MINNESOTA and Wisconsin share much more than bone-chilling winters: German and Northern European roots; farming; and, until recently, a populist progressive tradition stretching back a century to Wisconsin’s Fighting Bob La Follette and the birth of Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.
But in 2010 these cousin states diverged. By doing so they began a natural experiment that compares the agendas of modern progressivism and the new right. Wisconsin elected Republicans to majorities in the Legislature and selected a bold and vigorous Republican governor, Scott Walker. Minnesotans elected one of the most progressive candidates for governor in the country, Mark Dayton of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.
A month after Mr. Walker’s inauguration in January 2011, he catapulted himself to the front ranks of national conservative leaders with attacks on the collective bargaining rights of Civil Service unions and sharp reductions in taxes and spending. Once Mr. Dayton teamed up with a Democratic Legislature in 2012, Minnesota adopted some of the most progressive policies in the country.
Minnesota raised taxes by $2.1 billion, the largest increase in recent state history. Democrats introduced the fourth highest income tax bracket in the country and targeted the top 1 percent of earners to pay 62 percent of the new taxes, according to the Department of Revenue.
Which side of the experiment — the new right or modern progressivism — has been most effective in increasing jobs and improving business opportunities, not to mention living conditions?
MORE: Right vs. Left in the Midwest – NYTimes.com.
Even as Congressional leaders and the president discuss a potential temporary solution to the current stalemate over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling, the repeated cycle of lurching from crisis to crisis has significant and real costs to the U.S. economy.
A new report, prepared by Macroeconomic Advisers, LLC for the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, examines the cost of crisis-driven fiscal policy over the past few years by looking at indicators including GDP growth, the unemployment rate and the corporate credit spread. The paper considers recent policy and political battles including the sequester, the government shutdown and brinksmanship on the debt ceiling.
MORE: Special Report: The Cost of Crisis-Driven Fiscal Policy | pgpf.org.
With days to go before the United States debt default deadline, Beijing aired its frustrations with the shutdown Sunday, saying it was time to consider a “de-Americanized” world order.
With $1.28 trillion in U.S. Treasuries, China is easily the biggest foreign holder of American debt.
China has also funneled billions of dollars into private American investments – to the tune of an estimated $54 billion in 2012 alone.
“As U.S. politicians of both political parties are still shuffling back and forth between the White House and the Capitol Hill without striking a viable deal to bring normality to the body politic they brag about, it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world,” according to a stinging op-ed article by state news agency, Xinhua.
MORE: China state media blasts US shutdown, calls for a de-Americanized world – Behind The Wall.
The most telling thing about Boehner’s remarks is their brevity. The Speaker spoke for about five minutes, responded briefly to one question, and bolted out the door. Obama’s disquisition earlier today may have been long over an hour and professorial. But he was able to defend his position against questions, engage counterarguments, and marshal facts to support his position. Boehner couldn’t do any of those things. So he did the only thing a man in his position could do: repeat a handful of false or crazy talking points and quickly flee the premises.
MORE: Boehner Too Embarrassed to Defend Extortion — Daily Intelligencer.
CDC isnt the only agency protecting health and safety thats strained. The shutdown has forced the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration to halt its regular mine safety inspections, which it normally conducts at each of the nations underground mines every three months.
The lack of inspections is coming under scrutiny after three mine workers died in separate accidents on three consecutive days during the past week. The coal mining industry has not had three consecutive days of fatal accidents in more than a decade. MSHA has said its premature to draw any conclusions about the link between the shutdown and the accidents, but the nations largest mine workers union has raised alarms.
“The governments watchdog isnt watching,” United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts said. “Safety violations that would normally be caught and corrected as a result of those inspections are being missed. Even the smallest violations, when allowed to accumulate, can lead to dangerous conditions very quickly in a coal mine.”
Federal occupational safety and health inspectors also have stopped most workplace checks, and the National Transportation Safety Board is only investigating accidents if officials believe lives or property are in danger.
The Food and Drug Administration also has stopped routine inspections of food facilities in the United States and abroad, and border controls could be delayed. Food imports are still being inspected at borders, but any samples that need to be analyzed could be stalled because there are fewer scientists to analyze them.The CDC also has had to halt its surveillance of flu, an infectious disease that kills about 24,000 Americans in an average year.
MORE: Government Shutdown Slows Response To Salmonella Outbreak, Halts Flu Tracking.