If the state government stayed shut down for an entire year, would anyone really notice?
That’s only partially a rhetorical question, because honestly, I don’t know that either side actually wants to negotiate.
But more troublesome is the claim by the Republicans that “the people” sent them to the legislature to not raise taxes and trim state government. Dayton and the Democrats are making no such public claim, or at least not as loudly. But the thing is that I haven’t noticed any noise coming from the conservative base in the state: no blogs, no interviews, no protests insisting that their side win.
This week, stories have come out claiming that neither side is equipped or experienced enough to negotiate or adequately handle the budget discussions that have to be held, and to a point, that’s true, in-as-much-as neither side really wants to listen to anyone. The most respected elder statesmen in the state offered up a plan and proposal to solve the problem, and neither side took it seriously, to the point where the Republicans even generally avoided placing anyone on the committee, simply because they hate Arne Carlson now. So what, does that mean that the solution is to bring Jesse Ventura in to force negotiations between conspiracy theories?
The problem, as I’ve said before, is that both sides are dug in and are refusing to move. Yet they also refuse to acknowledge their role in getting us here. The Republicans began their anti-tax stand when Pawlenty was still in the legislature, and in the process, they managed to only kick the can down the road, refusing to raise income through increased taxes each year while “compromising” with the Democrats by raising spending by a lower amount than the Dems wanted. The Democrats, for their part, refuse to consider cuts to social programs when they really need to look at how to deliver the same services in a more efficient manner.
So instead, we discovered this week that over a hundred legislators are getting paid during the shutdown. So while thousands of state employees–who actually do work for us, the taxpayers–are laid off and not working, this collection of self-absorbed nitwits obviously don’t see a problem with taking their pay for not accomplishing the primary part of their job.
And today, with increased GOP calls for a “lights on” bill while they negotiate a budget deal, that just proves a further point: they have no idea what the hell they’re doing–what good would that do?
The answer is simple: win back some popularity. At least we know how much popularity costs these days: about $1.4 billion. That’s how far apart the two sides are.
See you tomorrow.