe it. We are more than willing to devalue and exploit the work of large numbers of people in this country and pass that devaluation on to their kids.

        Of course this all tromps on the ideas of people who were born on third base and think they hit a triple. It also tromps on our tradition of “rugged individualism,” which in reality means socialism for the wealthy and capitalism for the poor. And it stomps on the dreams of people who think that the US reached its apex in the 50’s, when white men did well, but women, blacks, Latinos, Indigenous, Asian-Americans, and even often Jews were excluded from opportunities open only to those white men. In a labor pool that excluded 65% of the population,of course those who had the privileges did well. That is the world that white supremacists long for.

        There are two ways of looking at our country. One is that we are each an island, unconnected with each other. The other is to look below the water and realize that all the islands are really connected.

        • Independant says

          You proved my point. You are stewing in the “unfairness” that comes from what socioeconomic class we are born into and not the “fairness” of wide open opportunity this great country offers everyone, yes everyone.

          • The “wide open fairness” is a myth. We are measurably much less fair than any other Western country. You can look it up.

            The myth of fairness makes a nice fantasy for people to use to justify selfishness, but it’s only true in fiction. It’s easy to think things are fair when you are on top.

        • A lot of words to say “woe is me” Gerald. Work hard, add value, educate yourself, get a job is my response to all your liberal b.s. Life is tough…even tougher when you’re stupid and lazy.

      • Couldn’t have said it better Independant..In addition, it’s amazing the respect all / anyone gets who puts in the effort you describe. Hard work and educating oneself is looked up to by all….and available to all.

  5. R47, all babies are not born bare-ass equal! The poorer the woman, the poorer the pre-natal care she is able to get means it’s much more likely that baby will have health issues. And so it goes, higher probability of reduced choices, opportunities, good health care for that baby throughout his/her life unless she/he manages with some luck and others extending helping hands to overcome the high odds stacked against her/him. This is not difficult to figure out!
    Wages have been stagnant for decades. The 2007-09 financial crisis knocked millions of hard working folks off their foundations and many never have recovered. Our food shelves have a difficult time keeping up with the needs. People who used to donate to food shelves have to resort to using food shelves themselves until they can get back on their feet. For several years teachers have been packing food for students to take home knowing they go hungry when not in school. United Way and other groups have back pack programs. Map the Meal Gap 2016 report shows 19.6% of Northland’s youth don’t have access to enough food to maintain healthy active lives. People on assistance still work 2 or 3 jobs and if they get food stamps, think how hard it is to feed your family on $4 per person a day, especially growing children. There aren’t enough jobs here that pay enough to pay for the basic living expenses, housing, transportation, food, clothing, Do you really believe that most of these folks want to be dependent on the government? That they are living high off the hog?
    How does cutting food stamps and other government assistance even more while the circumstances haven’t improved for those needing the assistance make them more “incentivized” to try harder to find those still too few livable wage jobs, etc, etc? I doubt that you are concerned about what happens to them at all or what happens to your community. After all, they are just stealing directly from your own wallet. What Ind Republican John Johnston said a couple of years ago is right in line with your words, “For almost three generations people have been given handouts. They have been enabled so much that their paradigm in life is simply being given the stuff of life, however meager. (At least Johnston acknowledges the “free stuff” is meager) “People are not hurting enough or simply happy enough that they will do nothing. No one has the guts to just let them wither and die.” Are you two related, Ranger?

    • Wages have been deservedly stagnant for those whom deserve stagnant wages kissa. The best way to increase your wage is increase your value..dah. (Raising the minimum wage? How stupid. Ask Gordy Skaar at Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Coleraine what having to pay all employees the new minimum wage of $9.50 has done to his payroll. Half his employees are gone due to this legislation. Once you’re forced to pay people more than they’re worth, you either fire ‘em or you go out of business). Another economics 101 dah.

      You talk food stamps? We’ve had more damn destructive welfare programs since the 60’s than you can shake a stick at. Where has it gotten us? Nowhere! Get rid of all government assistance and watch people start to excel, get motivated, educate themselves and find work. I just spoke to a teacher at ICC this morning. 13 of his 15 students are people that are laid off from the mines. Amazing! The sad part is he said when the mines call them back to work, half of them quit school and go back to the mines. Stupid!

      Regarding food shelves? Let it all go back to the families, neighbors and churches…like it used to be. Government should stay the hell out of feeding people. That isn’t there job. Your family, your neighbors and the churches can more than handle those that might “wither and die”. And they’ll do it the right way. Shaming ‘em to get off their dead asses and get to work!

