Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hey big DFL spenders

As Minnesota DFLers in close races campaign ever farther toward the right on tax, spending, and jobs issues, it is getting more difficult for voters who don't follow politics year-round (or ever) to sort out the differences between them and their Republican challengers.

Thank goodness for newspaper voter guides, like those in the community-based Sun Newspapers and the Lakeshore Weekly News. These guides take statements from the candidates in their own words. Some of these quotes can be revealing.

For example, Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka) said in the Sun Newspapers voters guide, "Any revenue proposal ought to be based upon the principals [sic] of benefits received and the ability to pay." Or as Karl Marx put it, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

Benson went on to advocate for a light-rail transit line to the southwest suburbs, which like all light rail transit is expensive to build and operates at a structural loss. "The state should aggressively go after every available federal dollar to fund the Southwest light-rail corridor." Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka) is another outspoken candidate for light-rail transit.

In contrast, Benson's Republican-endorsed challenger, Brian Grogan, is focused on reducing state spending. "A significant portion of the state's budget deficit problem is related to the many programs that have automatic, yearly spending increases regardless of revenues," said Grogan. "This growth is unsustainable."

How a light-rail line to Eden Prairie would benefit SD43 is a little sketchy. In the Sun Newspapers voters guide, Bonoff's Republican-endorsed challenger Norann Dillon emphasized the need to add a third lane on 394 at the bottleneck in SD43, an idea that the Plymouth City Council has also advocated.

Boondoggle infrastructure spending will only increase the drag of taxes and government debt on President Obama's sputtering "summer (and fall?) of recovery." Grogan and other fiscally conservative candidates understand how to ease these burdens from all taxpayers, which is the only way to a true recovery. Increased government spending on top of bailouts and so-called stimulus spending has not and will not get us there from here.

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