Minnesota’s Reagan?

Former Minnesota House Speaker Matt Entenza’s critics derisively labeled him “Taxandspendza” because he rejected the “no new taxes” gospel preached by Minnesota Taxpayer League disciples.

But now that the DFLer is running for Governor, has he undergone political plastic surgery? Consider his commentary in today’s Star Tribune:

“We cannot simply tax our way out of our deficit; we must grow our way out of it.”

Hey, wait a minute. That sounds vaguely familiar. I’m having flashbacks to the early 1980s. I’m listening to a presidential address, with Oingo Boingo on the turntable in the background:

“Governments don’t reduce deficits by raising taxes on the people; governments reduce deficits by controlling spending and stimulating new wealth.”

Like Ronald Reagan, Matt Entenza tells us all we need to do is create “growth” to make our fiscal troubles go away.

And what will Entenza’s growth look like? “I believe Minnesota can become the Silicon Valley of clean energy.”

Fine. And R. Kelly believes he can fly. But Mr. Entenza is running for Governor, so he needs to show HOW a Governor Entenza could help develop a burgeoning SiliClean Valley.

Entenza is an intelligent fellow, and he may have a great plan. If he does, he should respect voters enough to give them more than platitudes.

How do we get there, Matt? Subsidies? Tax breaks? Cap and trade? Pollution tax? Deregulation? Magic wand?

– Loveland
doing business nice

15 thoughts on “Minnesota’s Reagan?

  1. Mike Kennedy says:

    Entenza could do worse than become a Reaganite. Unfortunately, there was only one Reagan, and I haven’t even found one good pretender. To Entenza’s credit, he’s part right and part wrong. He’s right in that pushing in the throttle and reving up more taxes during slow economic times will kill jobs and, ipso facto, growth.

    However, strictly relying on growth won’t raise enough revenue to offset ferocious spending. The only way out of this hell hole we keep digging is to stop digging. That means spending will most certainly have to be cut. Taxes are going to have to stay where they are for sure until the economy is out of the basement, though corporate taxes should be cut to stimulate growth.

    Then, some fine tuning is in order — perhaps on taxes. One thing I am learning flying an airplane is that minor adjustments are required in slow increments. Doing anything abruptly or extremely will have dire consequences. Unfortunately, I don’t think our leaders and legislators can take a gradual, minimal type of appoach.

    On a positve note, the ground, with all the new snow and bright sunlight, looked absolutely stunning from 3,000 feet this morning, much more orderly from up there than the daily chaos on the ground.

    1. “corporate taxes should be cut to stimulate growth”

      A case can be made, even by progressives, for cutting corporate income taxes, but stimulating growth is the least of them.

      Tax cuts don’t immediately drop that money to the bottom line, and corporate investment isn’t what drives growth — it’s demand. Unless a good portion of the cut trickles down to employees, demand isn’t going to be all that stimulated.

      Second, the U.S. economy had all kinds of excess capital over the last decade. Look where it went — into financial engineering, inflated mortgages and derivatives that did very little short term and were disastrous longer term.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        A sizeable cut in corporate income tax rates and capital gains would stimulate new capital investment, new startup ventures and foster expansion of existing business. That would cost us less than half of the amount we are spending as part of the government “stimulus” plan. We lose out on jobs and economic growth when businesses incorporate overseas instead of here in favor of lower corporate income and capital gains rates.

        No one disputes the economy was flush with cash and yes, much of it went to into products that were created by Wall Street and had the explicit approval of politicians and regulators — all of whom entrusted faulty mathematical models of human behavior.

        But that’s history. There is a need for capital on the part of businesses, and they can’t get it.

  2. Joe Loveland says:

    As a DFLer trying to win a party endorsement, Entenza obviously isn’t trying to appear a Reaganite. That would be the kiss of death in that world.

    Entenza is simply trying to look visionary without bringing a lot of messy details into the conversation. And that is quintessentially Reagan.

  3. Newt says:

    Entenza has about as much chance of becoming governor as does Dayton or Rybak. Not worth getting exercised about.

  4. PM says:

    OK, we supposedly have here a group of politically astute people–anyone care to handicap the candidates for Gov?

    Will Norm jump in? Is there any other republican with a chance to win? (the rest of them seems to be a bunch of smurfs to me….)

  5. Mike Kennedy says:

    No, of course he’s not pretending to be a Reaganite. Again, he could do worse. Part of Reagan’s appeal is that he had about five basic principles that he believed in.