    • Better yet kissa, ask those who lost their jobs at Eagle Ridge golf course what they think of the wonderful minimum wage hike. I’ll get there names for you if you wish..

  6. Independent, If you are sick of angry white guy, how about white privilege? It’s a pretty safe bet that you are white, pretty obvious actually. So you laid out that no matter where anyone starts out, be it gender, minority status and I assume, poverty plus the extensive mechanisms in place to assist them, everyone can put forth the effort, work hard and they can achieve a level of success. Uh huh. How do you know this? It’s not from personal experience so how do you know that opportunity in this country is wide open to everyone? Got any close friends or family members that aren’t white or comfortable middle class? Have you ever imagined living your life from the time you were born as a minority, female or living below the poverty line or maybe all three to make it really interesting? Do you really believe opportunities would have been just as open for you?

    I am white but I’m not living in some kind of cocoon that seals off hundreds of years of well-documented white privilege and white privilege hasn’t died away. You just don’t want to see it.

    • Independant says

      Kissa, Yes like you I am white. Yes I have family that aren’t white. Yes I have family that aren’t comfortable middle class. I have family members that aren’t comfortable middle class who are white and do not put much effort if any into bettering themselves or their situation. I have family members that are not white that are successful because they decided to put in the hard work and effort of bettering themselves in life. As far as opportunities, I have specifically lost out on multiple opportunities in my career due to the fact that I was not a female or non white because of advantages given to those groups when competing for certain contracts. However I am not bitter about that and I want everyone to realize that those types of “advantages” are out there for anyone from a “minority” race or gender and hope that it would provide even more incentive for people of any class to go after life and make it what you want.

      • I think that it is pretty clear what R47 and Independent are saying: people are poor because they are “stupid and lazy,” and large numbers of people have chosen not to have decent lives because they just can’t be bothered. So of course it is unfair to ask that the government create programs using their taxes for help for these “stupid, lazy,” people who are unwilling to put in “the hard work and effort of bettering themselve in life,” and instead prefer to take advantage of the life of ease of working 70 hours a week for minimum wage, and don’t care what happens to their kids.

        Life is naturally divided between good people who are well off because they are honest, industrious, and virtuous, and mentally defective and morally depraved lazy no goods who deserve whatever happens to themselves and their children. The reason we have so much less social and economic mobility in the US than in other countries is because we just have too many of these defective people.

        I actually remember this idea — it’s called Social Darwinism and goes hand in hand with its cousins, eugenics and racial supremacy.

        Now that they’ve explained it it is just so obvious and brilliant. I plan to nominate them for the Nobel Prize.

        • Your premise is wrong Gerald, It’s not that they can’t be bothered; it’s cause you and your ilk continue to enable their lifestyle with other peoples money. Stop it…and watch ’em change. Or enable them with your own money.

          • “Lazy,” stupid,” and “do not put in much effort” are all direct quotes from you and Independent and among the main reasons you offer for why America has such poor social and economic mobility and so many families trapped in low incomes. At least re-read your own posts before issuing a new response. If you want to retract all those insults to so many struggling hard working people and revert to your usual form of just insulting Democrats and praising white supremacy, be my guest.

        • Independent says

          Incredibly gross distortion of anything I said. In trying to paint me as some kind of racist you have only shown you are a bitter person, I wish you more success in your life.

          • Again, I suggest you re-read what you said. Your stated position is that having a low income is the fault of the people with low incomes, since if they just worked hard enough they could easily be successful.

            Maybe you just lost track of what you were saying.

            Apparently repeating your own quotes makes me seem bitter?

          • I’m confused. What did Independent say that was so offensive? Ranger47 said stuff that could be taken as offensive. Independent didn’t say anything about any path to easy success. He talked about working hard to bring about some level of success in life. It feels more like you are trying to argue that a person born into low income should not try in life because the deck is just so stacked against them?
            Maybe the playing field could be leveled out a bit more to provide a little more cushion to make sure that everyone who works hard in life can reach some level of success. That doesn’t mean we should be enabling people to be making excuses for themselves, and causing them to not even try.

      • Independent: “There will be ups and downs in that path but if you work hard I don’t care where in life you started you will rise to a level of success.”

        He is saying, in so many words, that if a person has not risen to a level of success, it is because they did not work hard.

        It is easy to come to conclusions like that if you are born into a privileged position, if almost everyone you know has been able to “rise to a level of success,” and if the only people you know who are not successful have failed because of their own poor choices. However, the data shows that many, many people in the US fail despite working harder than many middle class people, and that the US is actually the most difficult Western country to rise in, based on the facts.

