New Poll by Humphrey Inst. Shows Guv Race Hatch 44, Pawlenty 42 Hutchinson, 9

September 20th, 2006 – 10:00 PM by Eric Black

The Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the U of M’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs (whew, that’s a mouthful) has conducted a poll of the races forMinnesota governor and senator.

Senate race tomorrow night. Guv race numbers just released and they show:

Democrat Mike Hatch, 44 percent
Republican Tim Pawlenty, 42 percent
Independence-ite Peter Hutchinson, 9 percent.

The survey was based on interviews with 1,023 Minnesota voters, Sept. 13-18. Big sample, five days of interviews. All signs of serious poll.

Larry Jacobs, director of the center and Minnesota’s gift to political science, has scrutinized the results. Here’s the full writeup of Jacobs’ analysis. The short version is that Pawlenty has a high approval rating (56%) and a plurality (48%) think the state is headed in the right direction. Furthermore, Pres. Bush’s low approval rating (38%) doesn’t seem to be much of a drag on Pawlenty. So it’s counterintuitive that Pawlenty isn’t ahead, Jacobs says.

His best clue to explain these results are:

Education and health care lead the list of “biggest problems facing the state” in the poll, and Hatch clobbers Pawlenty on the “”which candidate do you think will do a better on handling the issue” on both health care and education.

73 Responses to "New Poll by Humphrey Inst. Shows Guv Race Hatch 44, Pawlenty 42 Hutchinson, 9"

Michael Blaine says:

September 20th, 2006 at 10:26 pm

Republicans promote torture as official US policy. What can be expected of people who revel in an abomination?!!

Tom A. says:

September 20th, 2006 at 10:44 pm

With the “mouthful” center at the “U” being just one small piece of the university, I can see why they’ve had to keep raising tuition…

Willie says:

September 20th, 2006 at 10:47 pm

Eric – What’s with the ‘no comment’ on the firing of Amy Klobuchar’s communications person? You run with the governors poll but nothing about the biggest news story of the evening. I’m ashamed.

Phoenix Woman says:

September 20th, 2006 at 10:57 pm

Willie, here’s the story:

The “secret ad” wasn’t a secret — it was posted online for anyone to see.

Get a load of this, from Noah’s post at Blanked Out (emphases mine):

Several days ago, after Mark Kennedy’s campaign launched the first negative campaign ad against Amy Klobuchar, I decided to research Kennedy’s media consultant, Scott Howell. This research led me to the website of Scott Howell’s consulting company. Several of Scott Howell’s previous political ads for his clients were no longer on this website, nor were they on the websites of his clients.

While searching for political ads, I clicked on a link titled ‘netview,’ which then brought me to another webpage. No other information was requested. I therefore typed in the name ‘Allen.’ Nothing more, nothing less. This redirected me to a webpage containing three pieces of information. Kennedy for Senate, a date, and a hyperlink. Upon clicking the hyperlink, I was directed to the aforementioned political advertisement. At no point in this process did I circumvent or misrepresent myself. The website containing this ad can be accessed by anyone online. It is possible to directly go to this website. It is in no way secured.

My God — Scott Howell puts out “secret” ads on its website like that!?

What the hell was Scott Howell doing posting a “secret” ad where anyone could have seen it? Did the Kennedy team stiff them on their ad bill, or what?

Phoenix Woman says:

September 20th, 2006 at 11:05 pm

Back to being on-topic:

So, if the Minnesota Poll was a pro-Democrat poll that was oversampled for Democrats as certain Republicans here claim, and gave a 42-42 tie for Pawlenty and Hatch == then does that say about the Humphrey Institute poll that puts Hatch up by 2? Does it mean that Che Guevara’s ghost designed the poll? Or does it mean that Republicans have to stop fishing for excuses as to why they’re not doing so well in the polls lately?

Aaron says:

September 20th, 2006 at 11:39 pm

Well, of course Phoenix Woman, they are going to say that it is just one of those liberal universities conducting the poll! I can’t believe Willie came on here claiming bias for not posting about the Klobuchar firing. It was posted on the strib politics page, which most people use to get to the big question. What a desperate attempt at diversion.

rb says:

September 20th, 2006 at 11:42 pm

if health care was such a big subject for the candidates, why did both Hatch and Pawlenty back out of a debates scheduled in front of a group of health care providers this week? Makes me think that they are all pretty arrogant.

