Anyone But Tom Emmer

Ever watch those Hoarders shows on TV? You know, the ones where people have households full of stuff and just can’t seem to stop buying stuff that they don’t need. I think we can all agree that those types of hoarders have serious problems. Why else would someone continue to hoard things that they don’t need when they could be doing something more productive with their money?

As I’ve thought about Tom Emmer’s gubernatorial campaign messaging, I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s built a platform around appealing to a different type of hoarders. He’s targeting the idle rich. They’re hoarders who are sitting on large amounts of money that, like the hoarders on the TV show Hoarders, are accumulating something to the point of being destructive. They’ve reached a point where they’re leaching off all of us.

If you’re currently supporting Tom Emmer and don’t think you fall into that group, read on. You may not realize that you’re a pawn in a game of absurd wealth aggregation.

Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I’m pretty sure that Minnesota (and the entire country) is strongest when we’re kicking butt building things that other people want to buy.

For example, if you flew to Japan or Germany tomorrow would you see many Chevrolet or Ford cars on the road? You’d see a few, but proportionately you’d see more Toyotas, Hondas, Audis, of BMWs. Why? Because we’re not making an exportable product that competes with what Japanese and German car companies are productng these days (personally, I think Korea is pretty solid these days too).

Did Germany or Japan kick our ass by producing a lower priced product through tax advantages? No. In fact, their cars tend to cost more than comparable American cars of similar styles. Do they provide their workers with health insurance? Yes. We’re not losing in a race to the bottom labor-wise, as Tom Emmer seems to believe. Instead, we’re losing because Germany and Japan have created products people are willing to pay for, even after the cost after shipping from high cost countries to us, across an ocean. While Tom Emmer seems to think that we’re in a race to the bottom labor-wise, the market has proven that quality is really what people are looking for. Value wins.

I’m getting sick of Tom Emmer’s defeatist, race to the bottom attitude.

Think Bigger or Lose

We need to raise our game to a new level internationally, whether we like it or not. We live in a fairly capitalist international society where the most productive states and countries are going to win. It’s really that simple. The states and countries that are succeeding are those that have figured out how to invent and build things that others want. This is much bigger than the battle over minimum wages with South Dakota that Tom Emmer thinks we’re fighting over. Our neighboring states are the least of our problems, and Tom Emmer should understand that.

Minnesota is screwed if Tom Emmer lets our wealthiest residents society sit on their hands and underachieve rather than help Minnesota compete internationally.

Create systems that reward people for working hard.

Tom Emmer seems to think that the way to reward people for working hard is to create systems where the hard working pay little to no taxes. Personally, I think that’s a bunch of BS, and I think Tom Emmer would agree with that if he was in a position where he could be off the record and honest. The guy is too dependent on the Chamber of Commerce for donations to have a rational thought these days.

Truly hard working people have hard work in their blood. Creating systems where hard working people are rewarded for working less is the last thing we want to do. Instead, we should create systems where hard working people who generate a lot of income are tax fairly on the income they create.

Productive members of society don’t care about income taxes because they’re more interested in creating value for society than keeping score through wealth. They’ll still get wealthy, but they’ll be able to toss off value to those less fortunate than themselves along the way.

The Working Rich

Here’s a confession: I’m part of the working rich. What’s that? People in Minnesota’s top tax bracket who don’t get their panties in a bunch about taxes because we’re too busy being productive members of society. We see the good that taxes do to bring clean water to our homes (and to our trails through drinking fountains around Minneapolis). We see the benefits our taxes provide to people between jobs, to build the roads we drive on, and to provide health care to people who can’t afford insurance.

We don’t see taxes as a burden. To us, they’re a challenge where everyone benefits from our success. The idea of slowing down or giving up on building things of value due to minor tax burdens seems absurd. We can’t understand why Tom Emmer’s supporters are whiners about taxes. Instead, we keep finding more productive things we can do (that people are willing to pay for) rather than crying about taxes like Tom Emmer’s constituents do.

If you really want to take pride in something, take pride in your work rather than pride in your wealth.

If you think I’m kidding, look to Bill Gates or Warren Buffet for examples of people who take pride in their work rather than pride in their wealth. Do you really want to be judged by what you’ve accumulated, or by what you’ve done?

