Monday, April 24, 2017

Are you now, or have you ever been....

If you're not watching the elections in France, it's time to think of yourself as an ostrich and behave accordingly.

It's not as if so goes France, so goes the world, but it's probably not a bad idea to listen to their political rhetoric. Sure, lots of pundits are saying she can't/won't win, but hey, they said the same thing about our current Toddler-in-Chief.  If you don't know what the National Front stands for, maybe you should go read something about it. You might change your mind about being an ostrich after that. And France is not alone. Other European countries are putting forward right-wing candidates who are increasingly brave about their isolationist and nationalist goals. Needless to say, non-Christians need not apply.

We can make jokes about our government, but to not take what it's doing seriously is at our own peril. And you have to look at government from the town on up to the White House. You have to watch it all. 

Let me share this about Minnesota. Marc Dayton is our DFL governor, having followed the Republican Tim Pawlenty who believed vociferously that civil rights were not for everyone. Dayton took over, and things started happening in this state. We have a surplus. Our business climate is one of the top in country. Our schools are in the top 5 states. Wisconsin is run by the GOP nut-ball Scott Walker. (Speaker Paul Ryan is one of their congressclowns.) Iowa is run by Republican Terry Branstad (Chuck Grassley and that brainiac Joni Ernst are their senators.) Here is the border battle as laid out by Joe Atkins, my former state house representative, now Dakota County Commissioner. 

This is what happens when a Democrat runs the show even with a Republican legislature:
I recently posted a comparison between Wisconsin with Minnesota, using only documented figures and rankings. A couple Iowa friends suggested both Minnesota and Wisconsin would pale in comparison to the Hawkeye State. So I checked. Below are the results.

TAXES. For 2017, an average family with a median annual income of $54,286 would pay $7,384 in state and local taxes in Wisconsin, $6,968 in Iowa,and $6,291 in Minnesota. Source:

PROPERTY TAXES. Minnesota residents pay $2,110 in property taxes on a $180,000 home. Iowa residents pay $2,649 on the same-priced home. Wisconsin residents still take the prize for the highest property taxes; they pay $3,499 on the same $180,000 home. The average household in Dakota County pays $1414 less in property taxes than a family in Wisconsin, $564 less than a family in Iowa, and $461 less in property taxes than the Twin Cities metro average. Source:

WAGES. A worker in Iowa earns an average annual wage of $43,540, while a Wisconsin worker earns an average annual wage of $45,240, and a worker in Minnesota earns an average wage of $51,320. Dakota County residents earn an average annual wage of $51,532. Source:

JOB GROWTH. Wisconsin businesses added 28,900 jobs in 2016, more than four times the 6,700 jobs added in Iowa, but 42% behind the private-sector job growth in Minnesota, where businesses adding 41,200 jobs in 2016. Source: 

BEST STATE FOR BUSINESS. Minnesota ranks as the 4th best state for business, with Iowa coming in 9th. Wisconsin ranks 23rd. Source:

FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES. Minnesota is home to 17 Fortune 500 companies. Wisconsin has 10. Iowa has three. Minnesota is also home to the world's largest privately-owned company: Cargill. Dakota County serves as headquarters for one Fortune 500 company - CHS in Inver Grove Heights - which is #84 on the list with $34.6 billion in annual revenues. Source:

STATE BUDGET. Wisconsin's state government has a $1.7 billion budget deficit. Iowa state government has a $131 million deficit. Minnesota's state government has a $1.65 billion surplus.

DEBT. The State of Minnesota's debt equals $2,982 per resident, while the State of Wisconsin's debt equals $3,933 per resident. The State of Iowa’s debt is $2,082 per resident. Source: Dakota County has zero debt, which is unusual in Minnesota and across the country.