Ed says:

September 21st, 2006 at 12:25 am

Hutchinson’s major themes appear to be fiscal responsibility and accountability, just like the governor. So it looks like Hutchinson is biting into Pawlenty’s base more than Hatch’s.

The tiny portion of undecided voters seems a little strange. Factoring in the norml 2 percent Green Party diehards, there’s only 3 percent left.

Win or lose, the Indepedence Party will decide the race.

Chip says:

September 21st, 2006 at 6:01 am

Eric, thanks for this — the most intriguing poll of the season thus far, not for the results as much as the analysis.

A month ago when the poll came out showing most Minnesotans were happy with the direction the state was going, I thought it was over for Hatch.

I’m voting Hatch, but I find Pawlenty a hard guy to not personally like (maybe that will change if and when the campaign gets more negative). I felt all the candidates last time were B-stringers (sorry if any of you are reading this) and I think Hatch has been a great attorney general.

This analysis, if true, would mean the voters are a lot for nuanced than they are ever given credit for.

Pawlenty won more respect from me when he made the “weenie” comment about conservative candidates backing away from Bush. I hope he continues to take the high road and that Hatch will, too. The “attack” ads in this race have at least been the old-fashioned: “he wants to raise taxes, no he does” variety.

It probably doesn’t hurt Hatch that he’s viewed as cheap (okay, maybe frugal would be more kind) and a pretty conservative guy — in some ways more than the Governor, in other ways less).

Intriguing. Will be interesting to see if there is the same kind of analysis of the Senate race and why voters are overwhelmingly for Klobuchar (if this poll bears that out).

As for the Klobuchar flap of last evening, I think she comes out looking better than ever. Classy way to handle a touchy situation — a law enforcement approach. I think it will be hard for the Kennedy campaign to get any leverage out of it, especially since it was the incompetence of his agency and Klobuchar dumped an employee with bad judgement rather than sweeping it under the rug.

Phoenix Woman says:

September 21st, 2006 at 8:05 am

Hutchinson’s major themes appear to be fiscal responsibility and accountability, just like the governor. So it looks like Hutchinson is biting into Pawlenty’s base more than Hatch’s.

Exactly, especially since Tim “They’re not taxes, they’re fees!” Pawlenty is not all that believable on the subjects of fiscal responsibility and accountability.

Gordon says:

September 21st, 2006 at 8:06 am

The good news is that Hutchinson is polling at 9 percent, which is an upward movement. He has the momentum while the other two have stalled. And remember, Ventura was at 10 percent at this stage of the campaign. As the voters get more serious about looking at the candidates, and see that Pawlenty and Hatch offer little in terms of real answers, they will switch to Hutchinson. Just like with Ventura, there could be a surge that catches on like wildfire. Let’s hope so!

mds says:

September 21st, 2006 at 8:30 am

In re. Gordon, I will say that right now, Hutchinson will be the only non-DFL’er I will be voting for. We’ll see what the next few weeks bring.

Phoenix Woman says:

September 21st, 2006 at 9:01 am

By the way: Do not tick off Coleen Rowley, if you know what’s good for you. She comes out with guns a-blazin’ against the whole GOP slime apparatus.

bsimon says:

September 21st, 2006 at 9:21 am

Has Pawlenty yet polled above the mid 40s? He won with just shy of 45% last time; I wonder if that’s his upper limit, or if he can convince more voters that he’s the right man for the job.

Keith says:

September 21st, 2006 at 9:39 am

I have never personally met Pawlenty, but I have attended a few of his press conferences. He is very media savy, to the point of being downright slick. This is why he can get a 56% approval rating.

When asked, the average Minnesotian agrees with the survey question that Timmy is a nice boy.

But when asked about education and health care in MN, they don’t believe the state is living up to it’s responsibilities.

As the connection between insufficient state support for education \ health care is made to Pawlenty, his support will decrease.

As well it should. Who needs a nice guy Governor that won’t support education and health care because he thinks a slogan like “no new taxes” is a strategy for his own political goals?

Dave1028 says:

September 21st, 2006 at 9:41 am

I am very interested in Hutchinson. I voted for Pawlenty 4 years ago and I dont believe he has delivered. My property taxes are up 100%, state funding for education is down relative to inflation, and fees are through the roof. Now he also wants to cap property taxes which are the resul;t of his actions, further burdening local government. PLus, I have not seen as much progress on transportation funding as I would have liked; which is basically why I voted for him, and I believe he acts as a divisive force to the House and Senate as opposed to a achieving compromnise like Arne did.

