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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Conflicted Letter Writer

The letter below was printed in the Chisago County Press, June 21, 2007. Since it is not online at that paper’s web site, it is included here for convenience of the reader.


NYC had right idea

To the editor:

In January of 2002, the mayor of New York City faced a $6 billion deficit and the same tough choices as Governor Tim Pawlenty.

But facing the same three options; cut services, raise taxes or both and against the advice of his advisors - Mayor Michael Bloomberg raised taxes 18.5 percent. By the following summer his approval ratings had plunged to 31 percent.

The success of his strategy, however, is undeniable. New York City has added 151,000 private sector jobs and has attracted 44 million visitors through a not for profit marketing juggernaut aptly named NYC & Co.

The city, where residents are treated like business customers, touts a $1.3 billion surplus and Mayor Bloomberg’s approval ratings hover between 70-75 percent.

In contrast, Minnesota’s growth has fallen for two consecutive years, now ranked 30th in the country, and for the first time ever, Minnesota’s unemployment rate exceeded the national average.

The difference is Mayor Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman, understood what Governor Pawlenty, an upstart lawyer/politician, didn’t. Mayor Bloomberg saw public transportation, clean streets and safe neighborhoods as critical to maintaining the “brand” that makes New York City successful.

Minnesota, like New York City, has a “brand” that business people and residents understand and protecting that “brand” will be more productive than abandoning it.

“I’ve always joked”, says Bloomberg, “that the difference between having the courage of your convictions and being pig-headed is in the results.”

Did he just call Governor Pawlenty pig-headed?

I believe he did.

Wade Vitalis


The next week, this same author sent the following to the Post Review, which asks “Why are our taxes so high?” Read it here.

In the former letter he argued that Governor Pawlenty should have pushed for a substantial tax increase, suggestively comparable to Bloomberg's 18.5% increase in 2002. In the latter, one week later, he argued taxes should be decreased. This conflicted letter writer wants it both ways! Inside of two weeks, in two papers, he has two views.


tfgoper said...

There are many things the writer fails to mention that allow him to make such leaps. For instance, it isn't that Minnesota is doing poorly, it's that the nation is doing so well. Of course the author can't say that without crediting the Bush administration and its tax cuts. Rather, he deliberately ignores that fact to make Minnesota look like its doing poorly.

Instead, he criticizes Pawlenty for what amounts to one tenth of a percent (4.6 Minnesota/ 4.5 mational as of June).

The author fails to mention that Minnesota has posted job gains in 20 of the last 25 months, and that we have been outpacing the national average for quite some time.

He also fails to mention the surpluses Pawlenty managed to create without draconian tax increases like those of Bloomberg. An incredible feat by any standard.

But the author wants to paint a dark picture of Pawlenty in order to justify tax increases. In regards to his Post Review letter, he advocates bringing business in, which he no doubt would want to tax at a high rate. This, of course, is a good way to drive business out and, in fact, keep it from coming in the first place.

Incidentally, I was unable to find any letters from the author crediting the Pawlenty aadministration during all of those months that Minnesota outpaced the national average. I wonder why?

It stands to reason that he is taking advantage of a temporary situation to score political points. Clever, but not very honest or fair.

Elephant Herd said...

I find it interesting that the letter writer said, "..for the first time ever, Minnesota’s unemployment rate exceeded the national average" without identifying the actual numbers. Mentioning the actual numbers makes the state look good.The state's unemployment rate, month by month, with annual averages can be found here.

tfgoper said...

Also of interest in the statement "for the first time ever," is that, instead of acknowledging what a wonderful job the state has done historically, even through the dark economic times post-9/11, the author instead criticizes as though anything short of being better than the national average makes one "pig-headed."

If Pawlenty is "pig-headed" suddenly, what was he before, when he was outpacing the nation and keeping taxes down at the same time?

My guess is, he was still pig-headed.

Elephant Herd said...

So a Dem thinks the governor is pig-headed for stubbornly refusing to raise taxes. We Republicans and probably many Dems appreciate that stubbornness, which word can have the positive quality of persistence, resoluteness and perseverance. I’m glad Governor Pawlenty persevered in the face of the Democrat’s stubborn insistence (maybe pig-headedness) to raise taxes back in 2002 and in 2007. Someone has to say persistently, “Enough is enough.” That is generally not a Dem.