Friday, March 27, 2015

Hey, Gov. Rauner, take a look at this billionaire governor who taxed the rich and increased the minimum wage -- Now, His State's Economy Is One of the Best in the Country (by Carl Gibson)

“…When he took office in January of 2011, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton inherited a $6.2 billion budget deficit and a 7 percent unemployment rate from his predecessor, Tim Pawlenty, the soon-forgotten Republican candidate for the presidency who called himself Minnesota's first true fiscally-conservative governor in modern history. 

“Pawlenty prided himself on never raising state taxes -- the most he ever did to generate new revenue was increase the tax on cigarettes by 75 cents a pack. Between 2003 and late 2010, when Pawlenty was at the head of Minnesota's state government, he managed to add only 6,200 more jobs.

“During his first four years in office, Gov. Dayton raised the state income tax from 7.85 to 9.85 percent on individuals earning over $150,000, and on couples earning over $250,000 when filing jointly -- a tax increase of $2.1 billion. He's also agreed to raise Minnesota's minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2018, and passed a state law guaranteeing equal pay for women

“Republicans like state representative Mark Uglem warned against Gov. Dayton's tax increases, saying, ‘The job creators, the big corporations, the small corporations, they will leave. It's all dollars and sense to them.’ 

“…Between 2011 and 2015, Gov. Dayton added 172,000 new jobs to Minnesota's economy -- that's 165,800 more jobs in Dayton's first term than Pawlenty added in both of his terms combined. Even though Minnesota's top income tax rate is the 4th-highest in the country, it has the 5th-lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.6 percent. According to 2012-2013 U.S. census figures, Minnesotans had a median income that was $10,000 larger than the U.S. average, and their median income is still $8,000 more than the U.S. average today.

“By late 2013, Minnesota's private sector job growth exceeded pre-recession levels, and the state's economy was the 5th fastest-growing in the United States. Forbes even ranked Minnesota the 9th-best state for business (Scott Walker's ‘Open for Business’ Wisconsin came in at a distant #32 on the same list). Despite the fear mongering over businesses fleeing from Dayton's tax cuts, 6,230 more Minnesotans filed in the top income tax bracket in 2013, just one year after Dayton's tax increases went through. 

“As of January 2015, Minnesota has a $1 billion budget surplus, and Gov. Dayton has pledged to reinvest more than one third of that money into public schools. And according to Gallup, Minnesota's economic confidence is higher than any other state.

Gov. Dayton didn't accomplish all of these reforms by shrewdly manipulating people -- this article describes Dayton's astonishing lack of charisma and articulateness. He isn't a class warrior driven by a desire to get back at the 1 percent -- Dayton is a billionaire heir to the Target fortune. It wasn't just a majority in the legislature that forced him to do it -- Dayton had to work with a Republican-controlled legislature for his first two years in office. And unlike his Republican neighbor to the east, Gov. Dayton didn't assert his will over an unwilling populace by creating obstacles between the people and the vote -- Dayton actually created an online voter registration system, making it easier than ever for people to register to vote.

“The reason Gov. Dayton was able to radically transform Minnesota's economy into one of the best in the nation is simple arithmetic. Raising taxes on those who can afford to pay more will turn a deficit into a surplus. Raising the minimum wage will increase the median income. And in a state where education is a budget priority and economic growth is one of the highest in the nation, it only makes sense that more businesses would stay. It's official -- trickle-down economics is bunk. Minnesota has proven it once and for all. If you believe otherwise, you are wrong.”

For the complete article, Click Here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Illinois Democrats vote to cut services (from Fred Klonsky)

“Governor Private Equity’s strategy of threatening state budgetary nuclear destruction seems to be working. Yesterday the Democratic majority in the Illinois House voted massive cuts to needed services. The nuclear strategy allowed Democrats to claim a win. While you will be hearing that day-care funds were saved, it came at a huge price” (Klonsky).

Food and Drug Safety Fund……………………..$1,000,000
Fire Prevention Fund…………………………$23,000,000
Radiation Protection Fund……………………..$1,500,000
Illinois Health Facilities Planning Fund………..$3,746,000
Emergency Public Health Fund…………………….$500,000
Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund………….$6,000,000
Illinois Prescription Drug Discount Program Fund…..$257,100
Violence Prevention Special Projects Fund….$3,000,000
Drug Treatment Fund…………………………..$1,000,000
Trauma Center Fund……………………………$7,000,000
Human Services Priority Capital Program Fund…….$1,680,000
Commitment to Human Services Fund……………..$25,000,000
New Born Baby Metabolic Screening and Treatment Fund………….$5,000,000
Mental Health Fund……………………………$3,000,000
Public Health Special State Projects Fund……….$5,000,000
Education Funding …………………$150,000,000…

And there were more. Now it goes to the Senate.

Here are the cuts.

See how your legislator voted.

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Karl Marx was one of the Marx Brothers"

Irreverence: “a deficiency in veneration or respect.”
Humor: “the faculty of perceiving what is amusing or comical.”
Wit: “the keen perception and cleverly apt expression of those connections between ideas which awaken amusement and pleasure.”

The following excerpts are actual answers (with just a few grammatical and spelling corrections) given on history tests and on Sunday school quizzes by 5th and 6th graders:

Ancient Egypt was old. It was inhabited by gypsies and mummies who all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert.

Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without ingredients. Moses went up Mount Cyanide to get the 10 commandos. He died before he ever reach Canada, but the commandos made it.

Solomon had 300 wives and 700 porcupines. He was an actual hysterical figure as well as in the Bible. It sounds like he was sort of busy too.

The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn’t have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a young female moth.

Socrates was a famous old Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. He later died from an overdose of wedlock which is apparently poisonous. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline.

In the first Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled biscuits, and threw the java. The games were messier than they show on TV now.

Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battle fields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Dying, he gasped out “Same to you, Brutus.”

Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak and was canonized by Bernard Shaw for reasons I don’t really understand. The English and French still have problems.

Queen Elizabeth was the “Virgin Queen.” As a queen she was a success. When she exposed herself before the troops, they all shouted “hurrah!” and that was the end of the fighting for a long while.”

It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented removable type and the Bible. Another important invention was the circulation of blood.

Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes and started smoking. Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100 foot clipper which was very dangerous for all of his men.

The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare. He was born in the year 1564, supposedly on his birthday. He never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He wrote tragedies, comedies, and hysterectomies, all in Islamic pentameter.

Writing at the time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Since then no one ever found it.

Johann Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children. In between he practiced on an old spinster which he kept up in his attic. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Bach was the most famous composer in the world and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English. He was very large.

Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf that he wrote loud music and became the father of rock and roll. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.

Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin discovered electricity by rubbing two cats backward and also declared, “A horse divided against itself cannot stand.” He was a naturalist for sure. Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

Abraham Lincoln became the greatest precedent. Lincoln’s mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by signing the Emasculation Proclamation.

On the night of April 4, 1865, Lincoln went to the theatre and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. They believe the assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposingly insane actor. This ruined Booth’s career.

Charles Darwin was a naturalist. He wrote the Organ of the Species. It was very long and people got upset about it and had trials to see if it was really true. He sort of said God’s days were not just 24 hours, but without watches who knew anyhow? I don’t get it.

Karl Marx was one of the Marx Brothers. The other three were in the movies. Karl made speeches and started revolutions. Someone in the family had to have a job, I guess.