If consumer spending is 70% of the country's economy and business and government spending make up the rest, why isn't Governor Pawlenty examining the strengths and weaknesses of consumers (taxpayers) in thisÂ recessionaryÂ period? Buying is down, except for a little bump in January, and unemployment is rising. Minnesota is now nearing the national average of 7.2. It experienced a large increase in unemployment from 2007 (4.7) to 2008 (6.9), according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
When you can't pay your taxes because you are out of a job, the average Minnesotan is taking it on the chin. The middle class taxpayer carries the load of paying revenue in the State. The poor are too poor to pay taxes, and the rich have been given breaks for decades.Â Pawlenty says the answer is no new taxes and he wants to give more breaks to business so jobs can be created. He means no new taxes on the richÂ
He may not have looked lately, but a lot of business jobs offer no health coverage and the hours are not enough to keep family members at home to take care of the kids. Lack of health coverage takes a toll on family health and it pushes costs over to the hospitals and clinics.
The state is moving toward a population of 5.2 million and the demographics are shifting toward large population percentages of people of color and American Indians. Keeping those populations on the other side of decent wages doesn't seem to be a good formula for success. Combine this with all Minnesotans and we have in the works a recipe for a downturn that puts Minnesota out of the Upper Midwest shining examples.
History shows that recessions have been getting shorter -compare 1873 when it was 23 years-since the Great Depression of 10 years. There have been other causes than the current housing collapse (oil, monetary policy shifts, and unemployment) but the timeline of these recessions seem to say that the fixes worked.
The governor wants his conservative philosophy to dominate the state budgeting process while at the same time he is accepting new revenue from the federal government. The stimulus to Minnesota is taxpayer dollars. New taxpayers dollars.
It is time for Pawlenty to get off his toadstool and examine the one source of new revenue that will collapse the deficit while supporting the services Minnesotans believe in and support. Which end of the taxpayer spectrum has not been examined?
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More from Laura Waterman Wittstock
Science teacher and member of the Dakota Nation, Jim Rock is the first to put an American Indian seed experiment aboard the NASA space shuttle.
We take looking up at the skies for granted. The stars and moon will always be there. Only the headlines of a transit of Venus or the infamous blue moon calls our attention to the reality that the firmament is not fixed and we are a tiny population in a galaxy far away. Most people agree that we should educate ourselves all of our lives. There is no room for closed thinking, especially not for the coming generations. It will comfort many Minnesotans to know that the MN Planetarium Society just passed an important 100,000 mark. That many school children have now had lessons about the cosmos, given by Planetarium teacher Sally Brummel. We have a few small planetariums like the ones in Duluth, Hibbing, or New Ulm, but only one serves the entire state: the Minnesota Planetarium and Space Discovery Center. For many reasons, support from the City of Minneapolis and then Hennepin County has lagged. Now, a new partnership with the Bell Museum at the University of Minnesota gives some hope that a new planetarium will be available to the people of the state. Minnesotans should show their support by picking up the phone, sending an email, or writing a letter to the members of the Legacy Division in the House or the Environment and Natural Resources Committee in the Senate.
The shootings that resulted in injury and death in Arizona compel every one of us to take stock - not just to what happened there but to what is happening in our own lives. In a strange way, the violent deaths of others causes many of the living to appreciate life all the more. We can link ourselves easily to the young child mercilessly gunned down but also to the adults, particularly those who died while saving others. This is the heroism of which we hope we all are capable when the time comes.
News coming from Leech Lake shines a light on kids using alcohol and drugs. There should be a light shining on Frank Reese.
Where does "pro life" figure in the debate of more insurance which will lower infant death rates compared to what we have now? Infant death rates are one thing, the uncounted numbers are in non-medical fetus loss due to poverty.