        This is an illustration of a principle that was one of the first things taught in my training — do not draw conclusions based only on your own experience, but instead rely on proven and tested information. Otherwise you might end up deciding the world is flat.

        And yes, in that context, the statement that anyone who has not succeeded has not succeeded because of their own lack of effort is offensive, because it insults millions of Americans who work very hard but never rise out of poverty.

        And no, that does not mean that they should not try. But it means we should not stop trying to remedy the problems that stand in the way of success for so many hard working people.

  7. Independent says

    I suggest you re-read my posts. I think you sir are the one that is confused. I would like all to be inspired and motivated by focusing heavily on the many opportunities in life. I do not see any productive dialogue coming out of this conversation so I think I will leave it at that.

  8. I would also like to be inspired and motivated, but I am unfortunately aware of the reality that many Americans are not living a life of privilege, and do not choose to ignore that by focusing on a fantasy.

    I agree that the conversation is unlikely to make a difference, and agree we should probably quit.

  9. A white person wrote an essay about coming from the kind of Poor that people don’t want to believe still exists in this country but by freak chance got into grad school and not until she was in her thirties could she believe someone from her stock could achieve such a thing. She was constantly discriminated against as a child and the wounds still run deep saying that she can completely understand why broke white folks (and not so broke white folks) get furious when the word “privilege” gets thrown around. She resented being called privileged until she realized the many aspects to the concept of privilege.
    There are many types of privilege that we are born into that impact the way we can move through the world or are discriminated against. It’s what we are born into, not what we have earned that afford us opportunities others may not have. The concept of intersectionality recognizes that people can be privileged in some ways and definitely not privileged in others.
    Citizenship: Simply being born in this country gives you certain privileges non-citizens will never access.
    Class: Being born into a financially stable family can help guarantee your health, happiness, safety, education, intelligence and future opportunities.
    Sexual Orientation: By being born straight, every state affords you privileges that non-straight folks have had to fight the Supreme Court for.
    Sex: By being born male, you can walk through a parking garage without worrying you will be raped, being sexually harassed on the job or get equal pay for equal work.
    Ability: By being born able-bodied, you probably don’t have to plan your life around handicap access or other special needs.
    Gender: If you are born cisgender, you don’t need to worry that the restroom or locker room you use will provoke public outrage or that you will be verbally or physically attacked.
    Middle class, educated people just assume that anyone can achieve their goals if they work hard enough.
    Recognizing Privilege in it’s many forms isn’t about suffering guilt or shame for our lots in life. And nobody is saying that Straight White Class Able-Bodied Males are all a bunch of jerks who don’t work hard for what they have. It’s not their fault they were born with these privileges which can be like winning a lottery they didn’t even know they were playing.
    It’s also understandable that people don’t recognize the various forms of isms, racism, misogynism, etc if they have never, ever experienced one or any of them. Most women can instantly recognize subtle and not so subtle forms of sexist and misogynist behavior that even the least sexist, most evolved (for lack of a better term) will completely miss. Anecdotally, I have seen this happen several times when a group of men and women are together and one guy says something, not blatant or overt but dismissive or condescending to a woman and shows no interest in including the women in the conversations. Later women will point this out to their male partners who are a bit taken aback because they didn’t even notice. It’s a kind of a revelation to them.
    We are all privileged in many ways. Recognizing our privileges is simply being aware that some people have to work much harder just to experience what we take for granted, if they can even experience them at all.

  10. Somewhere along the way we were discussing the impact of Minnesota’s new minimum. Below is a directly related story and job loss facts…

    DC Minimum Wage Hike Linked To Largest Loss Of Restaurant Jobs In 15 Years

    The minimum wage hike in Washington, D.C, is already devastating employment in the region and is linked to the largest loss of restaurant jobs in the last 15 years.

    Officials raised the minimum wage in July of 2015 to $10.50 per hour, up from $8.25 since 2014. The Employment Policies Institute revealed in a May report that 48 percent of District businesses had already reduced staff or cut hours to deal with the increases since 2014. In the first six months of 2016, the restaurant industry in D.C. lost roughly 1,400 jobs, a historic drop for a six-month period, according to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

    The minimum wage rose again in the District July 1 to $11.50 per hour, and will continue to rise over the next four years to $15 per hour by 2020.

