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Ms. Wright Goes to Washington

By Sheryl Wright

Despite their pledge during the 2010 mid-term election campaign to focus on jobs,Republicans have used their majority in the House to push abortion to the front of the Congressional agenda. On January 7, 2011, Congressman Mike Pence introduced H.R. 217(the Pence Amendment).


Bachmann Spiking the Tea

By Karima E. Rustin

One of the many things I look forward to on a Saturday morning  is reading The New York Times. And who do I see prominently figuring at the beginning of the column but Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN)...damn, not Bachmann again!


The Politics of Union Envy 

By Sheryl Wright

Neither of my parents went to college, but both were union members—my father in the private sector and my mother in the public. In addition to their salaries, which allowed them to provide a comfortable life for our family, the benefits won by their respective unions


Roundtable: Delegitimizing Obama–The Intersection of Gender, Power & Politics  

Sheryl: Almost 800 days in office and it seems every day is seen as an opportunity for renewed criticism of the President. The latest kerfuffle is around the claim that President Obama’s decision to involve the U.S. in the action in Libya


« Where Are the Jobs?... Republicans Know Government Spending Is the Answer | Main | Pushing for Progressivism in the Age of Obama »

The Minnesota Shutdown Showdown

Minnesota State Capital Building courtesy of The Associated PressAs we enter day 13 of the Minnesota government shutdown, the 200 members of the State House and Senate can’t seem to agree to buckle down and do what is best for the state's residents. It is my understanding that part of the job of both chambers of the legislature is to balance the state budget every two years, and since the deficit is around $5 billion, I would assume they (the legislators) would try to fix this sticky situation sooner rather than later. But no, they would rather dig their heels in the ground than negotiate. Actually there seems to be very little motivation for Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and the Republican leaders to make any progress in ending this standoff; they have barely come together since the shutdown began.

Fact: Governor Mark Dayton proposed to temporarily increase income taxes for the top 2 percent earners in the state to generate revenue, and when that didn’t go over well with the Republican members of the State Senate, Governor Dayton abandoned that idea and instead suggested an increase in the state cigarette tax (the GOP leaders rebuffed the offer).

Fact: Approximately 22,000 (non-essential) state employees were laid off because of the shutdown and have to make do with unemployment checks; the state also halted work on 100 important road projects. Meanwhile, 138 of the 200 state House and Senate lawmakers are still happy to accept their paychecks for a job not well done.

Fact: As each day passes, the state is losing millions in revenue as a result of the shutdown of the lottery, the closing of racetracks, and the shuttering of 66 state parks. Let’s not forget the lost revenue from the closure of 84 rest stops. Truck drivers now have to travel to the Wisconsin border to use the rest stops and fuel up;  it is federally mandated that truck drivers rest after driving over eleven hours.

Fact: Fitch Ratings lowered the state’s bond rating because of the budget shutdown, making it more costly for Minnesota to borrow money.

By allowing the shutdown to happen with very little negotiation, Governor Dayton and the state lawmakers  are being disrespectful and showing no consideration for their fellow Minnesotans. If she were alive, my grandmother would have a few choice words for the lawmakers. Growing up I would accompany her when she went shopping at the neighborhood supermarket. She had very little patience for  the young surly female cashiers with their eye-rolling, gum-smacking, and bad attitudes. When one of the cashiers would throw my grandmother’s change and receipt back at her she would respond with "Young lady, I work hard for my money. You might not like your job, but you did choose this job. So you better show some respect when you are handling my money!"

In the spirit of my grandmother, I would like to say to the Minnesota Democrats and Republicans, along with Governor Mark Dayton, show a little respect for the people who elected you to office, and get the damn budget done.

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