During this past legislative session, one of my DFL colleagues asked me, "Representative Buesgens, why are you such an angry, white male?" At the time I just assumed he was tired of hearing me talk about how raising taxes during a recession is a bad idea. After all, there were so many tax increases up for debate this year that I did have to give a lot of speeches in defense of economic freedom.
But more than a month removed from the end of session, I've had some time to reflect back on my colleague's question and maybe he was onto something. I am Caucasian, there's nothing I can do about that. Same goes for being male. That was God's call. But the part about being angry? That took more thought.
Am I angry because our economic liberties are continually being threatened? Our country set itself apart by championing the belief that a free people given the liberty to chart a course of their choosing would lead to unparalleled prosperity, and it has. We climbed higher faster than anyone would have foreseen in 1776. So yes, I am angry when I see the government taking more and more of our economy for itself through continually high taxes and unprecedented intrusion into industry.
Am I angry because the Legislature spent five months in session and produced no tangible progress toward improving the economy? The message from Democrats to taxpayers this session was demoralizing, telling us that even though times are tough we need to squeeze our wallets a little harder to sustain the government's spending appetite. Every dollar of spending is sacrosanct to the enablers of government. Every artistic water fountain, every road to nowhere serves a vital public purpose in their view. And what did the Legislature do to remedy the situation?
Nothing. Gov. Pawlenty had to finally step in and put a stop to the madness. So yes, I am angry that our Legislature was unable to get its job done.
Speaking of jobs, I am certainly not happy to see more and more jobs disappearing from Minnesota. Just last week we learned of a company that intends to expand in Omaha because the city is willing to dole out so-called "stimulus" money as a reward. Losing a company to another state is one thing. Having it lured away with our tax dollars is outrageous. We should all be upset about that.
Upon this reflection, I am not angry due to my ethnicity or my gender, but because the principles our state and nation stand for are being stomped on and swept aside. Our foundation of personal liberty and economic freedom saw us through tough times in the past and can do so again. Maybe if a few more people are upset enough to make their voices heard -- no matter their gender or ethnicity -- we can get back on the right track...toward prosperity.
Mark Buesgens, R-Jordan, is a member of the Minnesota House.