SIDEWAYS THUMBS: By a 2-to-1 margin, respondents to our latest poll think Occupy Wall Street protestors are wasting their time and are not making a difference. But it's hard to say it's been a waste of time when they've captured the attention of the national media. Maybe their goals are vague. Maybe they're unorganized. Maybe some of them don't even know what they're protesting for. But the fact that the national media has latched onto the "Occupy" movement, at the very least, means they've got this nation's attention, and it's safe to say they've got the attention of a number of our nation's elected officials as well. Will this movement ultimately make a difference? It's easy to say no, but right now, the jury's out. We support the demonstrators who continue to publically practice democracy in a non-threatening, non-violent, law-abiding way like those who rallied at Memorial Park in Marshall did last week. But, in a broader perspective, we do this with a hint of skepticism, as more and more arrests are being made when protestors around the country break the law for the sake of soaking up even more attention.
THUMBS DOWN: If you believe the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank, GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain's regressive 9-9-9 tax plan he has proposed to replace the current tax code is exactly what this country doesn't need. The Tax Policy Center's study on the plan showed that for people with incomes between $10,000-$20,000, their taxes would go up $2,700, and households bringing home between $40,000-$50,000 would see an average tax hike of $4,400. Meanwhile, millionaires would see their taxes cut nearly in half, the Center said. Pretty scary figures. On Sunday, Cain said in an interview: "Some people will pay more, but most people would pay less." Fine - as long as that "some" means millionaires. The last people who need a tax hit are low- and medium-income wage earners, the middle class whose paycheck can't come fast enough. 9-9-9 sounds more like a problem than a plan. At least for "some" people.
Shielding taxpayers from stadium costs
THUMBS UP: If there is one thing we've learned in the last week is that there really is no off-season when it comes to politics. That's because the push for a new Vikings stadium has been gaining steam by the week. Just this week, we learned that a special session could very well be called next month, which would lead to a legislative vote on a stadium bill. Gov. Mark Dayton has remained supportive of the team's quest for a stadium but has also chosen his words and actions carefully, rightly saying he won't support paying for the stadium with state revenue or increased taxes. On Monday, Dayton will meet with Republican legislative leaders who represent the majority in the Legislature -?many who are skeptical about the stadium and how it will be paid for. We urge those policy makers to keep an open mind when discussing this issue and to keep the residents of Minnesota in mind when it comes to financing a stadium - an increase in taxes should remain off the table and be considered a deal-breaker. There is an answer out there to come up with state's share - a projected $300 million - of a new billion-dollar stadium, they just need to find it. Racino ring a bell? It's once again time for the leaders of the state to lead, to protect the pocketbooks of the residents of Minnesota and to find the answer that best serves the entire state.