Minnesota GOP To Bring Back Fiscal Mullet?

George Orwell called it “Newspeak,” the restriction of disapproved language by a powerful entity. You may also recall that in his dystopian novel 1984, “goodthink” was used to describe an officially sanctioned viewpoint, and “thoughtcrime” was used to describe an illegal type of thought.

So finally I understand why Mrs. Stolles made me read that creepy book. For now I know what is truly going on in the budget negotiations between the GOP-controlled Legislature and DFL Governor Dayton. The biggest sticking point in these negotiations is not really whether DFL legislators can participate in the negotiations, or whether supplying respirators constitutes an essential government service.

No, the show-stopping sticking point is that GOP Newspeak dictates that use of the word “taxes” is a thoughtcrime, because it is not goodthink. No can do. Dayton may as well be requesting Speaker Zellers to commit serial murders on the House floor. Just ask GOP Chair Tony Sutton.

And this presents the Mother of All Sticking Points for budget negotiators.

But have no fear, State Rep. Joe Gimse is here. This clever GOP legislator from Willmar knows that someone who raises revenue but doesn’t call it a “tax” is not technically guilty of a GOP thoughtcrime. Kind of like a robber who only points a fake finger gun through a coat is not guilty of armed robbery, at least on the TV shows I watch.

The PiPress reports today that:

…(Grimes) said he would consider voting for proposals to raise revenue as long as the money doesn’t come from taxes. He said he would consider money from gambling, surcharges or fees.”

Fiscal mullet, Pawlenty style.

Mr. Gimse may be onto something. This looks to be a nifty little thoughtcrime dodge, though far from an unprecedented one. Those of you who hold grudges will recall that then-Governor Tim Pawlenty raised “fees” by 21%, while still aggressively marketing his fidelity to the No New Taxes gods. One cheeky blogger of the day dubbed the maneuver a fiscal mullet — “cosmetic constraint in the front, unrestrained growth in the back.”

So now we have something to negotiate, though we must choose our words very, very carefully. But since I am an infidel who is not governed by GOP Newspeak, I have my own word to describe the potential consideration of, well, you know, “new contributions for the support of a government required of persons, groups, or businesses within the doman of that government.”

I call it “hope.”

Loveland

9 Responses

  1. It is not just a MN problem:

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/90679/republicans-taxes-and-the-1982-mistake

    http://www.fareedzakaria.com/home/Articles/Entries/2011/6/16_How_Todays_Conservatism_Lost_Touch_with_Reality.html

    http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2011/06/24/Will-Higher-Taxes-Tank-the-Economy.aspx

    It used to be that conservatism was empirically based–certainly that was what Burke thought, and described. Indeed, the whole point about his writings on the French Revolution (the foundational texts of modern conservatism) was that this was a grand experiment with no basis in past experience–remaking an entire nation based on an ideology.

    It seems to me that the current manifestation of the Republican Party is similarly in thrall to an ideology–the simplest current expression is “no new taxes”. Just as the French Revolution descended into madness (the terror), Cantor and Koch and Zellers all seem to be in danger of losing their heads (or at least their positions) if they deviate in any way from this dogma.

    Please, conservatives, come back to reality!

  2. For anyone who is interested in conservative thought, here is a great book on the topic:

  3. Fair critique, but enormously overstated as ‘Orwellian’. It’s not remotely Orwellian. It’s coy.

    Orwellian terms are being abused such that they’re in danger of becoming the new ‘nazi’.

    • I’ve been known to exaggerate for comedic effect, but the semantic gymnastics around the T Word is pretty extraordinary. There is fear in the eyes when the term comes up.

    • Winston Smith:

      In accordance to the principles of Doublethink, it does not matter if the war is not real, or when it is, that victory is not possible. The war is not meant to be won. It is meant to be continuous. The essential act of modern warfare is the destruction of the produce of human labor. A hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. In principle, the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects. And its object is not victory over Eurasia or Eastasia, but to keep the very structure of society intact. Julia? Are you awake? There is truth, and there is untruth. To be in a minority of one doesn’t make you mad.

  4. Me, I find it all quixotically, brechtianistically Kafkaesque.

  5. We should all age so gracefully as Leo Kottke.

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