BEER CONSUMPTION. Wisconsinites annually consume 38.2 gallons of beer per person, placing them at #6 in the nation. Iowans consume 34.4 gallons of beer per person, raking #16 nationally, and Minnesotans bring up the rear, at 31.3 gallons of beer per person, which ties us for #25. Source:

GAS TAX. The gas tax is 15% higher in Wisconsin than in Minnesota. At 32.9 cents per gallon, Wisconsin has the 12th highest gas tax in the nation. Minnesota’s gas tax is 28.6 cents per gallon, ranking #25 in the country. Iowa is in between at 32.0 cents per gallon, ranking 14th highest in the country. 

MURDERS. There were 165 murders in Wisconsin in 2016. Minnesota had 88 and Iowa had 60. Source:

FARM PRODUCTION. With $20.2 billion in farm production, Minnesota ranks #5 nationally. Wisconsin farmers come in at #9, with $12.5 billion in production. Iowa leads the way, with $32.1 billion in production, which is second only to California. Dakota County farmers held their own among Minnesota's yield-leading counties in bushels per acre of oats, corn and soybeans.Sources: ID=49642 and

SOCIAL SECURITY. Wisconsin and Iowa do not tax Social Security income. Minnesota is one of 13 states that still does. The legislature is currently considering a proposal to reduce or eliminate this.

QUALITY OF LIFE. Wisconsin ranks 15th. Iowa is 9th. Minnesota is 2nd. Minnesota was narrowly edged out by Hawaii for the top spot. Source:

CHEESE. Wisconsin farmers make 2.8 million pounds of cheese annually, earning them the #1 ranking in the nation, while Minnesota ranks #6 and Iowa is 9th. Wisconsin was second only to California in milk production, with Minnesota ranking #9 and Iowa well back. Notably, MN Milk recently named the Otte Family of Dakota County its Milk Producer of the Year. Sources: and

AARON RODGERS. The Packers have one. The Vikings don't. And Iowa has a guy named Eric Mueller who looks like Aaron Rodgers.

LIFE EXPECTANCY. Hawaiians rank #1 with an average life expectancy of 81.3 years, with Minnesotans coming in second at 81.1 years, Wisconsinites 11th at an even 80.0 years, and Iowans 16th at 79.7 years. In Dakota County, life expectancy is 83.6 years. Sources: and

EDUCATION. Wisconsin ranks #11; Iowans are #17; and Minnesota is #2. In states where at least half of all students take the ACT, Minnesota ranks #1. In Dakota County, seven high schools were named to Minnesota's 50 Best High Schools list: Rosemount, Eagan, Simley, South St. Paul, Sibley, Eastview and Apple Valley. Sources: and

With lots of family and friends in both Wisconsin and Iowa, I wish our neighbors to the east and south nothing but the best. Except when their teams play ours.

It's not that Dayton's a charismatic governor...far from it. He's a total nerd, a lousy speaker, and kinda frail....but he knows how to run the state in spite of some of the asshole politics that go on in the legislature. If you want to see a state that works, look at us. Not saying it's all perfect because it's not. The IR is always trying to short change the Minnesota National Guard. Dayton did not take kindly to that. His response was lovely:
It’s ridiculous and wrong that, despite a healthy state budget surplus, Republican legislators want to cut funds for services to our veterans and for the Minnesota National Guard.                    
                                          Governor Mark Dayton, April 21, 2017      
When our elected representatives put the good and welfare of this nation's citizenry first, last, and in the middle, we can begin to live up to our own expectations. But throwing the working poor under the bus is not a way to start. Cutting arts out of the budget is not the way to start. Slashing funding for medical research is not the way to start. Claiming the climate change is pseudoscience is not a way to start. Telling coal miners you are bringing their job back is not a way to start. 

So if you think doing the ostrich thing instead of paying attention to what's happening in Washington, in France, in North Korea, in Syria, or Afghanistan, or the UK, or Somalia is okay because you're are not impacted directly by the multitude of issues facing those people.....guess again. Not paying attention is like crossing the street. You can get run over.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week:
If you missed INDEPENDENT LENS: THE LAST LAUGH tonight, watch it. 

1 comment:

  1. Where do the 3 states rank for temperatures in January???