Friday, July 1, 2011

MN Govt Shutdown: We Only Have Ourselves to Blame

The fiscal problems facing the State of Minnesota which culminated early this morning with the shutdown of state government is a direct result of Minnesotans electing politicians who signed pledges. In a republican form of government, the people elect politicians to represent their interests, leaving it up to each individual politician to use his or her own best judgment on any particular issue.

However, dating back several election cycles now, the Taxpayers League and other right wing extremist organizations have extorted loyalty oaths in the form of pledges not to raise taxes, no matter what the circumstances, no matter what the exigencies, no matter what the crisis. The end result: gridlock and government shutdown.

Much like a child holding its breath to get his or her own way, the Republican controlled Minnesota Legislature, just like Minnesota's former Governor, Republican Tim Pawlenty, before it, abdicated their solemn duty to act in the best interest of all Minnesotans and allowed their hands to be tied for the sake of a ridiculously simplistic pledge of no new taxes.

Nevermind the fact that the state was one of only a few states in the entire country which had not raised the state's share of gasoline taxes, which taxes are dedicated to the upkeep of the state's roads and bridges. The end result of such Timfoolery has been a deteriorating and decrepit surface transportation system and most tragically the collapse of the 35W bridge and resulting loss of life.

Politics is what it is and that is the art of compromise. When we, the body electorate, choose to elect politicians who come into office with their hands tied, unable to exercise sound judgment due to the extortionate pledges they signed in order to get elected, we only have ourselves to blame.

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