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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Representative Kate Knuth - The Cluelessness Continues

Representative Kate Knuth latest opinion piece is published in the latest editions of both the New Brighton Bulletin and the Sun Focus newspapers. The piece is yet another self-serving collection of DFL talking points that deflect responsibility for the actions of Knuth and her party and attempt to put a good spin on future decisions that will put the liberal/socialist agenda ahead of the interest of her constituents.

In most of the previous incarnations of Knuth's self-servitude I have done a paragraph-by-paragraph dissection (see this post at Mr. Dilettante for a good overview of the technique) to highlight, as well as mock, the obvious problems and lame attempt at political spin. Although picking on DFL idiocy is fun if one has the time it can also get a bit tedious as they can't seem to come up with any really new ideas or spin.

This time around I skip the bulk of the piece that attempts to deflect the responsibility of the DFL for the current deficit and focus on the last part where Knuth puts forth her recommended actions. Please do take the time to look over the whole piece (linked above at both the Bulletin and the Sun) and debunk it for yourself.

After the self and party exculpatory verbiage, Knuth transitions into the concluding paragraphs that outline the DFL action plan with the following:
As I looked at the Governor's proposals, largely dominated by budget cuts, I looked for fairness, and honestly found little. The bulk of his cuts fall on college students who already pay nearly twice the national average in tuition at our state's public colleges; on people without health care, with plans to eliminate access for approximately 31,000 people - including 20,000 children; and on seniors and the disabled, with cuts to nursing homes and long-term care.

It's difficult to ask these any of these people to absorb another round of cuts, and yet at the end of the day, something's got to give. We all understand the need to tighten our belts, but our goal is for that belt to circle everyone fairly.
Well, there she goes again: budget cuts are "unfair". But to whom are they unfair? She sobs that college students "who already pay nearly twice the national average in tuition" are getting picked on by Governor Green-but-Mean. Since when is society obligated to subsidize college students, who are often still dependents of their parents, without limit? Why is college education so expensive in the first place? Maybe instead of demonizing "big oil" and "big pharmaceutical" Knuth and her comrades should look into price gouging by the educational community, of which Knuth herself is a member. Which political community has been in control of education for decades at all government levels and within the schools themselves?

She also whines on about those "without" health care losing their "access", which is a load of horse crap as there are an abundance of health care provider outlets mandated by law to provide services without regard to ability to pay. She is concerned about seniors and the disabled but doesn't seem to care that the cost of living for these people is going up, along with that for everyone else, largely due to liberal government policies. It seems the only group she does not have empathy for is the one that pays the bills.

She then starts into her prescription to make the hurt go away:
The clearest way out of slow economic times is jobs, and we've already taken steps to jump start the economy with high-quality new jobs. The recently passed transportation bill will create 33,000 jobs annually for the next five years and the bonding bill will create thousands more.
First off, how much of the "slow economic times" ahead will be caused or exacerbated by over taxation and regulation?

As far as "jump starting" the economy with high-quality new jobs, Knuth's appalling ignorance of economics is showing once again. She credits the Transportation Bill (it would be more accurate to refer to it as the Tax Increase Bill) with creating "33,000 jobs annually for the next five years" and asserts that the Bonding Bill will create "thousands more". I don't know which bodily orifice she pulled these figures out of (I could make an educated guess, but this is a family-friendly blog...) but it is clear that she is either lying through her teeth or is incredibly clueless about how economics works in a free society. I believe the case is mostly the latter, so I think a quick lesson in economics for Kate and like-minded liberals is in order.

Knuth and liberals commonly interchange the concepts of "job" and "employment". In economic terms, a job is created as the means to fulfill the need to create a product or perform a service that is desired by others in the marketplace. In contrast, "employment" is the act of someone paying someone else in exchange for their labor. Clearly a job creates employment, but the act of employing someone does not necessarily create a "job" with respect to the larger ecomony.

Government cannot create jobs by fiat, though they often can and do create employment. From the perspective of the employee performing the work, their employment is their job, but in terms of the overall economy if the work the employee performs is not to satisfy the creation of a demanded product or service it does not contribute to the growth of the economy.

Government created employment also detracts from economic growth in many cases. As an example, the government could employ lots of people to dig holes and employ others to fill them in. The diggers and the fillers may diligently perform their work and collect the pay they have earned in exchange for their labor, but how was the economy expanded? The pay and benefits for these people would have to come from the government, who must collect it as taxes from people who worked at real jobs. No new wealth has entered the economy - it was merely transferred from one group to another (after government took its cut). Clearly somewhere within the economy at least some people must be employed at real jobs that create wealth or the whole economy would collapse.

