Our great country has some of the finest health care imaginable - for those who can afford it. By the time you read this, our U.S. Supreme Court likely will have issued a decision that will have a monumental impact on where our nation goes with health care in the immediate coming years. For many reasons and excuses, our highly developed country, in many areas, remains sadly lacking in providing adequate health care for all of its citizens.
In the convoluted system we have created for higher education, private for-profit colleges have sprung up all across our nation. Before, we depended on our public universities and colleges for most students, together with a collection of excellent private colleges of nonprofit nature, often supported by a certain religious affiliation or other positive purpose. As costs escalated dramatically at existing educational institutions, our federal government expanded its student loan program.
As the Legislature opened its session earlier this year, most of us hoped for the near impossible. We hoped that the partisan bickering and political posturing would disappear. We hoped the Legislature would proceed through the early months of the year, considering and passing constructive bills aimed at long-term solutions of long-term problems affecting Minnesota. That didn't happen. Republicans are too anxious to paint themselves as tax cutters and government "waste" cutters. The Republican House majority would decimate our human services programs.
Over the past couple weeks, we've had another prime example of folks in metro Minnesota telling non-metro Minnesotans how to live our lives and treat our environment. Rep. Betty McCollum has been touting her last foray into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) and northern border country controversy. She introduced a bill into the U.S.
It is no surprise that Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president of the United States on Sunday. The race is on. Actually, it has already been going on for some months, if not years. Lesser candidates such as Scott Walker, from neighboring Wisconsin, have already announced, as have "wild cards" Rand Paul and Ted Cruz for the Republicans.
Our Minnesota state budget is to be set every two years. The budget is a creation of budget bills approved by our legislative House and Senate and signed off by our governor. Thus, it is the product of end decisions of the two action groups of our legislative branch and our administrative branch, with less formal involvement and input from the judicial branch. In other words, it is a three-pronged process to get to the final result. This year, the even-numbered budget year for the biennium, the principal spokespersons of the three entities are, obviously, Gov.
A week or so ago state Republican Party chair Keith Downey went to the State Office Building in St. Paul and held a press conference. No legislators who office in that building were present. Downey made quite a splash by announcing that our Legislature (and governor) should use up all of our projected $1.9 billion state surplus by sending out checks for $350 to every Minnesotan (whether they need it or not). Downey had just spent $150,000 of Republican Party money that they apparently don't have (in debt over a million).
I didn't know until reading the Star Tribune yesterday that monthly payments to "welfare" recipients have not been increased in Minnesota in the last almost 30 years. The last adjustment took place back in 1986. It is named differently now. They call it the Minnesota Family Investment Plan (MFIP), which I suppose is an attempt to get away from the stigma, which unfortunately still exists.
Does Brian Williams survive in the news/entertainment arena? In the old days we'd probably bet on it now and forget who won a few months later. Now, the whole nation is, and will continue to be, tweeting, twittering, speculating and otherwise weighing in.
Our government is us - in theory at least. Our standing system of law directs us to think we are a people to govern ourselves. Our government costs money - quite a lot of money. Taxes are the legitimate cost of this government. But, the money spent on government should be used to meet legitimate government needs. Certainly, we need to do a better job of seeing that those taxes are carefully spent, including that they be confined to legitimate agreed upon government expenditures.