    “This new report should serve as a warning to cities and states considering major minimum wage hikes like D.C.’s,” Jeremy Adler, AEI communications director, said in a statement. “The statistics don’t lie – they show a clear correlation between big minimum wage increases and jobs losses. It’s a reminder that there are serious consequences to these misguided labor policies.

    • You and the far right American Enterprise Institute are cherry picking, R47. For each article like this there are a dozen studies showing improved job markets and incomes — Seattle, San Francisco, etc. etc. etc.

      The takeaway here is to look at data on general academic sites, not on right wing think propaganda sites.

  11. Come on Gerald, give me some data, not left/right, red/blue b.s.

    • Seattle raised minimum wage to $15. The city GDP increased, employment increased, jobs for people in the minimum wage category increased, including food service jobs, and overall incomes increased.

      San Francisco raised minimum wage to $13. City GDP increased, employment increased, jobs for minimum wage earners increased, including food service jobs, and overall incomes increased.

      Los Angeles raised minimum wage to $15. City GDP increased, employment increased, jobs for minimum wage earners, including food service jobs, increased, and overall incomes increased.

      There are a pile of other similar results. The most telling, however, is the natural experiment that occurred when New Jersey raised its minimum wage and Pennsylvania did not. In many areas of the Philadelphia metro, the Delaware River separated suburban communities that were essentially identical but on either side of the river. On the Jersey side, GDP, incomes, and employment all rose faster than on the Pennsylvania side. That included not just restaurant employment but also fast food restaurant employment.

      Very similar studies of results comparing minimum wage raises in WA and OR vs. ID in metro areas along the shared border after minimum wage increased in WA or OR but stayed low in ID showed the same outcomes.

      It is not an accident that historically Wal-Mart has lobbied for increased minimum wage. Increased minimum wage puts more money into the hands of people who spend it immediately, creating increased demand driving purchases and leading businesses to add employees to cover the demand. As long as all employers are equally affected by the wage increase, no business suffers.

      I have no doubt that the AEI spent a long time trying to dig up an example that fit the bias they started with, and carefully avoided the overwhelming evidence of, as I have said, literally dozens of other results. Another conservative organization published a ridiculous article suggesting that although Seattle has boomed since the minimum wage hike, it has not done as well as the theoretical numbers they made up using arm chair calculations instead of real world data.

      You can find almost anything you want in the echo chamber — Ted Cruz’s father was involved in assassinating JFK, for example. However, in the real world these arguments melt like a June snow in Duluth. Unfortunately, some people remain confused because they really want to be confused if the facts contradict their cherished opinions.

  12. And don’t tell me academia is unbiased, nor post any Ivy League, university of Minnesota crap.

    • You mean University of Minnesota crap like the development of the taconite industry or the development of the medical appliance industry that started Medtronic and St. Jude?

      Sorry Ranger, I know the facts have a well known liberal bias, but you just have to live with it.

  13. A lot of wordiness Gerald, still no hard data from you..

    • That’s funny, R47, because I just looked up your “data” on Washington, DC.

      Turns out not to be so “hard” after all.

      Here’s the Investors’ Business Daily, a fan of everything that is far right, having to eat its words:

      “Washington, D.C.

      “The surest evidence of fallout from a higher minimum wage appeared to come from Washington, D.C. Data covering only establishments within the district were showing that employment gains ground to a halt at restaurants, hotels and other leisure and hospitality sector venues.

      “Never mind. The new data show that industry hiring didn’t miss a beat despite a $1 minimum-wage hike to $10.50 an hour last July, which followed a boost from $8.25 to $9.50 an hour in mid-2014. Another jump to $11.50 is set for this July.”

      Oops!! Like I said, watch out for the echo chamber.

      When you find data that is such a severe outlier from data from other places, best thing to do is to check more carefully. Unless of course you don’t care as long as it appears to fit with your fantasies.

  14. When people are paid more than they’re worth, there become fewer of ’em. Look it up Gerald..

    • R47, you’re just wrong. For a while I believed your DC case was an outlier, but true. I became suspicious when I found that the AEI had sponsored a piece of “research” about the Seattle minimum wage increase that turned out to have used incorrect numbers to cook the books and make it look like the law was failing, but that their study was quickly outed as a fraud. Then I looked up your study, and surprise, they had released a false study there too.

