18 thoughts on “On Hole Digging

  1. Dave says:

    Mr. Emmer is very lucky it is only July. Regardless how he felt about this issue, I have no idea why he took it up.

  2. john sherman says:

    Given that the congressional Republicans practically en mass are declaring that they can’t vote to extend unemployment benefits because that would raise the debt but insist on continuing the Bush tax breaks for the rich because I guess rich people are nicer than unemployed people, Emmer is practically a liberal in that company.

    1. Mike Kennedy says:

      Oh brother. Here we go again. The top 20 percent of income earners pay about 70 percent of all federal income taxes. What should they pay? All of them? Are you attempting to argue that our system isn’t progressive enough for you? Well, OK by me. But with nearly half of all households paying no income taxes, you have a big hill to climb.

      1. Joe Loveland says:

        It is deceptive to look only at federal income taxes. When you take into account the overall state, local and federal tax bills, you don’t need to shed tears for the wealthy. As a Minnesota Budget Project analysis finds:

        Minnesota’s tax system is roughly proportional, taking approximately the same percentage of income in taxes from people of all income levels.

        Each type of tax varies in its impact. Lower-income Minnesotans pay more of their tax burden as sales and excise taxes; upper-income people pay more of their tax burden as income taxes.”

      2. Mike Kennedy says:

        You’ll get no static from me. John was attempting to argue the old liberal saw that Bush tax cuts only helped the rich and he was referring only to federal taxes.

      3. Newt says:

        Do rich people use the roads, fire or police more than the middle class or poor? Someone living on Lake of the Isles Parkway paying $20K/year in property taxes sure as hell isn’t using $20K in government services. Ask the right question to get the right answer.

      4. john sherman says:

        I guess I wasn’t as explicit as I should have been; my point is the utter incoherence and/or hypocrisy of the Republican congressional leadership claiming that $30 billion for unemployment extension is unaffordable because it raises the deficit but that $687 billion (over ten years) in tax cuts mainly benefiting the rich doesn’t have to be offset at all.

        As John William Verant’s strib op-ed (7/15) helpfully points out one of the reasons the rich pay so much is that they have so much,”the richest 1 percent of Americans own as much as the bottom 95 percent.” Nor has tax system apparently hurt their ability to accumulate: “Since 1980, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans had their share of all income increase 2 1/2 times. And the top 0.1percent had their share of our national earning increase an amazing six times” If the richest 2% end up with all the income, would you be okay with them paying all the taxes, or would that be unfair?

        And these discussions don’t address the deeply regressive payroll taxes. I imagine the percent of his income that LeBron James puts into FICA will be a decimal followed by a string of zeros out to the horizon.

        I’ve never seen the “nearly half of all households paying no income taxes” disaggregated to disclose who those, in the words of the WSJ, “lucky duckies” are. I realize there were tax cuts last year, but I happened to have the 1040 booklet from 2007 around, so I checked the tax tables, and as far as I can tell–and I am no expert on this–when taxable income reaches $5, the tax is $1; to get $5 worth of taxable income a married couple filing jointly with no special exemptions would have an income of $17,505. Unless we assume that all families have twenty kids, this doesn’t square at all with claims about median family income. Who are these households? Elderly couples living exclusively on Social Security? Families on welfare? Military families with the wage earner deployed in a combat zone? Who of these do you want to tax to give a hedge fund manager a break?

      5. Mike Kennedy says:

        Uh, the lawyer who wrote the piece in the Strib that Mr. Sherman is referring to isn’t factually correct.

        According to the latest Federal Reserve stats, the wealthiest 1 percent held 34.3 percent of the nation’s wealth; so I don’t know how the author of that piece is calculating his numbers, but I hope he is a better lawyer than an economist.

        I know most liberals want to redistribute wealth according to what is “fair” in their eyes, but if we are going to argue free market vs. redistribution, let’s at least have the debate based on facts instead of hype.

        It’s easy to make up numbers or perpetuate incorrect ones. As Steven Wright says, 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

        Additionally, make up your mind about what you are arguing about. Are you saying the rich have too high of incomes? Or are you arguing they have too many assets? Or both? There isn’t anything remotely unfair about the FEDERAL or STATE income taxes. They are progressive, not regressive. I personally favor a flat tax with no deductions.

  3. Joe Loveland says:

    The Minnesota Publius blog today points out that Emmer’s Research Director David Strom evidently thinks he has confiscated his boss’s beloved shovel. Apparently Strom secretly whispered on Twitter, where no one else could hear:

    1. We know this is a problem. Today is the last day. Over. Done. No Mas. Just help us stay on message: courage and willingness to listen. DS. 2. No more tip credit after today. We won’t win the issue. DS”

  4. Newt says:

    Emmer is a tool, which places him squarely on par with his DFL opponents. Should be a real nail-biter this fall.

    1. Ellen M says:

      Hi Mike and Newt: Why are you guys apparently so quick to preserve, protect and defend the interests of the well-off Minnesotan? Time and again, you seem to argue that Bush tax cuts for the rich were not really tax cuts for the rich or if they were tax cuts for the rich they were a good thing because they created jobs.

      Then why the heck did the nation’s finances COLLAPSE during the last year of Bush’s 8 years in office? Hmm? Thanks, guys.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:


        You are conflating two issues that have nothing to do with each other. The nation’s financial collapse had nothing to do with tax cuts whatsoever and everything to do with too much money sloshing around the economy because of lax monetary policy by the Federal Reserve. That, in turn, fueled a housing boom in which everyone contributed — Wall Street, Congress, the administration, mortgage brokers, bankers, real estate agents, rating agencies, speculators and on and on.

        The mortgage bubble would have happened with or without tax cuts. The entire nation was speculating on housing prices going into territory that was completely unsustainable. This became our national policy on housing — everyone, no matter what, should own a home.

        That flawed belief, along with easy money and credit, led us down a road that has been as painful as any bubble we’ve ever been through. And it’s going to take a long time to come out of it.

  5. Joe Loveland says:

    Ever heard that urban myth about wait staff doing unspeakable things to your food if you treat them poorly? I think Mr. Emmer might need a Royal Taster.

  6. Joe Loveland says:

    At least now Emmer has cleared up his position with all this digging.

    As near as I can tell, he used to support the tip credit, both in the Legislature and on the campaign trail, until he got hammered for it, and then he became against the tip credit, unless it can somehow be done in a way that doesn’t reduce the minimum wage, except that he has advocated eliminating the minimum wage in the Legislature, but would never support eliminating or reducing the minimum wage in this economy, unless the Legislature passed it and sent it to him, and then he would sign it.

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