On Wednesday, April 15, 2015 I read a commentary by Rep. Tom Anzelc of Balsam Township titled “Minnesota House Republican budget poses a threat to the Iron Range.” Source: Grand Rapids Herald Review. This threat Mr. Anzelc claims: “The Republican budget cuts $20 million of economic development funds, because the GOP believes the state has a strong economy.” Maybe the GOP, or at least some of it, realizes the government doesn’t drive growth or spur creativity, the private sector does. If the government would take their hands out of our wallets, they would restore some citizen faith that they are truly working for them. The $20 million is just one percent of the $1.9 billion surplus and shows the unwillingness of the Democrats to restrain any spending.
He then states, “While Minnesota has a $1.9 billion surplus, the House Republicans essentially stopped funding education, which will force many rural schools to make cuts.” The $1.9 billion surplus came from overtaxing residents, not from sound budget measures like increasing efficiency and cutting costs. Democrats want to keep all of it rather than return any of it. When they do, they will have increased the spending base for endless years to come – this in turn promises more taxes. The idea that you can just throw money at things to fix them has proven, in most cases, fruitless.
He continues, “With historically low interest rates and a budget surplus, there is no reason to not pass a bonding bill. There is an opportunity to create jobs and invest in the future of our state.” Again, Mr. Anzelc and fellow Democrats seek to grow government by taxing us more and more. Minnesota is the perfect microcosm of liberalism, big government, big taxes, excessive social spending, and depicting the government as the answer. With Democrats having had a monopoly of power for most of Minnesota’s existence, we’ve seen what they can do and do well – Excessively tax and regulate its businesses and taxpayers. Let individuals invest as they see fit with their money, instead of keeping the money in government coffers for its shared ideologies.
He boasts of his plan for ”sustaining and creating jobs”; “I am carrying legislation to keep Minnesota’s paper mills and taconite plants globally competitive with a bill that would establish a process for energy intensive, trade-exposed utility customers to negotiate with an energy provider for a lower rate. I estimate that energy bills account for about 25 percent of production costs at paper mills and taconite plants.” If Democrats really wanted to help them and other companies, they would cut the regulations, quit mandating utility companies to meet alternative energy goals, and quit subsidizing wasteful, excessively long-return (if any) alternative energies like wind and solar. Quit killing coal, a large and cheap source of electricity generation. Instead of benefitting only the steel industry, the savings would pass on to all of us.
Lest the Democrats get on their high horse, they dare not speak of the unions or anything that might hurt them. Free trade is one thing that increases supplies of steel, and ultimately lower prices for consumers, much to the chagrin of the domestic steel industry. While some lose money in the steel industry, consumers gain, freeing money for further discretionary spending. If you want a sustainable industry and jobs, you must be very efficient and have steady or increasing demand. Hoping to control supplies by instituting a tariff does more harm than good, and has the potential of sustaining an inefficient industry. And speaking of growing demand, who has been killing and stalling the Keystone Pipeline for several years – yep, the finger pointing Democrats. Who is backing the maximum climate change mandates for industry, costing them fortunes that are passed on to the consumer – Democrats. While they grow government regulations, they drive up the cost of doing business and make it much harder for companies to compete. At the same time, these costs are passed on to the consumer who has less and less for discretionary items, and lo and behold demand falls. Who is the pot calling the kettle black? Democrats.
Part of Rep. Anzelc’s plan is to offer a “Direct Reduced Iron Tax Incentive – Companies are interested in adding production of direct-reduced iron (DRI) pellets that can be used in electric arc furnaces. I introduced legislation that would reinstate a tax incentive for producers of direct reduced iron, which would help create and sustain jobs on the Iron Range.” If this is a viable source of profits for the steel industry, they would already be doing it, without the need for any incentive. Try removing disincentives to entrepreneurship that all businesses can benefit from.
“Requiring American Steel on Public Works Projects – Rep. Metsa is carrying legislation requiring the use of American steel on public works projects in Minnesota.” This will remove competition and the ability to purchase the lowest cost steel to do the project. Ultimately, to the detriment of taxpayers, each project will likely cost more. It is nothing more than a secret handshake between politicians and the steel industry and labor. The DFL relies heavily on union support for campaign financing and support, seemingly forgetting that they work for all of us. [Fortunately this bill was defeated by Republicans]
These are bad ideas getting too much press without facts to support them. They are nothing more than pandering votes at the cost of the state and country at large. Government is not the answer, it is the problem. It needs to stick to the role for which it was intended: infrastructure, safety, security, and representing all citizens. The items Rep.Tom Anzelc and other Democrats are proposing hurt, rather than help, the steel industry and the state as a whole.
Marvin Pirila, Studied Finance and Economics at the University of Minnesota, Duluth
“Truth must rise and rise soon for the sake of prosperity”