Monday, May 17, 2010

Phickle Thoughts

So it's my birthday today... I'm 29. Which is really just a math-minded person's way of saying "almost old."

A few years back I put up a quality post about my life to that point. It sums me up pretty good. All I've done since that post is graduate law school, get my first (and second) real job, and have a kid, so it's still pretty relevant.
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I'm still a big Survivor fan. Russel has easily been one of my favorite players of all time. He's gotten robbed twice. And he's right, there's a flaw with the game. Russel suggested the flaw was that we didn't let viewers pick the winner. He's wrong about that.

The flaw is that at the end of the game it isn't about surviving. It's about getting elected. Those are very different things. If they really want to make the game about surviving, they need to come up with some sort way to make the final determination that isn't a popularity contest.

The whole thing has been a problem for a long time. It's allowed an awful lot of weak winners. And now it's allowed a weak repeat winner. Oh well. It's just a game, right?
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I caught a tiny bit of the Miss USA competition tonight. It's even more of a joke than I realized. The part I happened to see was the eventually winner giving her answer to the big final question. It had to be one of the least well-reasoned answers in the history of pageants. And that's saying something. Essentially, her response was "I think insurance should pay for birth control because it's expensive." Actually, those are almost exactly her words.

Miss Virginia actually gave an articulate answer. She got third place. I'm surprised they didn't bump her down lower. The judges (Johnny Weir, Paul Dean, Carmelo Anthony, etc.) don't exactly seem like the type who would reward the people who actually deserved it.

Kind of the same problem as Survivor. Hmm.
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I someday hope to grill a cake.
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Looks like the Minnesota legislature is gonna have a deal in place to "balance" the budget. From what I can tell, a lot of it will be pushing the problems to the next governor and legislature (but of course, the current government can't actually bind the future governments, which means we'll get to go through this all again in another year or two). But that's par for the course with Pawlenty. He's been leveraging the state's future and debt spending for his own political career for far too long.

He talks big about spending cuts, but he's actually been approving spending - in order to make himself popular - for 8 years. And when forced to make hard decisions and actually cut the budget, he targeted public schools, health care, and local governments.

The man took office in 2003, amid significant prosperity. He promised not to raise taxes at any point when he was governor. This left him with a tough choice when the economy tanked - either raise the money the state needed by increasing taxes, slash benefits, or debt spend. He chose the later. Not a responsible choice. Now that the ability to borrow has significantly diminished, he's choosing to slash benefits. Truthfully, that's part of the solution. But everyone who looks at the problem knows it's not the whole fix.

Oh, and because local government aid has been drastically cut, local governments have had to significantly increase property taxes, which means that, despite Pawlenty's promise of no new taxes, most MN citizens are actually paying new taxes.

A class act, that guy.

Time is marching on
And time is still marching on

1 comment:

AGJ said...

I have to agree with you again Matthew. I am unimpressed by both our governor and the legislature. The Pawlenty machine brags that they lowered the state's spending from nearly 30% to nearly 3%. Although this looks good in black and white, it does not tell the whole story.

I am a fan of lowering government spending. However, his tactics of relying on federal programs and waylaying current bills to future sessions is more than misleading. T-Paw is interested more in his political gain than he is in the future of Minnesota. We in the Education Sector are familiar with these tactics.

My concern with the GOP is that they have the want to diminish public education to a point where it is unfeasible to continue such a service. However, I have not seen the DFL truly stand up for public education either.

If either was truly invested in education, it would be 100% funded in terms of mandates and bills set forth and we would see all education moving to a year round calendar (much to the chagrin of most teachers).

We are bleeding jobs in the Midwest (set aside such states as South Dakota), yet our legislature continues to believe that in order to balance the budget, we must raise taxes. Churchill wisely stated that "...for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle"

In our current state, we can no longer look to higher taxes to alleviate our budget woes.

Companies residing in our state are looking elsewhere to help meet budget constraints due to high taxes. Look at Polaris Industries just did with the Osceola plant in Wisconsin. Not only are they mothballing the plant, they are moving into Mexico - a nation that is on the brink of an all out Civil War.

3M has been divesting from our state for the last 20 years in order to keep profits improving. Include that with the fact that this current administration is at war with the medical industry, we could lose valued assets of our local economy.

An administration that is for business is for the working man. More people working for more business equates to higher tax margins - as long as the loopholes are closed.

I am disgusted with both sides of the aisle - all politicians that have been in seat for over 6 years need to go. We need a new deck of cards.