We are ever reminded that life is fragile. Also, we are reminded almost daily to expect the unexpected. Yesterday I awoke, thinking that the first priority was to finish up and send in this week’s column. I’d been working with help from another, who recently alerted me to a technical problem, dilemma and concern. We ”tech Neanderthals” have been oblivious to the invasion of privacy, or tech piracy, of our own National Security Agency (NSA).
As I write this column, the Labor Day weekend is coming to an end. As in most of the last 50 years, I attended a Labor-oriented Labor Day picnic in Duluth. It was announced that similar commemorating gatherings have occurred in Duluth for most of the past 122 years. While individuals, non-union and even anti-union and Republicans attend and circulate, the event is organized, financed and otherwise made possible by most all of the Duluth area local unions acting as sponsors, hosts and workers for the event.
In response In response to last week’s columns, all of the facts I learned came from Minnesota newspaper articles. I relied on the following: • AGCO is simply unable to find employees for its new expansion in Jackson, Minn. • There is no housing available for potential employees to move into, anywhere in Jackson or the surrounding area. • The lack of potential employees is so dire that the company is expending huge sums to buy robots to do some of the work.
What I’d planned to write about this week was the Republican recess. It doesn’t affect us in this area directly since we don’t have a Republican congressperson traveling our district this month. We have the luxury of Congressman Rick Nolan. He’s ever on the move, in and out of the vast district, fast-paced, but following his own instincts as to the needs of his constituents, not the dictates of his national party.
Our August Supreme Court recently ruled that our corporations are persons. If so, shouldn’t they have a conscience and be considerate of other people, particularly their workers? It would be nice if they would make their decisions a little more people-oriented, and a little less almighty dollar-oriented, if they showed more conscience and maybe even a little compassion. I’m thinking of a corporation — AGCO, which makes huge farm tractors — and another corporation closer to lake country minds, Wausau.
It is a sad commentary on our society when the biggest bank robbers in our nation happen to be the biggest banks in the nation, robbing the rest of us. We have experienced a lessening of personal service in our bigger banks. It sure makes me appreciate the good, personal service I get at a small bank here in our small community. Along with the lessening of big bank personal services has been a lot of new charges for what used to be free, and a lot of those new or increased charges have come without much in the way of valid explanation or advance notice.
Governor Dayton seems to have survived all the flap and negativism about increasing taxes this legislative session. The major and most publicized feature of his comprehensive tax proposal was to increase state income taxes 2 percent on the top 2 percent of income earners. That increase was loudly decried by many, most of whom will likely never be affected.
One of the minor things the Legislature did this past session is a good, small step in financing our political campaigns. The Legislature reinstated and funded our pre-existing Political Campaign Refund (PCR) procedure. While some of us argue for a lot more in the way of public financing of major elected office campaigns, and some countries totally fund campaigns, we are not at such a point in this country at present or, likely, in the near future. Our state PCR program is a small step in a good direction. It is scheduled to be re-enacted as of July.
Patriotism is not partisan. To most of us, patriotism is simply love of our country. Arguably, it is loving our country, warts and all. The Republican claim to the moral high ground is tiresome and unsettling. We can be liberal Democrats and have strong faith in an almighty God, and, at the same time, support and participate in our imperfect government, which is us.
We are told that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. It may be further stated that taxes are the most certain of the two, as we have been convinced by repeated personal experience. Taxes, a rather boring subject at best, a costly one to all, will likely come to the public forefront this week as the hoopla over last week’s issue subsides. It does make some sense to be talking about taxes since the issue has the most to say about how our government functions, and has the most overall direct effect on most all of us.