Sunday, July 10, 2005

A Song, A Dance, Some Seltzer In The Pants

Step right up folks to Minnesota's number one circus : The State Legislature. Bring the kiddies and watch as the Governor, Senate Sad Sacks and House Bozo's sing a song, do a dance and spray seltzer down your pants. But be sure to hurry before the annual celebration of waste, greed and stupidity takes down the tents for the year and skips town.

That's right folks, our Governor and Legislative leaders have announced that they had reached a deal to solve the budget impasse and end the shutdown of state government. After several months of haggling, including a prolonged semi-regular 'special session', our elected worthies have finally put together a package that they think is fairly good. The deal includes $800 million in new spending to public schools, preserve MinnesotaCare health insurance for everyone who's currently eligible and create a new tobacco TAX - 75 cents on a pack of cigarettes - as the major new source of revenue. Also provided is $78 million to encourage performance-based pay raises for teachers and removal of the $5,000 cap on outpatient treatment for MinnesotaCare recipients. Such a deal ...

Of course, there does not appear anything in this deal to fix the problem that led to the shortfall in the first place: spending more than we had. Rather than live within the money currently confiscated from state residents and businesses, the Clowns have decided to pay for a solution by screwing cigarette smokers. As for the new education money, most will be going to pay teachers as either salary increases or to cover the costs of benefits. At a time when many working families are without insurance or grossly underinsured due to the ridiculously high premium costs, the Clowns have made sure that those who are getting a free ride, continue to ride for free. And the so-called government shutdown, which actually was less than 1 in 5 employees considered non-essential and was not even noticed by the majority of Minnesota residents, will return the non-essential employees to their taxpayer funded non-essential jobs.

No long term solution to overspending. A one-time cash infusion which will be spent completely and will need to be covered in future budgets. More tax dollars thrown at an education system that can not even account for the billions of dollars it has already received. You bet - that sure sounds like a great deal to me (sarcasm intended).

Why do our elected officials believe that taxpayers will think that this budget busting deal is a good deal? Could it be because we huff and puff and promise to kick the Clowns out of office but humbly crawl into the election booth, our tails between our legs, and return the Clowns to office time after time after time? Could it be that they think we are so stupid that we will forget this sellout by the time elections roll around? Maybe it is simple that they do not care what the majority of Minnesota taxpayers think as long as their special constituencies are happy?

Maybe they really believe that the 25% of the state population that smokes cigarettes are going to cheerfully line up to pay the new TAX and will vote them back into office out of gratitude?

Since nothing was done to fix the root cause of the budget shortfall, overspending, they will need to find a new group of taxpayers to rape in the next budget cycle. If we do not remove these Clowns from office in 2006, the odds on favorite will be the so called "rich". Perhaps they will add a new fee, excuse me, that should be TAX, to fast food claiming that such a TAX will not only raise revenue but will help to protect us from our own bad eating habits. A special tax on the living for the consumption of oxygen is always a possibility as is a tax on the dead for the use of ground space.

What is certain that as long as voters in this state continue to vote the party ticket and return to office the same folks who are raping us now, things will never get any better. It will be no different then leaving the door to the hen house open and inviting the fox back in to kill without fear of the shotgun.

It is also certain that as long as the teachers unions are able to convince softheaded voters that higher teacher salaries and benefits directly translates into better education, things will never get any better. Face it folks, teachers are normal humans just like the rest of us. They are not demigods nor are they evil demons. They are just as powerless to control their own union as the rest of the us. We need to take emotion out of the discussion and demand a thorough accounting for every one of the billions of dollars we throw at public education each and every year.

If nothing else, this deal is going to give those enterprising souls with creative minds ample opportunity to make a fortune on black market cigarettes. Sales of tobacco products in border states such as Wisconsin and on Indian reservations should also see significant upturns.

Yes, folks, our high priced, high spending Circus is about to bring the current season to an end. It remains to be seen if the taxpayers who have to pay for their free spending are finally going to show enough courage to abandon party voting and toss the bums out of office.


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