The "jobs" Knuth excitedly touts would be closer to the digger and filler employment model as much of the "work" demanded would be for government mandated goods and services that would have limited or no demand within the real world economy. Her final "what to do" bullet points bear this out:
But long-term economic prosperity can't be achieved without a strong focus on our future. Within the next two years we must:

- Strengthen our investments in renewable energy and biosciences to establish Minnesota as a regional center for these booming industries.
Note the "our investments" nonsense again. Liberals and socialists can't seem to grasp the fact that government spends and the private sector invests if the government gets out of the way so that there is economic incentive to do so.

There is no huge market driven demand for renewable energy. Even at the current government induced high prices carbon-based and nuclear energy is much more economically viable for industry. Requiring impractical energy sources will just cut economic growth and drive smaller operators out of business. As far as these industries being "booming", it is becoming more and more apparent even to the mainstream media that these industries are actually bombing as real world economics catches up with them. If and when replacements for traditional fuels become economically viable they will become the dominant fuel due to market demand, not government mandate.
- Create a world-class education system that includes early childhood, higher education and workforce training to ensure Minnesotans are the most well trained and fully prepared workers in the world.
"World-class" coming from a liberal or socialist should set off a plethora of red flags. Seems that we had a quality educational system at one time. Instead of providing the educational foundation for occupations like engineers, scientists, machinists, and venture capitalists our liberal run system is producing social activists, diversity specialists, psychobabblers, and tree-huggers.

Minnesota gave rise to companies like Univac, Control Data, and 3M (as well as hundreds of smaller companies) that employed thousands of people at intellectually and technically demanding jobs. The last 40 years or so of liberals running the education system into the ground, excessively taxing, and attempting to run the economy indicate that the climate for such business activity has been significantly degraded.
- Reform our tax system to ensure a fair and stable revenue system that grows apace with Minnesota's population and economy.
There's that F-word again ("fair"). Our economic well being and liberty does not revolve around a stable and growing revenue system for government because government revenue can come only at the expense of private capital! Kate does have it partially correct in that the tax system is in need of reform. If she and the DFL were really interested in "jump starting" the economy they would be advocating the reduction of all taxes, especially income and capital gains, the elimination of green and energy mandates, and a large reduction in government regulation in general.
If we've learned anything, it's that cuts alone, like the ones imposed during Minnesota's last budget deficit, are not the way to protect the future or guarantee economic success. We must find ways that move us forward, not backward, while protecting the quality of life, health and safety that Minnesotans value.
Apparently Kate the Clueless and the DFL have not learned anything. Cutting budgets to force the reduction or elimination of wasteful and needless government expenditure is always beneficial to the people who pay the bill for government. Cutting out spending for things government should not be involved in frees up money for the essential, but very limited, things government should do.

Under Governor Pawlenty (at least before he started his leftward drift) Minnesota cut spending (actually we just cut the rate of growth of some spending) and economically grew out of the last budget deficit and into a sizable surplus until the dumb-ass DFL (including Knuth) taxed and spent us into the current deficit! Government cannot, and should not attempt to, guarantee economic success. It can, however, go a long way toward not impeding those in the private sector who create the economic growth and success by getting the hell out of the way and, metaphorically speaking, stop sticking its sizeable nose where it doesn't belong.

Finally, as far as values and quality of life goes, Representative Knuth and/or her DFL fellow travelers are not qualified to lecture us about values until they actually demonstrate that they stand for something beyond advancing the reach and influence of government.

Dump Kate in '08!

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Blogger Mark Heuring said...

Outstanding job, RH. The question I always have after reading something like Knuth's piece is this -- does she really believe the nonsense she puts out there, despite all the evidence that she's completely wrong?

4/06/2008 7:38 PM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

Mark -

That's a tough call.

Someone like Knuth who has spent so much time in a classroom should have picked up something about economics along the way. Then again, she was raised in an extremely liberal DFL activist household. Those of us on the right were fighting many of the same battles (with only letters to the editor instead of a blog) against her father's liberal tax and spend agenda in the statehouse when KK was just a little liberal.

4/07/2008 7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good dismantling of the DFL talking points.

This girl and her fellow DFL'ers are beyond clueless. People who vote for them are in the same boat.


4/08/2008 7:00 AM  

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