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Employment data upends liberal narrative on the border battle between Minnesota and Wisconsin

People love comparing the economic performance of Scott Walker’s Wisconsin to Mark Dayton’s Minnesota.  Both governors were elected in 2010 and took their states in dramatically different policy directions.  Walker lowered taxes, ended collective bargaining for public employees, and eventually made Wisconsin a right-to-work state.  Dayton raised taxes on the rich, raised the minimum wage, and worked to expand public unions.  Most of these policies were implemented between 2013 and 2015. Public policy changes take a long time to begin showing economic impact, but that didn’t stop University of Minnesota professor Larry Jacobs from opining on this border battle in a...

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Pro-Mining Unions and Businesses Rip Forest Service “Charade”

Northern Minnesotans came out swinging this week in the Star Tribune, ripping the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management on mining. The tough talk came via a full-page ad announcing a boycott by a coalition of 17 union, civic and business groups of the federal agencies' public hearing in the Twin Cities on Tuesday. We’re fed up with jumping through federal hoops, burning gas, vacation days and family time to sit through your endless, taxpayer-funded meetings. It’s death by a thousand cuts. Anger and frustration over a last-minute Obama administration regulation banning mineral exploration in the national forest and reevaluating the...

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Kathy Kersten’s Better Bloggerville Welcome

Whenever I have an op-ed published in the Star Tribune I debate with myself whether I should read comments about the piece on the Strib’s blog afterwards.  Despite knowing, without a sliver of doubt, that some number of readers will suggest I’m a rotten human being in the employ of immorally rich capitalists and nasty plutocrats, I’m invariably curious enough to take a look, where the pattern routinely goes something like this: Blogger No. 1: “Pearlstein’s article is a piece of trash.” Blogger No. 2: “No, it’s not.  If there’s any trash around here, it’s all your dumb liberal ideas.” After which I’m...

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Postsecondary education for non-dummies

This appeared as the Star Tribune's Sunday cover editorial on July 16, 2017.  [Star Tribune photo by Anthony Souffle.] In this era of high technology manufacturing, four years and a bachelor's degree is hardly the only smart path to take. Only 22 percent of jobs in our state require a bachelor's or above. High school graduation should be a time of optimism about the future and congratulations all around. But I heard recently about a mother who was in mourning at her son’s graduation, struggling to restrain tears. She had implored him to enroll in a four-year college, but he had chosen a...

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