Terry McCall, a friend with whom I would almost always agree, wrote an eloquent commentary that appears in the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Terry sits on the board of the Republican Liberty Caucus with me and is the chairman of Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District Republicans. You may click here to view in the newspaperor scroll down here.
Don’t be intimidated, stick to principles
I am one of those people who try to live my personal life by a set of principles — principles that infuse my political beliefs. That also makes me one of those people Gov. Dayton and other members of the DFL have been disparaging of late.
I’m a big boy; I understand the realities of political spin.
But I also know when somebody, in this case the governor, goes beyond spin and tries to shut down debate through intimidation rather than making an economic case for his budget proposal. I will not be intimidated.
While Dayton pushes his tax the rich proposals with talk of “equity” and “fairness,” he has yet to make an economic case that taxing the rich will lead to economic growth and prosperity. He hasn’t told us how expanding the scope of government will reduce the already high tax burden on middle-income earners. He hasn’t shown how more state revenue will improve dysfunctional state programs that fail to benefit the people the governor
claims he wants to help.
Larger government is not the solution.
Fortunately, Republicans know more about actually helping people than Democrats know about economics.
I was on the ground a few days after Katrina, on my own dime, feeding people along with other Christians who just showed up. We coordinated teams of skilled people over the next year to rebuild homes in Louisiana and Mississippi at no charge, without government support. It was an issue of principle.
While the governor and the DFL obsessed about how many feathers they could pluck from the golden goose of private sector productivity before people squawked, Republicans went about drawing up reforms, specifically to the largest budget items education and health care — reforms that offer low-income families options to participate in the market economy and live better at less cost to the state than the governor’s high-tax budget.
This too is an issue of principle; freedom over entitlement.
Republicans asked for and waited for Dayton’s input on those reforms, but he chose to sit out negotiations and work on his veto letters. On policy specifics, Republicans sought to work with Democrats; it is on the principles of free-market economics and individual liberty that Republicans refuse to compromise.
Republicans did compromise from a $31 billion budget to a $34 billion budget based on increased revenue projections, and I generally support the balanced budget proposal the Legislature submitted to the governor.
Government spending actually increases over 15 percent in the Republican plan. Did your family’s spending increase 15 percent?
I didn’t take it personally when Dayton called the Republican budget “barbaric” and “harsh.” His rhetoric was uncalled for, but cheap politics is what it is.
But when the governor got personal and called people like me “extremist” and stated we “cared even less” about government because we take our principles seriously, I was miffed; and when DFL Minority Leader Sen. Tom Bakk compared people of principle to “a cult” (and he implied that religion is cult-like) and urged that Republicans representing me “put aside their principles and compromise,” I got angry.
What kind of message is this to send to Minnesotans. Principles are fine, but if you take them seriously, you’re “extreme” and if you try to live by principles you’re part of a cult. Same for religion - it’s OK to believe, just don’t believe too much. As a practicing Roman Catholic, I am not an “extremist.”
The state budget is not just about balancing spending and revenue. The state budget is about defining the proper role of government.
In a republican form of government, that means keeping the scope of government within our constitutional framework - not strictly for ideological reasons, but because history has proven that when we live free, we live better. Compromising our liberty for the false security of the nanny state is not in the best interests of Minnesota.
I urge Republicans to stand firm, stand on principle, and refuse to compromise away more of our economic and personal freedom. If that is extremism, then let’s embrace it.
Terry McCall owns a small business in Burnsville. Retired from 3M Healthcare after 30 years, he is chairman of the Minnesota 2nd Congressional District Republican Party and the deputy chair of the Minnesota Republican Liberty Caucus. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.