Welcome to my first issues blog! Today’s issue is politics, specifically MN politics, but politics in general as well.
Those of my readers that are in Minnesota will probably know already that our state government has, at this writing, still not passed a state budget for fiscal year 2012, which starts July 1st. Which means, if they don’t, there will be some level of government shutdown starting Friday. It hasn’t passed because Republicans have majorities in both the MN house and Senate, but the governor (Mark Dayton) is a member of the Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) party (which is just what the state Democratic party calls itself, see the link for more info).
Here are a few links on the subject, from the least biased source I could find, Minnesota Public Radio. (The second one is a PDF.) They tell it like it is:
Minnesota Public Radio Shutdown FAQ
My own executive summary is: Gov. Dayton wants to spend more than the legislature, including a tax hike on the wealthiest 2% of Minnesotans. He originally wanted to raise taxes on the wealthiest 5% of Minnesotans but in attempt to compromise he agreed to accept 2%. However, the current Republican mentality is to not raise taxes, on anyone, for any reason. Which sounds good, right? No one likes to pay more taxes. But the position shows a lack of critical thinking skills. It’s one thing to consider a topic, and have good reasons for saying ‘no.’ It’s quite another thing to not even consider the topic in the first place.
My question is: Why is politics so stupid? Can’t politicians see that a shutdown benefits NO ONE, INCLUDING THEIR OWN CONSTITUENTS?
Even better, why can’t politicians think for themselves instead of chanting whatever mantra their party tells them to chant? It’s like a mob mentality. A person is smart. A mob is dumb, even though it’s made up of nothing but people. The same is true of political parties (some more than others).
Thinking about this problem last week sometime I began to wonder if our system of government really works. It seems as though politicians are as concerned, if not more concerned, with doing their party’s bidding and getting re-elected, than they are with figuring out the best laws to pass, or not pass. My radical solution is a one term limit for all politicians. They’d have no incentive to do anything other than their job, since they cannot be re-elected. My even more radical solution is to disqualify anyone who can actually get elected in the first place. Both of these have problems, but could they really be worse than our current broken two-party system? It’s hard to imagine that they could be.
I guess I’m done ranting now.
Until next time: Have fun, don’t die, and make mine Marvel!