That’s what I said in December 2015 when I put up my last ‘dissecting MT Cowgirl’ post.
Why’d I say that?
Because I’d just said this:
“The clandestine and anonymous authors of that site do more to harm the Democratic cause in Montana than anyone.
Their constant goading, blaming, and accusing of GOP legislators and others earns the enmity of the majority party in this state.”
That was 2 years ago.
Different people were in charge back then, and MT Cowgirl was the top Montana blog and one of the top Montana news sites.
Now it’s fallen to the 17th most visited news site in the state…well below mine.
People just don’t care what those anonymous writers have to say.
Alas, those writers keep putting their dross up.
I thought it’d be fun to dissect some of that dross today.
Let’s get started.
The name of the article is Guest Post: What GOP Legislators Don’t Want you to Know about MT’s Budget and Revenue.
The post was written by Lesa Reynolds, and I have no idea who that person is.
We’re told right off the bat that “the state has no money.”
We’re not told that Bullock ran on a platform of having a surplus. Remember that?
At the end of the 2015 legislature Bullock told us we had “about $300 million,” but then in September 2016 we learned that this was “$200 million below projections.”
So we had a $100 million surplus.
But Bullock wouldn’t tell you that because he was in 2016 campaign mode.
“They don’t want to go off that $300 million talking point,” Representative Osmundson said a year ago.
And he’s exactly right. Winning a second term was more important to Bullock than the state’s fiscal health.
Dan Villa – perhaps one of the worst employees in state government right now, though behind Clay Christian – crowed about Montana’s budget last year, saying the ‘surplus’ was keeping us from a special session.
“Montana has avoided a special legislative session to cut budgets, unlike neighboring states, which have seen huge decreases in oil-and-gas revenue.”
That was a year ago.
9 days ago Bullock was blaming that $200 million surplus loss on the Republicans, saying that “the budget approved by the GOP-majority Legislature was based on ‘unrealistic revenue projections.’”
Ahem…Governor, if the revenue projections were unrealistic…then why’d you sign-off on them?
When we come back to MT Cowgirl we find that the blame isn’t assigned to the current legislature, but past legislatures.
“…the GOP has been cutting or eliminating taxes at every turn, but never more so than when they last controlled two of the three branches of government, in 2003.”
Wow, we’ve got to go back 14 years now for MT Cowgirl to make their point.
Those were the Judy Martz days.
Martz was 52-years-old in March 1996 when the 47-year-old Racicot tapped her to join him on the campaign trail as his second-term running mate. She’d been a field representative for Senator Conrad Burns in the Democratic stronghold city of Butte, where she and her husband owned a garbage disposal business, Martz Disposal Service.
By that point Racicot had raised $233,000 for his campaign while his Republican primary challenger – University of Montana law professor, Rob Natelson – had raised just $45,000.
And we know how that turned out.
By January 2001, the legislature estimated that Montana had lost 632 jobs to deregulation: 320 from Montana Resources in Butte, 290 from Columbia Falls Aluminum Plant, 15 from Anderson Steel in Butte and seven from Grey Mount Mine in Townsend
The Berkeley Pit actually shut down.
Since their electricity contract expired, their rates were set to jump from $35 to $625 a megawatt hour. One megawatt hour could power 240-300 homes. According to mine manager Ray Tilman, the company would lose $3.1 million a month if operations continued.
That’s what Marc Racicot gave us, and that’s the reality Judy Martz had to deal with during her one term. She was from Butte and her boss's policies hurt Butte.
She dealt with that reality by cutting taxes for rich people like her.
“Nearly ½ of this went to people who earn more than $500,000 a year,” Cowgirl tells us, though we’re not told where the other half went.
Montana citizens let her get away with this…though considering she had just one term, perhaps not.
One of the things that Cowgirl nails today is that the GOP believes “they must give special tax shelters to their wealthy backers in return for campaign contributions.”
This is the system we have.
It’s corruption…Godless, awful, nasty corruption.
Corruption that Democratic representatives don’t bat an eyelash at because they dip their fingers in too.