Hatch just doesn’t come off as strong to me. He doesn’t fight back, he’s not aggressive. All mistakes that democrats have been making for the last 8 years against the aggressive tactics of the far-right. PLus, his whole idea of gaining revenue from collecting back taxes is insane. Sure there is probably some money there, but just because it’s owed doesn’t mean it’s collectible. It sounds like a one-liner to me.

Hutchinson is looking better and better all the time.

Ed E says:

September 21st, 2006 at 9:54 am

Thanks PheonixWoman. I really enjoyed that letter from Rowley. I’m impressed that a democrat finally found the guts to make a strong stand!!! I’ve been waiting for that for a long time. They are all so afraid of the Republican stronghold that they won’t stand up strongly for what’s right. Maybe Rowley has an example to follow.

bsimon says:

September 21st, 2006 at 10:07 am

Dave1028- You’re spot on with the analysis of collecting back taxes. If it were as simple as just calling these folks and asking pretty-please, they money would’ve already been collected.

Does anyone think Pawlenty can do better than 45% on election day?

Lake D says:

September 21st, 2006 at 10:26 am

1. Do we need to have the public paying Larry Jacobs’s salary to tell us exactly what a commercial poll told us two days ago? I checked–Jacobs has raised virtually no money in grants and contributions to his polling operation and depends on direct university funding. Why is this being tolerated?
2. Jacobs’d analysis is silly and tied too closely to traditional polling. Health care and education have been big issues for years. Nothing new there. But Bush and Iraq are getting Democrats out to vote in larger numbers this year. Marginal effects often are more interesting than main effects.

Phoenix Woman says:

September 21st, 2006 at 10:29 am

Get a load of this.

What sort of company doing confidential work for its clients expects us to believe that redirects are a substitute for passwords — or better yet, encrypted e-mails with the encrypted ads attached?

Phoenix Woman says:

September 21st, 2006 at 10:31 am

Lake D:

This poll serves as a nice corrective (the polite term for “dope slap”) to those who reflexively scream “liberal bias!!!” each time a new Minnesota Poll comes out.

Les says:

September 21st, 2006 at 12:01 pm

KSTP News finds the Hatch anti Pawalenty add misleading, and so broadcast last night.

Funny I see no mention of that on this blog.

Of course, we all know there’s no bias on this blog, dont we.

What a waste of time

Aaron says:

September 21st, 2006 at 12:04 pm

in re: Lake D

I am a political scientist from out of state. I just hope you know that Larry Jacobs, or Lawrence Jacobs, is by far one of the most respected political scientists in the country. Minnesota is pretty lucky to have him at their university.

bsimon says:

September 21st, 2006 at 12:19 pm

Hey Les, how about instead of just taking potshots, you offer a little more substance? I haven’t seen the ad, what is it saying and how is it misrepresentative?

Les says:

September 21st, 2006 at 12:37 pm

Sure bsimon.

The Add states Pawlenty rasied property taxes by 50 billion.

That, according to KSTP is patently untrue.

While taxing authorities did in fact raise property taxes during the Pawlenty administration, neither the Govenors office or state legislature did it. Local government bodies did.

It exactly the same as not mentioning the votes missed by someone were primaries, not general elections. But you’ll never see Mr Black address it in “is that a fact”.

Howard Miller says:

September 21st, 2006 at 12:56 pm

ad inaccuracies matter

but by stiffing local governments on state aid, the Pawlenty administration forced local governments to either raise property taxes (where they get their money) or cut services …. police, fire, and roads make up the bulk of local services ….. so you either layoff cops or you raise taxes to replace the money that used to be sent through the state coffers ….

…. so Pawlenty and the Republican House made it happen … and then they claim they held the budget line, not raising (state) taxes …. what misleading hypocrisy by our local leadership

John Krogstad says:

September 21st, 2006 at 1:04 pm

The choice is simple. Which one has the personal integrity, professional ethics, and character to refer my criminal complaint against Dakota County Attorney James C. Backstrom to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for investigation? The governor, above all others in the state, has primary responsibility for the integrity of the legal system of his state. No man is suppose to be above the law, most especially a corrupt county attorney.

bsimon says:

September 21st, 2006 at 1:06 pm

Les, thanks for the response. Sounds disingenuous, depending on how he said it. Saying “Pawlenty raised property taxes” would be incorrect. Saying “Pawlenty’s local government aid cuts caused local governments to raise property taxes” would be more accurate.

