“We have staked the future of American civilization upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
-President James Madison
I am more than halfway through both the legislative session and a book I am reading: Killing Lincoln. It’s a remarkable and inspirational book. I have a renewed enthusiasm for our Civil War and Ulysses S Grant in particular. Before the war, Grant was viewed by many to be washed up, career over. President Lincoln had faith in him – and for good reason.
Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox in 1865 brought an end to the war and the start of recovery. However, the real recovery – or healing, as Lincoln recognized America needed – began when Grant told Lee to ride back to his troops and tell them to go home to their families: The war is over. There would be no reparations. Nobody would be tried for their actions against the Union.
The healing began for America until the assassination of Lincoln. Once again, we started the mending process.
America has a long and wonderful history of struggles and hardships. Yet, we prevail and grow stronger. I believe we continue to be the greatest nation on God’s green earth. We are a blessed nation with much to be thankful for.
To be sure, we are not a perfect nation. As the lyrics read on the second stanza of America the Beautiful, God mend thy every flaw. That cannot be done by passing law after law. We must first begin at home. Strong families have been and remain the backbone of America.
We have finished most of our committee work in the Legislature. We worked to amend the bills but not many were accepted. More of our time will be spent on the House floor, debating and voting on several omnibus bills. I recognize we have partisan politics at the federal and state levels. Both parties are guilty of it. The Democrat majority has accepted very few Republican amendments and even fewer of our bills. When Republicans were in the majority in 2011-12, we also were partisan. That said, we accepted a greater number of democrat bills and had hearings on many more.
The Democrat bills this year will have serious consequences on our families and businesses. Burdensome tax increases, dubious energy policies and inequitable transportation funding all are making their way toward enactment.
Many economists believe the proposed tax increases will be harmful to our still-fragile economy. I know there are some who do not like hearing the cliché, but the Democrats’ tax-and-spend practices are strikingly evident in the bills introduced this year. The tax increases being proposed would raise taxes by billions of dollars in order to fund billions more dollars in government growth.
If we want to have a robust and healthy state, we cannot continue to tax and spend. It is our fiduciary responsibility to do so with prudence and restraint. For the record, I believe we practiced that when Republicans were in the majority last biennium. We funded our priorities and delivered state services more efficiently by reforming programs in many of the state’s agencies. Grandma did not fall off the cliff, our children are receiving good educations and our veterans are receiving the benefits they deserve. We took care of the poor, the disabled and the elderly.
Bonding proposals recently issued by both Gov. Mark Dayton and House Democrats borrow too much money on the backs of our kids by piling too many unnecessary wish-list items on top of essential infrastructure projects.
We are still a great nation and people. In order to stay great, we must all make sacrifices, work hard, have faith in God and mend thy every flaw.
Rep. Joe McDonald