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The Truth Exactly Backward

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 Issue of Thinking Minnesota, now the second largest magazine in Minnesota. To receive a free trial issue send your name and address to info@americanexperiment.org. In August, The New York Times launched the “1619 Project” with great fanfare. The self-proclaimed goal of the project—a series of more than 30 essays and artistic productions— is to “reframe” history, convincing Americans that our nation’s “true founding” occurred not in 1776, but 400 years ago, in 1619, when 20 or so slaves came ashore in the Jamestown colony. The Times maintains that America’s “founding ideals were false when they were written” and...

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The Tragedy of Hubert Humphrey

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 Issue of Thinking Minnesota, now the second largest magazine in Minnesota. To receive a free trial issue send your name and address to info@americanexperiment.org. Hubert Humphrey was no conservative. His biographer, Carl Solberg, wrote that Humphrey learned two lessons growing up in Huron, South Dakota in the 1920s and 1930s that remained with him for the rest of his life: “The first was that individuals, far from being masters of their own fate, could become powerless victims of catastrophes—droughts, dust storms, bankruptcy, foreclosures. The second was that government could help people—specifically the Humphrey family in their drugstore, through federal farm relief and...

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Embattled Inspector General Gets Another $132,000 State Job at DHS

For months Minnesotans have been waiting to find out what's wrong at the anti-fraud unit at the Department of Human Services. The agency's former inspector general Carolyn Ham was put on paid leave after the release of a legislative auditor's report finding rampant fraud in the state's child-care assistance program and disarray among DHS investigators in charge of uncovering it.  Coverage in the Star Tribune and other media at the time led to high expectations of the critical importance of the internal investigation. The Office of the Legislative Auditor said it couldn't specify the amount of fraud in the Child Care...

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Rochester City Councilors Vote to Double Salaries for Themselves and Mayor

When's the last time you or anyone you know received double the pay out of the blue, for doing the same work? That's what I thought. But that's how much of a raise the Rochester City Council recently voted to award themselves and Mayor Kim Norton. The maneuver means Mayor Norton will see her salary increase 109 percent from $37,657 to $78,840 essentially overnight starting in January. Six city council members will pocket a pay hike of 142 percent from $21,712 to $52,560. Christmas also came early for Rochester City Council president Randy Staver, whose annual compensation from the taxpayers also...

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Despite Record Snow Duluth Ski Hill May Close Without Taxpayer Bailout

There's plenty of snow for skiing at Spirit Mountain following the nearly two feet of white stuff that fell a week ago in Duluth. Yet despite prime conditions, the city-operated ski resort faces the possibility of shutting down before the season has hardly gotten underway without an immediate infusion of $235,000 in taxpayer cash, according to KBJR-TV. Spirit Mountain representatives said without that extra funding, they would be able to make payroll one more time, but might have to close indefinitely. During a press conference at the ski hill on Friday, Spirit Mountain's executive director Brandy Ream said the city's tourism tax...

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Rural County OKs Minneapolis Developer’s Solar Project Over Constituents’ Concerns

It's farm country in Nicollet County in southern Minnesota--solar farm country, that is, given recent actions by the county board. The county commissioners decided to move ahead with a 3,700 panel solar farm proposed by a Minneapolis green energy developer that has a deal to sell the subsidized power to Xcel Energy. RELATED: The Environmental Disaster of Solar Energy The county board unanimously backed the Twin City company's proposal despite vocal opposition from their constituents. A week earlier, the planning and zoning board also voted unanimously to recommend proceeding with the 1 Megawatt six acre solar eyesore.  Again over the residents'  objections...

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The City of Corcoran planned to use building permit fees to finance its city hall renovation

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to a local city council about the obstacles to the construction of affordable housing which state and local governments erect in terms of in terms of taxes, fees, and regulations. According to a report from the Housing Affordability Institute, some localities are using these fees, which are meant to be for services rendered, to pad their general funds. I referred to the example of the city of Corcoran, which had been reported as using building permit fees to finance a city hall renovation. This, according to one of those present, was "a lie". Well,...

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