Meanwhile, over at MPR, they have a new poll ( on the gov’s race too. Pawlenty at 42, Hatch at 39, Hutch at 5. With those numbers, 42 is enough to stay in office. Can he hold onto 42 though?

Gordon says:

September 21st, 2006 at 1:12 pm

Technically the ad that says Pawlenty raised property taxes by 50 billion is untrue.

But what Pawlenty did was to curtail long-time existing funding sources that went to local government. One of these funding sources is known as Local Government Aid, and it has existed for years. It’s much smaller now under Pawlenty.

Pawlenty did what Pawlenty does best. He shifted the burden to someone else – in this case to local government. That meant mayors and city council members had to make a decision: raise property taxes or cut services. Most cities did a combination of both. But in a city budget there is only so much you can cut. People tend to like police and fire protection. Snow removal off the streets is a nice perk, too. And it’s even nice to have maintained parks for everyone from kids to seniors to enjoy. I know some won’t believe it, but most cities run on a pretty lean budget to provide these services.

So while Pawlenty boasts about no new state taxes, your property taxes have skyrocketed to make up for his pledge he made to secure the Republican endorsement four years ago. So that means a lot of senior citizens on fixed incomes and families on tight budgets have taken on a much greater tax burden under Pawlenty.

T Scott says:

September 21st, 2006 at 1:20 pm

Gee, there was something about your assesment of Tom Houser’s Truth Test on KSTP that made me think you might be a bit biased. You can watch it again since you seem to have forgotten what it says.

KSTP did NOT call the DFL ad (not a Hatch ad, by the way) “patently untrue” and in fact, he rated it a “B-” on his truth scale.

Houser says that blaming Pawlenty for the 1 Billion that needed to be raised by local governments to make up for the Pawlenty cuts “might be true in theory…” and he simply points out that, as a technicality, the local governments, were the ones left having to raise taxes.

For someone he is so worried about StarTribune bias and searching for the truth, why wouldn’t you be truthful when making your own arguments?

Les says:

September 21st, 2006 at 2:12 pm

Thanks guys, I rest my case.

to quote the presentation
“cant say this with complete certianty” and “partially true” are not “this is a fact”

You all are missing the entire point. you rail against the NRCC but defend the DFL’s ‘partially true” report.

For what it’s worth, you should know I have no intention of voting for Pawlenty; but I find your typical anti republican ranting offensive when you ignore the same action taken by the DFL.

If you were being unbiased, you’d of discussed both misadventures, not just one.

So dont label me biased just becasue I pointed out your lifelong bias tendencies.

Les says:

September 21st, 2006 at 2:19 pm


I dont think Pawlenty can win, He has upset to many folks, I know die hard republicans in Northern MN who’d like to fillet em for lunch. Then there is the smokers and the anti stadium types, along with those of us who have handicapped children who’ve been getting the shaft for the last few years.

I think loosing 11 percent in the primary from an unknown challenger (Sue Jeffers) says it all.

Cartwa says:

September 21st, 2006 at 2:35 pm

T-Paw cut funding for local government programs. He did it because the state was in a huge financial hole thanks to Jesse sending everyone money back. You can either raise taxes to cover the jesse screw up or cut funding. T-Paw cut the funding. He also cut the U’s money. Why is this bad? It is bad because the U, faced with a budget crunch, chose to raise tuition instead of cutting their own fat. The U is a business just like anyplace else. They could have chosen to lay off some teachers or cut their hugely top-heavy administration. Instead, seeing that the demand to attend college was still high, they chose to just stick it to the students. The ironic thing is that most of you “all-day” blog posters are these same students the U is screwing. I guess I dont get why T-Paw is the evil one. Everyone had to make cuts to fix Jesse’s screwup. Including the U. They chose not to make any cuts and instead cried about needing more money.

