I wish there was good news to report. We are now in our fifth week of the 2012 legislative session and not much is getting done. As I have said time and time again, our entire focus for this legislative session needs to be on jobs and a bonding bill.
I am extremely disappointed that not a single bill to create one job has been heard on the House Floor. I along with many of my colleagues have authored jobs legislation that should pass overwhelmingly (in a strong-bipartisan manner) if the Republican leadership would just put aside their petty politics and allow the issues that both Democrats and Republicans agree on to move forward. Jobs proposals like Bridges to Work or offering a $3,000 tax credit to any business that hires a veteran, recent college graduate, or person who has been long-term unemployed should be passed immediately. We agree on many things. Let’s make it happen!
The job of the legislative leadership is to both lead and govern not just for one particular party or set of special interests but for the benefit of all Minnesotans. Unfortunately, the current legislative leadership in both the House and Senate is made up of Republican Tea Party extremists who want to see nothing get done. And here’s why. When their political philosophy says that government is bad and public services are intrusions into people’s lives, they have an incentive to keep government from succeeding. This is exactly what is happening.
Ronald Reagan once said, “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem,” and I know full well that government cannot and should not be a solution to every problem. But this statement, taken to the extreme, implies government cannot do anything. What does that mean? No roads, no bridges, no public education, no Social Security, no Medicare, no colleges or universities, no protecting our air and water, no law enforcement, no assistance for those less fortunate, no government or public service anything.
Government is not some amorphous evil entity. The government is us and we are the government. Public services are all of us coming together as a society to combine our resources to accomplish collectively what cannot be done individually.
My hope is that the Republicans will put aside some of their blind adherence to the philosophy that “all government is bad” and start governing responsibly. Heck, they’re serving in the government; if they don’t think government can solve any problems, then move aside and let somebody else lead.
Let’s focus our work on the common goals of improving our economy and putting Minnesotans back to work.