For instance, Jon Tester is a darling of Cowgirl…yet the Democratic senator won’t do anything to get rid of Citizens United.
The reasons are simple – he profits from Citizens United and thinks he needs it to win his third term. Politicians don’t seek third terms to help you; it’s so they can help themselves.
The second reason is that Tester is too busy pandering to veterans (many of whom are Republican) in the hopes to getting that third term.
This despite the fact that Tester has been able to do nothing for veterans for years (wait times at VA hospitals are as long as they were when we reported the problem 3 years ago.)
Cowgirl mentions that Montana’s internet “is on par with West Virginia,” but it was Tester that brought the head of the FCC here over 2 years ago to address that very problem.
I guess nothing happened.
“The state is burning down and the fire funds are long exhausted,” Cowgirl laments.
Cowgirl is angry at this, because it means:
- To cut “health care for the working poor.”
- To cut “child care for the working poor.”
- To cut “service for the poor with disabilities.”
- To cut “nursing home care and pretty much anything else.”
Why are these cuts being made?
“Because, to Republicans, these people don’t matter.”
Cowgirl tells us that if you’re making “more than $500,000 a year,” then, “I’m sorry, you do not get to whine.”
“These are the people who’ve been benefiting from the GOP policies.”
I can’t really blame ‘em.
If you’re making over $418,000 a year then you get taxed at a rate of 39.6%.
That means that if you make $500,000 a year…you only get to keep $305,000.
Imagine it like this – you make $100 for a night of work but your boss only gives you $60.
Where’s that other $40…and what could you have used that $40 for?
Now imagine if we were living under Republican Dwight Eisenhower. Then you’d only get $10 of that $100 you made.
So there are far more incentives for rich people to keep working today then there were when my parents were born.
The system still smacks of unfairness, however. I know we want rich people to pay more in taxes because they make more…but gosh, how do they feel?
It’s true that some make their money from spurious sources, but others work very, very hard. Most millionaires in America today are self-made, first generation millionaires.
How do they feel about forking over 40% of their earnings to the government?
I only fork-over 15% of my income…and much of that is given back to me at year-end. If you’re making $38,000 to $91,000 then you’re forking over 25%.
“What exactly is so wrong about correcting the imbalance by asking the wealthiest of the wealthy for more money…?” Cowgirl asks.
We’re not really given an answer, or succinct argument, for that question.
Instead Cowgirl declares that they’re “starting to get tired of GOP cowards hiding behind hollow straw man arguments.”
And that’s about where the article ends. As usual, we’re not given any concrete ideas or solutions for the problem, we’re just given a bunch of hot air and rigmarole.
At least someone put their name on the dross today, I have to say that much.
So what is the solution?
I asked you that yesterday, but no one ventured a response.
It’s because we don’t know.
We don’t know what to do.
Like I said yesterday, we have 3 main options:
- Raise taxes on the rich
- Raise taxes on everyone (sales tax)
- Create new revenue sources
For that last one I mentioned marijuana, but even if we legalized today we’d see no tax revenues until at least 2019.
Personally, I’m wondering why we didn’t just let the state burn.
Weren’t most of those fires in rugged, inaccessible terrain…the kind of terrain where no one lives?
Why spend the money fighting that…and by fighting that I mean spending money to fuel aircraft and pay pilots and buy fuel retardant.
Who profits from that?
I mean…if there are no homes in the area…why fight it?
Again, who is making the money that the State of Montana desperately needs right now?
What should be painfully obvious to you is that our firefighting efforts this year yielded nothing. We spent $50 million or more to hold the line, knowing full-well that the fires would not be put out until the winter snows came.
But someone wanted to make the money that the state was paying, and they did.
Lives were lost because of this.
If I was in charge I’d ground all aircraft and let it burn. When you came to me with complaints I’d direct you to your federal representatives.
Perhaps if enough of you complained, they’d care more about you than their big money backers.
Then we might get some action on global warming.
Until then, we’ll be pissing away our kids’ money each year to fight fires that are unfightable.
“The state has no money,” Cowgirl tells us.
And the state won’t have any money for some time.
Open your eyes.