Serial Job Killers: Conservative Economics

I hope the next time your right-wing family member or former high school classmate posts a snide remark about out how taxing the wealthy or increasing workers’ wages are jobs killers or that they entice businesses to leave the state, please, do yourself a big favor and show them the FACTS below….not that facts have ever taken precedence over fear-mongering innuendo and generalities that are propagandized ad nauseum on Faux News 24/7.cartoon-republicans-economy

When Minnesota governor Mark Dayton took office in 2011, he inherited a$6.2 billion budget deficit and a 7 percent unemployment rate from his Republican predecessor, Tim Pawlenty, the soon-discarded Republican candidate for the presidency who called himself Minnesota’s first true fiscally-conservative governor in modern history. Pawlenty prided himself on never raising state taxes — the outdated, worn-out, yet always bragged-about conservative meme on how to be fiscally on solid ground. For the entire seven years between 2003 and late 2010, when Pawlenty was at the head of Minnesota’s state government, he managed to add a mere whopping 6,200 more jobs.

Fast-forward to Governor Dayton. During his first four years in office, Gov. Dayton raised the state income tax from 7.85 to 9.85 percent on only individuals earning over $150,000/yr. and on couples earning over $250,000 when filing jointly. He also raised Minnesota’s minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2018, and passed a state law mandating equal pay for women.

Republicans naturally and predictably warned against Gov. Dayton’s tax increases, saying, “The job creators, the big corporations, the small corporations, they will leave. It’s all dollars and sense to them.”

By the way, that conservative friend or family member you shared this article with would probably say the same if their governor tried something similar. But like Uglem, they would be proven wrong.

In just four years, 2011-2015, Gov. Dayton added 172,000 new jobs ( that a 2,774% increase over previous Governor Pawlenty’s eight-year epic fail) to Minnesota’s economy – or state differently, 165,800 more jobs in Dayton’s first term than Pawlenty added in both of his terms combined.

Moreover, despite Minnesota’s top income tax rate being the 4th-highest in the country, it has the 5th-lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.6 percent. According to 2012-2013 U.S. census figures, Minnesotans had a median income that was $10,000 larger than the U.S. average, and their median income is still $8,000 more than the U.S. average today.

By late 2013, Minnesota’s private sector job growth exceeded pre-recession levels, and the state’s economy was the 5th fastest-growing in the United States. Forbes even ranked Minnesota the 9th-best state for business (Scott Walker’s “Open For Business” Wisconsin came in at a distant #32 on the same list).

As of January 2015, Minnesota has a $1 billion budget surplus, and Gov. Dayton has pledged to reinvest more than one third of that money into public schools. And according to Gallup, Minnesota’s economic confidence is higher than any other state in the country.

Gov. Dayton didn’t accomplish all of these reforms by manipulating people — Dayton had to work with a Republican-controlled legislature for his first two years in office. And unlike Walker’s record, his Republican neighbor to the east, Gov. Dayton didn’t assert his will over an unwilling populace by creating obstacles between the people and the vote — Dayton actually created an online voter registration system, making it easier than ever for people to register to vote. That IS supposed to be the hallmark of a democracy isn’t it?

The reason Gov. Dayton was able to radically transform Minnesota’s economy into one of the best in the nation is simple arithmetic. Raising taxes on those who can afford to pay more will turn a deficit into a surplus. Raising the minimum wage will increase the median income and put money in the pockets of taxpayers who would rather pay their taxes and spend their discretionary income on things they want as opposed to poor taxpayers who can only afford to spend their income on things they simply must have in order to survive.

Add to that a state where education is a budget priority and economic growth is one of the highest in the nation, it only makes sense that more businesses would stay.

It’s official — trickle-down economics is bunk. It always has been and it always will be.

And just for kicks, here’s a few tidbits to drive the point home.

  1. Since Ronald Reagan’s presidency, Democrat presidents have reduced the deficit while Republican presidents have increased the deficit.
  2. Democrat presidents have handed over budget surpluses to Republicans who squandered the surplus and left office with budget deficits.
  3. The last Republican presidential administration who actively attempted to pay down the national debt during an economic downturn was Herbert Hoover. He re-instated the Gold Standard to back U.S. currency and turned an inherited budget surplus into the Great Depression, the worst economic catastrophe in U.S. history.
  4. The top ten states for receiving federal assistance are all Red states (conservative).

Ranked in descending order they are:

  1. Arizona
  2. South Dakota
  3. West Virginia
  4. Tennessee
  5. Montana
  6. Maine
  7. Louisiana
  8. Alabama
  9. New Mexico
  10. Mississippi

Sometimes you just have to let the facts speak for themselves.

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Harvey A. Gold