Cartwa says:

September 21st, 2006 at 2:40 pm


When will you ever learn. When someone criticizes T-Paw or Bush, they are stating a fact. However, when someone criticizes a DFL candidate like Amy K, they are spreading hatred or when the criticize an idiot like Ellison, they are racist. The posters on here are still children. Most of them work at Starbucks and live in Daddy’s basement.

robert says:

September 21st, 2006 at 2:41 pm

face it,,,Pawlenty got elected due to the old Republican lie,,I WONT RAISE TAXES,,and if you got half a brain cell you know that what he has done in office has raised taxes,,but republicans will still vote for a lier as long as he says or she says I WONT RAISE TAXES,,,why are republicans like this,,to me it spells GREED,,

Gordon says:

September 21st, 2006 at 2:48 pm


I can assure you I am not only opposed to the Republicans. But I directed my comments toward Pawlenty because he is the guy in power.

I think Hatch comes up way short, too. What’s one of the biggest problems we’ve had in state government lately? I’d say it’s bitter partisanship that has led to gridlock. Remember the state government shutdown that included closed wayside rests because the politicians were so entrenched in their rigid positions?

So who do the Democrat nominate? One of the most hardened and combative figures in recent Minnesota political history – Mike Hatch. Is Mike Hatch the right guy to bring some harmony and bi-partisanship to the Capitol. I’ve been wrong before, but I sure doubt it.

I truly believe the two party system is broken. And the only way to fix it is to show the Republicans and Democrats that we as voters have alternatives.

I believe Peter Hutchinson is the best choice. He is thoughtful and substantive. He is an experienced leader.

Now people say he can’t win. Well the last time I checked the election hadn’t happened yet. He could win if enough people would walk into their polling booths and make him their choice. The power belongs to the people. Use it wisely.

JHope says:

September 21st, 2006 at 4:26 pm

Cartwa is right on the mark. The problems we are facing are due in large part to a failure to curtail spending – and NOT due to a failure to raise taxes. Short of national defense and a (very few) other issues there is precious little that the government can do more efficiently than the private, market based sector. a 100% tax ‘rate’ and a 0% tax rate are equally bad so we must agree to meet somewhere in the middle and ensure that what is collected is spent on programs that the private market cannot provide more efficiently and that the programs that the government conducts are run with the greatest possible degree of efficiency.

Robert: Help me understand how letting people keep more of the money they make is considered greed? I don’t get it.

Regarding health care, the problem existed before TP and will exist after and has existed all over the nation. The problem is that there are too many self interested groups that have prevented true competition based on delivering healthcare value to the end user – that is the patient. Instead everyone focuses on cost and keeping as much of the pie for themselves. In what is percieved to be a zero sum game there will necessarily be increased focus on cost and process. Only when physicians and provider groups are evaluated on how effectively they deliver cost effective care to patients will the system get better. Trouble is that the providers don’t want the efficacy data to be published (in the current system they fear being exposed to malpractice) and that there are all sorts of disincentives to delivering the best quality care to patients.

To Anyone who wants to read a really good book on how to fix the healthcare system:

I would suggest you go get a copy of “Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results” by Michael E. Porter (Harvard Bus. School) and Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg (Darden Bus School??). This is the best treatment of what is wrong with our healthcare system that I have seen in a single book. As a professional employed in helathcare for 20 years I highly recommend it. After reading this book it is impossible to place all the blame on any political party – so I would suggest not even trying.

Mark says:

September 21st, 2006 at 5:12 pm


The 0% and the 100% number you cite are the basic fundamental assumptions of the famous Laffer Curve. Given that marginal tax revenues at both tax rates would be zero, that means that there exists a maxima; that is the marginal tax rate were marginal revenue will be maximized.

Further, this is a mathematical fact that cannot be debated.

Bob E. says:

September 21st, 2006 at 7:43 pm

Of the 1,023 respondents of the poll, the party affiliation broken down was 30% Republicans, 23% Independents, and 37% Democrats, surely Hatch had to lead the poll with the highest number.

Tom says:

September 22nd, 2006 at 7:07 am

Aaron: We are spending a tuition money on a public enterprise that is entirely duplicated in the private sector–campaign polling. I don’t understand the logic of that when the Humphrey Institute, which I attend, desparately needs to hire better faculty. Jacobs isn’t teaching us and he evacuated the political science dept.

bsimon says:

September 22nd, 2006 at 9:24 am

Jhope says: “The problems we are facing are due in large part to a failure to curtail spending – and NOT due to a failure to raise taxes. ”

True? or Not true? I suppose it depends in how you define ‘raising taxes.’

