With additional talks stalled until at least Tuesday, July 5th, there is little to do for a Minnesota state politician right now besides point fingers over who is really to blame for the full shutdown of the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Republicans blame the Governor for refusing to agree to their Health and Human Services cuts, which they deemed necessary in order to keep the deficit from becoming too onerous and “passing debt down to our grandchildren.” The Democrats, meanwhile, point to the total rigidity and unwillingness to negotiate by Republicans, who turned down a last minute deal that would eliminate the proposed new top tier tax rate on the richest Minnesotans – originally the top 2 percent of all earners, which was instead reduced to only those who make more than $1 million per year, a total of 7700 Minnesotans.
So why are Republicans so intent on protecting the top .o3 percent of Minnesotans from paying any increase in taxes, preferring instead to cut health care services for the poor, the sick and the elderly? According to Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, the former Secretary of State under Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty, the state really doesn’t need revenue, it just wants to punish rich people. “It’s not about revenue,” Kiffmeyer said. “It’s about a tax increase, because they want to go after those who’ve actually worked hard.”
Those who’ve actually worked hard. For the GOP, the single mother holding down two jobs to try and make enough to pay her rent and still manage to bring home some food for her family doesn’t work hard. The mentally ill man who struggles to stay off the streets because he can’t remember to take his medication every day doesn’t actually work hard. The middle class family who is losing their house because of an unexpected layoff and who found a new job but no longer has health insurance and must pay individual premiums out of pocket doesn’t work hard.
No, for the Republican party, the only proof that you “actually work hard” is if you bring over $1 million a year in earnings. And if you do, you deserve all the protection the party can offer.