Minnesota

The Case for More Federal Aid
February 15, 2011

State governments are facing catastrophic budget deficits for fiscal year2012, and they are suggesting drastic cuts to attempt to fill the gaps. But this proposed austerity may not be necessary, and, moreover, it is almost certainly unwise.

Republicans (Secretly) Hate Michelle Bachmann
January 28, 2011

I think this is encouraging: When Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann was named to the House Intelligence Committee earlier this year, one of her Republican colleagues responded this way: “Is that a punchline?” Another simply said, “Jumbo shrimp. Oxymoron.” Neither dared to attach his name to his comment. Obviously, it's kind of scary that a nut like Bachmann has attained a stature such that colleagues don't dare attack her openly.

The Debt Limit Fight: Republicans Blink
January 07, 2011

You knew President Obama would cave on the Bush tax cuts when he first started saying that a deal was going to be made. In a brinkmanship fight, the most important weapon is the willingness to allow failure, or at least credibly threaten to do so. So these comments from Paul Ryan on raising the debt ceiling are a red -- or rather, white -- flag: Some conservative Republicans have urged their GOP colleagues to resist raising the ceiling -- which currently clocks in at $14.3 trillion -- under any circumstances. Rep.

Burying the (State Budget) Hatchet
November 18, 2010

States are cutting their budgets like mad in an effort to close deficits that often pass the billion dollar mark. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal provides a grim catalog of state spending cuts: Most states have either hiked fees or chopped services for the disabled and the elderly.

Eeyore for Governor
October 14, 2010

Mark Dayton’s place in Washington’s collective memory can be distilled to exactly one moment, on one day: October 12, 2004. That morning, Dayton, a freshman Democratic senator from Minnesota, appeared in front of a line of TV cameras and announced that in the coming weeks the Capitol would likely be the target of a terrorist attack.

Understanding a Mad, Mad Primary Season
September 15, 2010

Christine O’Donnell is not someone you’d expect to be a Republican nominee for a competitive U.S. Senate contest, particularly in the staid state of Delaware, and particularly as the choice of primary voters over Congressman Mike Castle, who up until yesterday had won twelve consecutive statewide races. O’Donnell is a recent newcomer to Delaware and, since arriving, has managed to get into trouble with her student loans, her taxes, her mortgage, and her job. She also unsuccessfully sued a conservative organization for gender discrimination.

Year of the Nutjob
September 14, 2010

How does the class of 2010 stack up against its lunatic predecessor, of 1994? There are the well-known data points—Rand Paul’s alleged kidnapping of a college classmate; Sharron Angle’s assertion that there are “domestic enemies” in Congress—that suggest we’ve reached a new zenith of crazy, making Newt Gingrich’s bunch look like sensible establishmentarians by comparison. But Paul and Angle only begin to capture the strangeness of candidates out there who may soon be occupying your Capitol and governor’s mansion.

Year of the Nutjob
September 02, 2010

How does the class of 2010 stack up against its lunatic predecessor, of 1994? There are the well-known data points—Rand Paul’s alleged kidnapping of a college classmate; Sharron Angle’s assertion that there are “domestic enemies” in Congress—that suggest we’ve reached a new zenith of crazy, making Newt Gingrich’s bunch look like sensible establishmentarians by comparison. But Paul and Angle only begin to capture the strangeness of candidates out there who may soon be occupying your Capitol and governor’s mansion.

Pawlenty Hearts Health Insurers
September 01, 2010

Tim Pawlenty, outgoing governor of Minnesota, is gearing up to run for president. When he does, I hope somebody asks him why he wanted to go easy on the insurance industry, potentially forcing his state's residents to pay more for their health insurance. On Tuesday, Pawlenty signed an executive order prohibiting Minnesota state officials from applying for, or accepting, special discretionary grants that the Affordable Care Act makes available to states.

Beyond Auto Exports in the Great Lakes
August 25, 2010

What the Great Lakes region exports to the world now is, mostly, cars. But its rich network of universities and medical complexes may be one of the best bets for its export future. A recently released University Research Center report documents how Michigan’s leading universities are helping to move its manufacturing base to more diverse and higher end advanced products in energy components, pharmaceuticals, sensors, circuits and robotics.

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