One thing politicians do that is exceedingly stupid is pick values that are static rather than pegging numbers to some kind of index so they move with inflation. For instance, the gas tax was last raised something like 18 years ago. Costs of materials for building and maintaining roads have skyrocketed in that time, yet our funding source is static. Does that make any sense? Not to me. Same thing goes for minimum wage. Without getting sidetracked into the discussion of whether they’re good or not, if you’re going to have one, you may as well set it to move with inflation, rather than rehashing the battle every couple years.

Maybe this technique is just a job-security program?

Robert says:

September 22nd, 2006 at 3:40 pm

JHOPE,,,most republicans are blinded by greed,,,,face it and you know it,,FEES ARE TAXES,,,,the FEES pawlenty has inacted are the same as taxes,,,THE TAX BREAKS PAWLENTY HAS PUT INTO OUR SYSTEM HAS DEPLETED REVUNES FOR ALL OTHER THAN A FEW PUKES IN THE SUBURBS,,PROPERTY TAXES HAVE GONE SKY HIGH,,FEES HAVE INCREASED,,,SCHOOLS THROUGHOUT THE RURAL MINNESOTA AREAS ARE IN FINANCIAL PROBLEMS,,ETC,,,,,,,when a Republican hears a republican say they will lower taxes,,they are blinded ,,they are unable to think ,,,and My theory is they are unable to think,,where is the money then going to come from???they are unable to rationalize,,Maybe to them Greed stops their thought process,,,the same as a meth addict,,when in need of a fix,,doesnt rationalize,,how hwe will get it,,

Robert says:

September 22nd, 2006 at 3:45 pm

The PLEANTY administration also has done away with the senior fishing licence,,These senior citizens are now forced to pay the same fee as people that are working,,What a shame,,the Majority of these Seniors that use to benifit are Veterens of War,,people that fought for our freedoms,,but the Republicans and ones like JHOPE,,must consider this right,,JHOPE,,,doesnt think this is greedy

Mark says:

September 22nd, 2006 at 5:26 pm

“if you’re going to have one, you may as well set it to move with inflation, rather than rehashing the battle every couple years. ”

Well, that would be just too damn easy. I would not oppose indexing minimum wages. However, no one in politics does, especially the MINIMUM WAGE supporters (and this is true even if they deny it).

If minimum wage was indexed they would never be able to bring the issue up as a political weapon. If I was running the GOP Causcus I would propose legislation to do this right away. I want to see the Democrats fight against it!


No, some “fees” are taxes such as the “fee” you pay to register your car. You really get nothing for this fee.

But some fees are fees. YOu pay them because you are getting something from the government. The fee you pay for your fishing license grants you the right to go fishing. The fee you pay to park in a state park is paid because you are using government resources directly.

Mark says:

September 22nd, 2006 at 5:32 pm

“most republicans are blinded by greed”

Really? You claim you are compassionate because you are willing to tax other people to pay for your compassion. I would be too if I could make other people pay. Hell, that is easy.

Before you call someone else greedy, do you pay more than you are required to pay in taxes? Let me know when you are because then maybe I will listen to how the Republicans are being greedy.

When you voluntarily pay more then you might have a case.

Eva Young says:

September 22nd, 2006 at 5:50 pm

The stadium is supressing Pawlenty of Tax Increases numbers.

Robert says:

September 22nd, 2006 at 6:12 pm

mark,,typical right wingers,,,where did I ever say I was compassionet???..taxes and fees no difference,,unless your a republican trying to justify increased fees,,,face it,,Pleanty hasnt lowered the amount of money people in Minnesota pay in to the State,,Pleanty has just helped the neo cons put our nation in the worst debit in US History,,,

JHope says:

September 23rd, 2006 at 11:13 am


You are right about the Laffer Curve of course and I agree about the consquences of both tax rates. Interesting thing though – in trying to be level headed, clinical and non-partisan it’s funny how I provoked Robert into an emotional tirade about Republicans. I never mentioned my political affiliation or even if I had one. I try to look at arguments from a rational perspective of cause and effect. I appreciate your intellectual honesty and your thinking.

You’re also right on about the fees – again contrary to Robert’s comments. If I have an allegiance it would be to the classical, University of Chicago school of economic thought as well as to their political science department. I generally agree with their historical analysis of politics and economics. Great school.

