#393 – Dick Bernard: Day Three of the Shutdown. The Republicans take the state of Minnesota out on strike.

We’re in day three on the picket lines; most of us just don’t realize it. (Previous posts at June 30 and July 2, 2011. Recent related posts here and here.)
The “just say ‘no’ ” bunch leading the Republican party may come to learn a lesson that they’ve probably not had to encounter before.
When midnight passed and July 1, 2011, began, a shift occurred and the Republicans are no longer in control of anything. And I personally hope that Governor Dayton gets the support from people like me to truly negotiate, yes, but hang tough for the principles he articulated on our behalf.

I don’t have a fact file on the issues, though I follow political developments more carefully than most. Essentially, I think the Minnesota shut-down boils down to this (United States take note): since he began his campaign for Governor, Mark Dayton, ironically from the wealthy class, has said that the wealthy can afford to, and must, pay more#, to help get us out of the hole religiously dug by veto after veto in the Pawlenty years, as well as by pledges to say “no” to taxes to fund the services the less wealthy need and/or large blocs of Minnesota citizens, including the wealthy, have come to expect as a service of their ‘government’#.
The wealthy, on the other hand, while small in numbers have become an immensely powerful – and protected – special interest. Already awash in money, they apparently need more. At the end of the pre-shut down bargaining Gov. Dayton apparently was willing to make his proposal apply to only 7,000 (of over 5,000,000) of Minnesota’s wealthiest citizens – the true millionaires.
Succinctly, the Grover Norquist playbook has worked in Minnesota – for now.
What’s ahead?
Each of us have our own experiences – our own ‘expertise’ – and this is one of those times when I can share something from my own bank of ‘life’ experience.

More by circumstance than design I spent the vast majority of my professional career representing employees in collective bargaining which culminated in the right to strike. I wasn’t a ‘rock star’ in the trade (frankly, I don’t know any, on either side of the bargaining table), but I was a journeyman, with a big variety of experiences up to and including strikes.
There is a danger in making generalizations, but an observation I have always made is this: up until the moment the strike began, the employees had the leverage of the threat of the strike.

As the strike began, the dynamic shifted. Once out the door and on the street, the problem now became – for both sides – to figure out a way to get the employees back in to work.
Invariably, in the first few days, there was lots of rhetoric, and on the picket lines lots of esprit d’corps – “there, we’ve showed ’em”. But before too long reality settled in: we’ve got a problem here. The ranks on both sides knew they had a big problem on their hands: “what do we do now?”.
Ultimately, every dispute settled. Rarely was the face of the losing side rubbed in its defeat. After all, the parties needed to work together. Sometimes relationships bounced back quickly; in others, bitterness lasted for years.
Now we have an entire state on strike – a strike called, ironically, by the same party that abhors unions and employee right to strike.
At 12:01 a.m. on July 1, 2011, the Republicans are, ironically, “labor” in this shutdown scenario. Actually, this began the moment they adjourned back in May. Now, they cannot force anything.
Governor Dayton is speaking for the people of Minnesota when he says the rich have an obligation to do more, and a policy of ‘slash and burn’ of government is not in the peoples best interests.
I applaud him for his stand.
He deserves support.
And I hope that both a reasonable settlement, and a chastened Republican party, will help lead us back from the precipice that is called “winners” and “losers”.
Unfortunately, at this moment, I’m not very confident. We aren’t hurting, yet.
Day Four (July 4th) at this space: A liberal views the problem.
# – There never was a plan to ‘soak the rich’. One of the last items I saw yesterday was this schematic of Gov. Dayton’s vs the Republican legislatures stand on the issue. There was no intention to make the wealthy folks paupers in rags on the street. Source: Heather Mertens, Executive Director Protect Minnesota
Read about the impact of the different budget versions:
Legislature’s proposed income and property tax increases for:
A single parent making $27,000: $677 per year
Couple making $50,000: $887 per year
Couple making $335,000: $716 per year
Couple making $500,000: $716 per year
Governor’s proposed income and property tax increases for:
A single parent making $27,000: $0 per year
Couple making $50,000: $0 per year
Couple making $335,000: $775 per year ($2 per day)
Couple making $500,000: $5,270 per year ($14 per day)
(Source: MN State Rep. Rena Moran’s office, based on Dept. of Revenue Projections)

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