      The whole basis of conservatives’ problems on understanding the minimum wage and its relationship to employment rests on a false notion that businesses hire based on the price of labor, like some other economic actors make purchases based on price issues. That suggests that there would be fewer workers if they “cost” more. Unfortunately for that model, and as a former business manager I can attest to this, businesses rarely make staffing decisions that way. In reality businesses hire or fire people based on the state of their business. When business is good they need more employees to meet the needs of their customers; when business is bad they need fewer. The cost of hiring is never much of an issue because hiring does not occur unless it can be justified by the profit that additional staff will generate. If the cost is effected by the minimum wage, then all businesses face the same cost and no competitive advantage occurs.

      In addition, people miss the impact of the minimum wage in increasing demand for goods and services. People who experience an increase in wages are able to make purchases that were previously out of reach. That in turn has a stimulating affect on the economy and various businesses as new business is generated.

      That is why six out six of the major cities that have implemented increased minimum wages in the last burst of interest in the minimum wage are so far experiencing a positive impact on total city economic performance, total numbers of jobs and employment, total wages and income, and new hires — that includes Boston, New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the one you initially made the mistake about, Washington, DC.

      In economics, theory is fine, but all theory, whether right wing or left wing, needs to be tested against reality. Reality has spoken in favor of rising minimum wage so far. This may not appeal to you, since as an avowed opponent of women, people of color, immigrants, and other non-whites you probably do believe that most people who earn minimum wage are truly worth less. But the real world says otherwise.

      • Wow…sounds like a great idea Gerald. Let’s go for $47 per hour minimum. Then watch the economy REALLY grow..

        • I know you’re just being silly, but on the off chance anyone thinks you are making sense, let me point out that ALL of the programs to raise the minimum wage which are in progress and all of the programs I have seen proposed are based on a “take a step, measure results, take another step” strategy.

          As I have said, we need to test economic ideas against real world results, and the gradual rise in the minimum wage is structured to do just that. As of now, all of the programs are showing good results at this time. We need to continue to monitor those results with real world data in real time, as we move stepwise toward a minimum wage that guarantees that no one will work a full time schedule and still live in poverty. For now, that is $15 in many areas, but as low as $12 in others.

      • …or show us the wizardry used by you and other liberals that established $9.50, or $10.50 or wait….$15.00 per hour as THE magical economic number to grow the economy. Show us some data. Or are you just another Kickapoo Indian Medicine Show?

  15. Oh, now Ranger is deciding what a person’s work is worth, iow, you judge that a job that pays $8.25 to $9.50 an hour isn’t hard, exhausting or unpleasant, worth getting paid $9.50. How much would you have to get paid before you would clean toilets or change bedpans?
    There are handy calculators measuring worth of a dollar comparing previous years to 2016 which vary if using CPI, inflation, standard of living, etc. For instance, what do you think $9.50 an hour in 1973 would be today in 2016. Look it up, Ranger.

    • No kissa, I’m not deciding what a person work is worth…the government thinks they are wiser they you and I. They’re establishing what people should be paid…regardless of skill level.

      Let supply and demand play out without Dayton’s interference and I’ll bet cleaning toilets doesn’t come in at $9.50.

      • Adam Smith, the father of economics and the inventor of the concept of a free market, pointed out in his famous book that for markets to be free, there needs to be equal power and information on both sides of the transaction. Labor markets, especially at the low income end, do not have that symmetry, and with perhaps the exception of Walt Disney movies and the fever dreams of some right wingers, never have and never will.

        To right that imbalance, the government needs to intervene to create not a free market but a fair market. Before the government began that effort in the 19th century, the result of the supposedly “free market” for labor was six year olds with full time jobs, full time jobs that lasted 84 hours a week and paid a dollar a week, working conditions that were not just unsafe but deadly, abuse of employees — especially women employees — in every way imaginable, and conditions that allowed advocates of slavery to suggest with a straight face that slaves were better off than most free workers.

        The minimum wage does not force anything on the labor market except for a floor for amount that can be paid that results in a wage that means no person who works full time will fall below the poverty level.

        • A lot of words again Gerald…. yet no response as to why not $47 per hour. If $15 is working miracles, why not $20, why not $47? Show us the wisdom of the formula you used to establish $15.

          And whenever you start using words like “fair”, everyones antenna goes up. When third parties like you start using – “fair market”, “fair share”, “fair value”, “fair weather”, “fair haired”, etc….all it means is someone is getting taken from, someone is being given to…and a middle man, usually the government, takes their fair cut. No one gains but the government.

          • Apparently you missed the answer to your question. It’s in the post above that starts out “I know you’re just being silly…”

            You might also try reading Kissa’s post about the living wage and paying attention to that too, if you actually care about the answers to the questions you ask. I know that she is a woman, so is among the inferior beings that white males don’t have to pay attention to, but she is making a good point, and you might learn something. It starts out “Recent MIT…” so you probably skipped it since all universities are apparently “crap” to you.

