Dick Palmer: Discuss these random topics over coffee with friends

One of the issues on the front burner these days is the outcome of this year's legislative session. On one hand, as a rule of thumb, too many legislators are constantly proposing new programs that cost money, and too few legislators continue to h...

One of the issues on the front burner these days is the outcome of this year's legislative session. On one hand, as a rule of thumb, too many legislators are constantly proposing new programs that cost money, and too few legislators continue to harp about government waste and a need for tax and spend reforms. Obviously, partisan political factions offer little in compromise and neither seems to be looking at the big picture that is changing by the second. Before I get into specifics, for you coffee groups around the area, here is a suggested agenda for your next get-together: How do you feel about the following:

  • The current legislative session, the so-called bonding process to fund infrastructure needs throughout the state, is being upstaged by a clutter of legislation that is time consuming and could well be handled in the regular 2007 session. Odd- numbered years are dedicated to appropriations and taxing formulas. I know, I have repeated this concern before, but it is a fact that too many legislators are more interested in their personal images than the job that has been entrusted to them. What do you think?
  • Gaso-line and fuel oil prices are unreal, and all we can do is shrug our shoulders and laugh or cry about it. Well, it certainly isn't funny, and we can do something about it, but it will require a united effort to conserve fuel whenever possible. Truckers are stuck, especially independent carriers with huge initial investments and now overpowering fuel prices. All this only leads to higher costs for all of us. What should we do? Maybe some of you have an answer.
  • Gay marriage proposals continue to haunt most of us. I am personally against gay marriages, but maybe some other terminology could be used to allow same sex partnerships. Surely partners, male or female, have a right to spend or assign their trusts to whomever they wish, so marriage, in a sense, doesn't seem needed with same sex partnerships. The thing is, what do I know? What do you think?
  • Sports stadiums are a big league challenge in every sense. The University of Minnesota wants a new football stadium on campus, and my guess is that it will happen. But the Twins' and the Vikings' efforts to build two separate stadiums seems pretty bizarre to me. We are being told that the existing Dome is unsuitable for either the Twins or the Vikings. Why? Because modern day stadiums have to accommodate luxury suites for the big money interests.

Taxpayers should get involved to some extent but not until the benefits to individual communities and the state are spelled out. I can envision a joint stadium for the Vikings and the Twins with a retractable dome. But, I simply cannot imagine ball players being awarded $100,000 or more to play a single game of professional basketball, and football players signing multi-million dollar contracts with the majority of that overhead to be paid by hardworking families throughout the region. Something is out of balance here. What are your thoughts on this one?

  • Greed is a two-way street. It is so simple today to blame past union leadership activities for the decline of the American automobile empire, an American institution that is in serious trouble today. True, there was a time when union bosses appeared to control the "Big Three," Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, and management simply took the additional benefits in stride, padded their own pockets and laughed at Toyota, Nissan and others that had entered the American market. They aren't laughing now and are publicly crying the blues. The American automobile industry was the finest in the world but as overhead increased, the competition has American cars sucking dust. Consumer interest willingly moved to the foreign vehicles with 100,000 mile warranties, great gas mileage ratings and significant electronic improvements. Now, American plants are closing and the taconite pellets from the Iron Range are going to China. Any comments on this?

In closing, America has a serious drug problem, our immigration process needs an overhaul and terrorism has certainly hit us right here in our own neighborhoods. There is much to be concerned with today, but we are still the best in the world. However, our process needs some tweaking without partisan politics muddying up the water.
If you have some answers, please advise because my coffee is getting cold.

Dick Palmer is the former editor and publisher of the Budgeteer News. He may be reached by telephone at 729-6470 or by

e-mail at .


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Ole says: "I never knew vhat happiness vas until I got married. By dat time, it vas too late."

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