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Choosing Mediocrity and Greed


Fri, Aug 5th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

By Dr. Robert Sauer

Before Governor Dayton capitulated to demands the state continue to operate on a budget that excoriates the backs of lower income Minnesotans' I wrote a commentary on the reasonableness of his proposals. They were based broadly on two assumptions most Americans have subscribed to forever.

First, there are functions government can provide better and more efficiently than the private sector and should provide through general taxation. Secondly, those who benefit the most from living in America should contribute more than those who benefit the least.

It turns out, because of the growth by topsy of our system of taxation, both the state and federal tax systems are regressive with the exception of the income tax. Income tax is the only tax opponents of increasing taxes point at. They never say income in front of tax.

Minnesotans in the top one percent of incomes pays less as a per cent of their income in state and local taxes than the bottom 99 percent of us.

Opponents of increasing taxes on the very highest income brackets point out taxpayers in the top 10 percent pay 56 percent of income tax. This is true according to the Minnesota Revenue Department's Tax increment study (MDTI) of 2011. In the same paragraph they note the same taxpayers bore 38.5precent of the total tax burden having 42 percent of a total income. The bottom 10 percent paid no income tax but they paid 2.4 percent of the total tax burden but received less than 0.9 percent of the total income.

Tax rates by deciles from the MDTI shows the rate of all taxes on Minnesotans (state and local) is the lowest for the highest incomes at 9.7 percent.

How the Democrats and Dayton could not get this into the media is beyond me. The scoring of his proposals after watering down his original proposals showed that 90 percent of the increase would be paid by the top 5 percent and fully 80 percent by the top 1 percent of incomes.

This would hardly be confiscatory on those poor million/billionaires. The MDTI shows this would be an increase of 1.77 percent on their total tax rate. Since state and property tax is deductible on federal taxes this would lower the effect on their tax rate to 1.22 percent. The federal government would pay for about 30 percent of the increase coming to Minnesota.

Instead of solving the budget problems the legislature pulled a Pawlenty. A name that should become an adjective describing kic .....
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Growth and grassless yards

Fri, Jul 29th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

We were in the midst of the worst heat wave in ten years, forecast to last at least a week. On the first Saturday of this stretch, my husband Art, his sister Susie and I traveled to Minneapolis to visit Art and Susie's brother Bob and his wife Bonni ..... 
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City mouse, country mouse

Fri, Jul 22nd, 2011
Posted in Commentary

I only recently realized, after living in these lovely hills for five years, that natives saying "they're from the cities" is not just an introduction, it's an inside curse. In these five years I've made many good friends and we have been able to le ..... 
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It's not JUST the budget

Fri, Jul 15th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

As I began to write this commentary for the Journal, the State of Minnesota has been shut down due to failures of the legislative and executive branches to come to an agreement on finances. The reasons for this dilemma could be as simple as the past ..... 
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Progress?

Fri, Jul 15th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Wow. I did not realize that there are actually people out there who believe it is someone else's responsibility to take care of them. That would certainly not be the case in a Democratic Republic. I thought such people were an invention of Fox News ..... 
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Adherence to "No New Taxes Pledge," a threat to our state and our country

Fri, Jul 8th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

As Minnesotans, we are getting hit with a double whammy of dysfunctional government. The inability of the two major political parties to work in concert causes unnecessary hardship, cost increases, and more inefficiency in government. Politicians ta ..... 
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Guest commentary: Why we need a progressive/liberal American vision

Fri, Jul 8th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Over the past couple of years we have been bombarded by political attacks from the far right and their fellow Teapublicans blaming our country's ills on liberalism, socialism, big government, and taxation. These are stale, unsupportable arguments th ..... 
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The new "Three R's" needed for a bright future for Minnesota

Fri, Jul 1st, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton have a unique opportunity at this moment to prompt lasting positive changes for our state and position us to be a national leader for decades to come. Despite the rhetoric on both sides, the biggest obstacle facing u ..... 
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The reason we celebrate

Fri, Jul 1st, 2011
Posted in Commentary

"It is not by consolidation or concentration of powers, but by their distribution that good government is effected."

Thomas Jefferson

It has been 235 years since our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, which is ou ..... 
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