Minnesota GOP and the Tim Pawlenty School of Finance

Looks like Minnesota Republican Party leaders are graduates.  Deluth News Tribune (h/t Bluestem Praire)

“We have about 20 counties left to go,” GOP Chairman Tony Sutton said. “We have been chipping away on them.”

Sutton estimated that the party could finish paying its recount bills within four weeks. He said about $20,000 remains to be paid.

“It is about managing all the bills we have,” Sutton said.

The chairman answered questions about the issue Monday following a letter Sen. John Howe, R-Red Wing, sent to Republican legislative colleagues suggesting they contribute to pay the bills, although in an interview he thought just $3,000 to $4,000 remained.

The money owed to the counties comes from the state Republicans' love of recounts, the most recent in the governor's race last fall.  Democrat Mark Dayton was ahead just under 8,000 votes before the recount, 9,000 after.  (Unpaid) Money well spent, huh?

The MN GOP appears to have learned the IOU bill pay method from one of the best: Former Governor himself, Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty left us with a balanced budget that included a variety of IOU's. IOU's on the scale that no other governor in Minnesota has ever done.

First, there is the $1.4 to $1.6 billion that we still owe the school districts from the Pawlenty unallotment. I really enjoyed the banter from candidate Tom Emmer during the campaign in which he said they would hold education harmless. Equally brazen is the rhetoric from House Education chair Pat Garofalo and how proud he is of the House education budget. Neither of them has ever had any intention of finding a way to pay that money back, while schools borrow and pay interest to make up the difference. This IOU has become locked in so heavily that even Governor Dayton sees no path to repayment during the current biennium.

Georgia Public Higher Education Conference

Georgia students stand in solidarity with other college students across the nation fighting for public higher education. This August 7-8, Georgia Students for Public Higher Education (GSPHE), will be hosting our Summer Conference in Atlanta. All who want one should be able to get a college education.

There's more...

Georgia Public Higher Education Conference

Georgia students stand in solidarity with other college students across the nation fighting for public higher education. This August 7-8, Georgia Students for Public Higher Education (GSPHE), will be hosting our Summer Conference in Atlanta. All who want one should be able to get a college education.

There's more...

Stop Lights at Har-Meggido

Soon it will be month-end in Arizona, where the State's budget shortfall stands in the neighborhood of $1.6 billion. Part of the plan to meet that shortfall is to bump the annual $200 million of revenue generated from traffic tickets by 60%. And that's for the State budget alone. Every city, county, university--pretty much all the incorporated areas intend to boost revenue the same way.

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Robert Reich's Most Excellent "Maximum-Strength Remedy" for the Economy

TPM Cafe has a post up from former Labor Secretary Robert Reich that diagnoses our biggest economic ailment, lack of demand:

Introductory economic courses explain that aggregate demand is made up of four things, expressed as C+I+G+exports. C is consumers. Consumers are cutting back on everything other than necessities. Because their spending accounts for 70 percent of the nation's economic activity and is the flywheel for the rest of the economy, the precipitous drop in consumer spending is causing the rest of the economy to shut down.

I is investment. Absent consumer spending, businesses are not going to invest.

Exports won't help much because the rest of the world is sliding into deep recession, too. ...

That leaves G, which, of course, is government. Government is the spender of last resort. Government spending lifted America out of the Great Depression. It may be the only instrument we have for lifting America out of the Mini Depression. Even Fed Chair Ben Bernanke is now calling for a sizable government stimulus. He knows that monetary policy won't work if there's inadequate demand.


Then he goes on to prescribe how the Government can best use its spending power to get the economy back on track:
So the crucial questions become (1) how much will the government have to spend to get the economy back on track? and (2) what sort of spending will have the biggest impact on jobs and incomes?

The answer to the first question is "a lot." Given the magnitude of the mess and the amount of underutilized capacity in the economy-- people who are or will soon be unemployed, those who are underemployed, factories shuttered, offices empty, trucks and containers idled -- government may have to spend $600 or $700 billion next year to reverse the downward cycle we're in.

The answer to the second question is mostly "infrastructure" -- repairing roads and bridges, levees and ports; investing in light rail, electrical grids, new sources of energy, more energy conservation. Even conservative economists like Harvard's Martin Feldstein are calling for government to stimulate the economy through infrastructure spending. Infrastructure projects like these pack a double-whammy: they create lots of jobs, and they make the economy work better in the future. (Important qualification: To do this correctly and avoid pork, the federal government will need to have a capital budget that lists infrastructure projects in order of priority of public need.)

Government should also spend on health care and child care. These expenditures are also double whammies: they, too, create lots of jobs, and they fulfill vital public needs.

I've been calling for these kinds of economic stimulus for months. Glad to have someone joining in who's got the ear of the incoming administration.

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