Hoarders Hurt Minnesota

Tom Emmer seems to be most interested in supporting Minnesota’s financial hoarders over productive members of our state. Tom Emmer’s campaign seems to be focused on helping the already rich extend their wealth through corporate tax cuts and other tax cuts for high income brackets rather than helping people in need reach levels of self-support. After following Emmer’s campaign for months, I can’t figure out why anyone would support a candidate who’s interested in making it easy for Minnesota’s idle rich to do nothing when they should be productive members of Minnesota’s economy. Seriously, we are hurting ourselves if we create a tax model where highly educated people can profit from not working.

Do you want to live in a state where smart and potentially productive people born into money sit on their asses? That’s what Tom Emmer’s tax policy supports.

Tom Emmer is promising Minnesota a government that would allow many of Minnesota’s most competent citizens (people who are well educated and already wealthy) to avoid working. Reducing taxes on the wealthy is not a motivator for financially gifted Minnesotans to use their God given skills. Together, we need to pay for our roads, schools, or health care of those who really need it most and can’t afford it. Minnesota’s wealthiest, including me, can help Minnesota be better, while still being among Minnesota’s wealthiest. That’s how wealthy we are.

Most Minnesotans realize that Tom Emmer’s vision for what Minnesota needs are way out of line with what Minnesotans like about Minnesota (highly educated kids, highly rated state, healthy, long life span residents). We like living in a state with quality education, health care, clear water, and clean air. If we wanted to be more like South Dakota or Alabama we could move there tomorrow.

If I haven’t been clear enough already, my message is this: Do not vote for Tom Emmer.

7 thoughts on “Anyone But Tom Emmer”

  1. It has been a greatly accepted theory by conservatives that the rich should not be taxed because their excess personal incomes fuel job creation for the middle class to survive. Thus the Republicans have championed the notion of lower tax rates for “Small Business” (and who isn’t a small business).

    First, the basis for personal income taxes on small business do not include reinvestment in the business such as payroll. Personal Income Taxes are only accrued for the portion of “profits” that the owner puts in his pocket at the end of the year. So while this theory may sound good it isn’t valid.

    Second, if the amount of cash flow reinvestment back into the economy were the basis for monetary distribution; then the US government should double investments in entitlement programs because these people always spend every dime given to them and never hoard away savings. The perfect consumers.

  2. I would go one step farther and say – Don’t vote for Tom Horner either. We ended up with Pawlenty twice and he never got a majority of the vote – both times a third party candidate took enough votes to ensure a Pawlenty victory. While it might feel inspirational to “vote your conscience,” a vote for Tom Horner will not put Tom Horner in office. What it will do is make it more likely that Tom Emmer will be governor.

    Now, if and when Minnesota adopts ranked choice voting at the State level, we won’t have this dillema.
    In the meantime, remember the practical consequences of your vote and act accordingly.

  3. @Joel: Bravo for noting the distinction “Personal Income Taxes are only accrued for the portion of ‘profits’ that the owner puts in his pocket at the end of the year.”

    That’s so true. Lowering personal income taxes has nothing at all to do with job growth or capitalizing an incorporated business. When a business owners wants to add to their company payroll they do not reach into their own pocket to do it; they use company capital to expand their payroll. So, really, to make Emmer’s argument true, a business owner would need to lower their own gross salary — not lower the income tax on their salary — if company funds are too tight to expand the payroll, right?

  4. Exactly. It’s a scare tactic that creates the illusion that the Fat Cat’s who are earmarked for future personal income tax increases (that would put them on parity with most of the American public) are just looking out for the little guy.

    Lets take it one step further –

    Why do we have corporate income tax anyhow? Sure taxation is more about setting public policies than creating revenue, but that’s why we set up trade laws and create regulatory agencies. What messages are we sending with our current tax policies?

    Wouldn’t it be a much better idea to have American companies putting capital into the economy? Instead of companies paying several corporate officers superstar salaries far beyond their needs, why not create incentives for companies to use profits to expand and strengthen the company workforce or reinvest in capital equipment?

    By eliminating corporate income tax and instituting a steep progressive personal tax, the incentives to reinvest in our people and our economy rather than pay corporate officers 200-300% more than the average employee would be eliminated.

    Would this create a brain drain on the American Economy? Doubtful. We have plenty of smart yet unrecognized people to draw from. If an individual is capable of going to another country to earn an exorbitant salary yet be able to compete against better capitalized US businesses with this system; I would be amazed.

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