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.