    I do have to laugh at the liberal myth, however, that Reagan was simple. Anyone who has ever taken the time to read his diaries and journals — “Reagan in His Own Words” — or a number of other books, can see this was a pretty sharp and clear mind.

    I know a number of conservatives who have read Obama’s books. I know very few liberals who have read Reagan’s or any books about him. Few even know The Gipper was the first sitting president to write a book in office.

  6. Newt says:

    If Norm can’t beat a buffoon like Franken, he certainly can’t be our governor. I wish he would move to Hollywood to support his trophy wife and her big screen ambitions.

  7. Joe Loveland says:

    Here is what Reagan Administration supply sider Bruce Bartlett recently had to say about the state of the Reagan Revoluntion:

    “(The current iteration of the Republican Party) no longer bears any resemblance to the party of Ronald Reagan. I still consider myself to be a Reaganite. But I don’t see any others anywhere in the GOP these days, which is why I consider myself to be an independent. Mindless partisanship has replaced principled conservatism. What passes for principle in the party these days is “what can we do to screw the Democrats today.” How else can you explain things like that insane op-ed Michael Steele had in the Washington Post on Monday?

    I am not alone. When I talk to old timers from the Reagan years, many express the same concerns I have. But they all work for Republican-oriented think tanks like AEI and Hoover and don’t wish to be fired like I was from NCPA . Or they just don’t want to be bothered or lose friends. As a free agent I am able to say what they can’t or won’t say publicly.

    I think the Republican Party is in the same boat the Democrats were in in the early eighties — dominated by extremists unable to see how badly their party was alienating moderates and independents. The party’s adults formed the Democratic Leadership Council to push the party back to the center and it was very successful. But there is no group like that for Republicans. That has left lunatics like Glenn Beck as the party’s de facto leaders. As long as that remains the case, I want nothing to do with the GOP.

  8. Mike Kennedy says:

    I tend to agree with that assessment and have been no fan of today’s GOP.

    However, I’d say the same thing about the far left dominating the Democratic party. Gone are the days of Jack Kennedy and Harry Truman and Scoop Jackson– and even Bill Clinton. The Democrats have their own leftie nuts who will exact a heavy toll on Obama if he disappoints them.

    What we have are a band of conspiracy minded kooks who accused Bush of everything from mass murder to global warming to water pollution to droughts in Africa. They are well funded by various radical political organizations.

    What Bartlett fails to point out is that we had the same vitriolic pablum during Bush’s two terms from Democrats. The DLC carries as much weight with today Dems as Dick Cheney does.

    Besides, party bashing is routine in politics since the republic began, and if we do a little research, we see it was as bad or worse than today. So we either deplore it all — both sides included or we welcome it as old fashioned, bare knuckle (or brass knuckles) politics, and we just………get ready to rumble.

  9. First of all: That’s another great photo illustration, Loveland.

    Second: Oingo Boingo?

    Third: Yes, the Republican Party is a mess right now. Not much worse than the Democrats a short while back, from what I can tell, and it’s certainly not on the brink of deathstruction, as some are quick to suggest.

    And finally: Wasn’t this a post about some guy named Matt?

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Hard to compete with Ronnie and Oingo!

      That commentary still blows me away when I think about it. A guy who runs a policy think tank has not one policy idea to share about how he’ll generate this new clean energy growth? Surprisingly empty vessel.

  10. PM says:

    The thing is, all the Republican Party needs right now is a leader. the problem they have is that there isn’t one–and so it appears as if the lunatics (beck, bachmann, etc.) are running the asylum. Once there is a leader, those lunatics won’t be getting the same attention and media oxygen that they are getting right now.

    Of course there are plenty of looney lefties as well, we simply do not hear about them because there is a democratic party leader, and he gets all of the attention and media oxygen.

    I have no idea who that leader might be–but 3 years ago I never would have guessed that Obama was the nascent leader of the dems, so the fact that we can’t see who the incipient leader of the repubs is should not be a surprise.

    Frankly, I hope that leader emerges sooner rather than later, and that we get a more formidable and responsible approach from the republicans in Washington–I think that the health care legislation (just one example) would have benefited from something other than the “just say no” approach that seems to be the de facto fallback until someone takes charge.

    1. Mike Kennedy says:

      I agree. However, part of the responsibility falls on the president to appeal to the other party on a few issues. The most successful modern day presidents did it — Reagan and Clinton. No president can be successful not doing it.

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