February was a tough month for a liberal in Minnesota.
First, we had the ineffable mid-month public dust-up between Majority Leader Tom Bakk and Governor Dayton. Ineffable, as in impossible to explain.
I was taught from a very young age to keep family fights behind closed doors because — you never know — there might be a few Orangemen lurking about. In fact, in my neighborhood growing up, the hausfrau’s always hung the undies on the inside lines between the bedsheets. And they grew the backyard lilacs tall. They didn’t want the neighbors to know the family wore underwear, I guess. That’s how closely people conducted their private affairs.
Might could be that Bakk and Dayton could learn from their example. But Hey! — who am I to judge? If our honorable leaders at the Capitol want to act like a couple of boozy bruisers from the Marshall Street scrap yards slugging it out at Frank’s Stand-up over a 25-cent tune on the jukebox, it ain’t really my business. Just don’t spill my beer.
Except, of course, that it makes the party look bad.
So, already burdened with lengthy bout of dyspesia, which I had just about suppressed herbally with thrice daily doses of Moroccan Mint tea ($3.79 at better grocers everywhere), along comes the budget surplus announcement, which is projected to be $1.86 billion as opposed to the $832 million projected in the last forecast. An increase in funds available of $1.03 billion.
Now, that should have been ‘A Good Thing’, as Martha Stewart liked to say about insider dope before she did prison time for stock fraud. In earlier times, politicians on both sides of the aisle would have thrown their arms in the air and erupted with cheers and vigorous back-slapping all ’round. Yay! Minnesota is back on the road to Fourple-A bond ratings, expansive job growth and increasing prosperity for everyone! Let’s all be real happy!
But, no; sadly, no. It took a veteran whitebread buzzkill like Speaker Kurt Daudt to fug-up the festive mood by injecting partisanship into the announcement and simultaneously squander all the careful work I’d put in to drown-out the bellyfire that the Bakk-Dayton flap had ignited. That’s known to Coolers in the Vegas casino’s as a twofer. Maybe that’s where Daudt’s real talents lay.
“Part of this economic confidence,” Daudt told reporters with a straight face, “is there is balance restored in state government.”
With that statement, I knew instantly that I’d have to bring up the heavy guns and elevate the alimentary counter-assault to Kaopectate® milkshakes morning and night to have any hope of victory. Still, I tried desparately to follow Speaker Daudt’s logic: since January 6, 2015 — a little more than seven weeks of “balanced” government (when T-Paw was gubner, they called it “divided” government) — economic confidence among consumers has been restored to the tune of an extra Billion-Plus dollars in tax revenues? Is that really what he’s claiming?
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