One tax that I would like to see abolished is the AMT. Problem is that the government is on the verge of getting more in revenue from the non-indexed AMT than the regular tax roles. If we cannot find the political will to abolish it then it should be decrease adn indexed (a much less attractive alternative).

Robert: One final thought on you comments – I believe if you check the OMB statistics you’ll find that the state tax coffers are at record high levels (with the exception of NJ) so, though states are brining in more tax revenue than ever before they’re still regarded as having difficulties. Basic math: if there’s a defecit despite record tax revenue then the problem must be on the expenditure side….

Mark says:

September 23rd, 2006 at 12:34 pm

I looked at Chicago for grad school but stayed home in MN instead. The U of MN school was very cutting edge at teh time with future Nobel Prize winner Ed Prescott there (we had numerous discussions 15 years ago about the probability of him winning it).

The AMT is a hard tax to get rid of because of the political ramifications regardless of the revenue it generates. It is a tax on the “rich” who do not pay “enough” in taxes.

If I could become dictator revising the tax system would be my first priority.

I would install a 5-6% national sales or value added tax. I would have slightly higher sales taxes on certain luxury items and sliding scale sales tax on automobile sales. I would have a progressive national car registration tax and a national property tax about 20% of the level of state property taxes.

Hell, I would implement Al Gore’s emmission tax at about 1/10th of what he proposes.

On the other hand, I would eliminate the corporate income tax, eliminate the estate tax, and eliminate payroll taxes. I would eliminate the AMT.

I believe that the tax revenues from the above would still allow me to reduce the marginal income taxes across the board by about 8%.

I would then privitize social security. The transition would be paid for by increasing the marginal tax rate on the top 10% by 10%, the next 40% by 6%, and the lowest earners by 4%. These funds would pay for the current SS recipients.

You would then be eligible to contribute 12.4% of their income (the employer would still “match”) into your private account. The present value of previous contributions would be paid for by investing in the account US treasuries.

All the funds in your account, as well as all of its earnings, would never be taxed, even when they are distributed and even if they are inherited.

Robert says:

September 23rd, 2006 at 5:46 pm

JH hope,,4 paragraphs of fluff,,,good job,,,appears you didnt rebute my statement I said about the national deficit,,typical rightwinger,,not addressing th statement,,hey freedoms on the march,,stay the course

JHope says:

September 24th, 2006 at 5:19 pm


Couldn’t agree more with your comments about the tax code.

The problem with the AMT is that it was never indexed for inflation. As a result of this error the tax hits more and more people, especially those who itimize, who are not in the ‘wealthy / rich’ ranks (unless of course you compare our incomes to those in the rest of the world. The perception that the “rich” don’t pay enough taxes is just that – a perception (or value judgement). The rich pay the lions share of the taxes in this country . . . but I don’t think based on your comments and punctuation you would disagree (others reading this will likely pipe up soon in protest). From your thumbnail sketch I’d say you’re off to a good start.

Mark says:

September 24th, 2006 at 5:54 pm

Well, first I need to figure out a way to become dictator. I know Dora, bSimon, and Teddy Bill Pendergras will support my big though.

Well, we are limited by politics in what we can do. I hear so many of my conservative friends worry about what Bush is doing. But compromise is our friend in many cases because it gets us our priorities.

AS you can see, some in this room do not agree. For example, they claim that their party should not run a candidate that has views that would be mainstream in their electorate. I suggested that they run a pro-life, social conservative Democrat like Collin Peterson in the 6th Conressional District and they saw that as a stupid idea. You cannot compromise your principles, so they said.

My next step, if I were both Bush and T-Paw would be to pass minimum wage inceases with an index. A straight up bill. I would love to see the Democrats vote against it, that would be political theatre. Indexing though, would end this political issue that the Loco Focos hold over us forever.

Brian says:

September 25th, 2006 at 10:47 am

Can we really trust any poll for the Strib as being accurate and fair? If Pawlenty is neck and neck with Hatch in a Strib poll, then I feel good that the actual numbers are probably Pawlenty 48 Hatch 42.

Dora says:

September 25th, 2006 at 1:23 pm

I know Dora, bSimon, and Teddy Bill Pendergras will support my big though.

support your big what Mark? :)

Dora says:

September 25th, 2006 at 1:27 pm

Well Brian, of course you can’t trust anything the Strib says, right? Oops. New thread about Rothenberg may not support your erudite observation.

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