  16. Recent MIT Living Wage Calculator lists every county in every state. Living wage is a single person working full time being able to cover his/her basic expenses but nothing extra such as savings to help a child get a higher education, retirement or an unexpected major expense. In St. Louis County one adult working full time must make $9.97 an hour or about $22,000 a year to make a living wage. One adult with one child must make close to 2 1/2 times the hourly wage, $46,000 to support the two of them.

    This is a living wage, above the poverty level but not by much. The middle class has been shrinking. Worker’s pay has not been keeping up with US productivity levels.

    Ranger, you evidently agree with Trump, US wages are too high. Since the financial crisis, the number of billionaires has doubled. Yup, American workers just want too damn much take home pay.

    • Some teachers in the Grand Rapids school district make $21,353 per year and some make $65,026. Tell me kiss, why is it all teachers in the Grand Rapids school district don’t make $47 per hour…or approximately $47,000 per year?

  17. Doesn’t everyone know that teachers and most people in general begin working in a field, company, etc. at a lower wage or salary and work their way up the pay scale? You must have really lucked out if you started at the top.

    • Correct kissa. A person with more experience, usually wiser & adding more value, makes more…and should.

      So….why should a 16 year old male and a 27 year old female with a two-year degree who just lost her job both start at McDonalds, each making $15 per hour? Crazy, absolutely insane. No acknowledgement / recognition for the value of the individual. It sucks the life blood out of those with abilities, and gives to others discouraging and stripping them of their self-worth. Evil kissa, pure evil.

  18. No Gerald, I didn’t miss your “silly” post. You claim $15 per hour has worked out just fine. So, I’ll ask again. Why not move to $47 per hour?

    Oh, I know you love MIT, Labovitz and other academia studies. They’re “all knowing, all wise”, but…..have you stopped by Eagle Ridge golf course in Coleraine and asked Gordy Skaar how the increase to $15 per hour has impacted his business? I know the Iron Range is not Cambridge, not even Duluth…but it’s the real world Gerald.

  19. Your question has been answered. Pay attention: the minimum wage should be and is being raised stepwise with careful evaluation of results. We live in a world where empirically derived facts should be the standard, not fantasies, no matter whether they are right wing or left wing fantasies, or even right wing fantasies about what they pretend to think the left wing is fantasizing.

    Speaking of paying attention, the Minnesota minimum wage is not $15. It is $9.50 for large employers and $7.75 for small employers, with an exception allowing a 90 day “training wage” of $7.75 for all employers and a $7.75 minimum wage for under 18 for all employers. A large employer is defined as having annual gross revenue of $500,000 or more.

    Those numbers went into effect on Aug. 1, 2016.

    And I checked: Coleraine is still in Minnesota, not in Seattle, SF, LA, DC, or any other place raising the wage to $15.

    So your hard luck tale about a friend having problems because of a $15 minimum wage “impacted his business” is yet another case of leaving reality behind to fantasize arguments.

    R47, you just have to stop making things up, since it is too easy to find out the truth. Spend some time reading outside the echo chamber, so you have real facts to discuss.

  20. So Gearld…. Did you talk with Gordy yet?

    • No need. We already established that is another made up story. There is simply no $15 minimum wage in MN , and no proposal for one at this time, so it is not sensible to talk as if there were. Anyone with minimal skill using Google can establish that in about five seconds.

      I am signing off this thread, since there is no point in it. I just hope that all your confusion is not a symptom of some serious health issue.

      • You’re spending way too much time in academia Gerald…and google. Get with the real world; ask Gordy how many employees he had pre-Aug 1st & post-Aug 1st…all due to the minimum wage law.

        p.s. Here we go…..I’ll show you my health records, after you release your junior high school report card, publish your tax returns, and ALL emails you’ve sent since high school.

  21. I lived in England for six years. I loved mass transit in London. I loved using rail. But the reason they worked there is population density. The US generally, outside the eastern seaboard, generally doesn’t have sufficient population density to make these approaches economically viable. Even the Twin Cities, with its suburban sprawl, doesn’t have sufficient density. There is a reason why the rail net in the UK barely exists north of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  22. Please watch your language! (Unless, of course, this was your intention.) It is quite misleading to say “very strong anti-government sub-caucus.” Maybe you meant to say a very strong limited government sub-caucus? I think you try to be objective and do a fair job, but this is an exception.

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