It's All About Freedom
"Sure. I am a libertarian. I've taken the libertarian exam and
scored perfect on it. There's this 10 question quiz that the
Libertarian Party puts out. They give you 30, 20, or 10 points
depending on how you answer the questions. I've gotten
-- Reason Magazine April 1999, page 44.
This page will try to compare former Governor Ventura's rhetoric,
and most important his actions, to libertarian philosophy.
Jesse is not a libertarian. He leans libertarian on social
issues like drugs, but he is not consistent. Sometimes he will
sound like a libertarian on economic issues, but for the most
part his actions do not match his rhetoric.
My reply to the Reason article can be found on my Letters to Editor page
The most glaring examples of former Governor Ventura's big government beliefs are in the following areas:
From Governor Ventura's State of the State Address:
"The goal of this administration is to build the strongest public education system in the world, ... Last month I recommended nearly $600 million in new investments in K-12 education, including a very important incentive fund of $150 million for reducing class sizes kindergarten through grade three. It is my goal to erase the word ``voucher'' from the vocabulary by investing in public education and expecting local school boards to deliver results. "
From Governor Ventura's State of the State Address:
"ANOTHER BIG QUESTION: Why don't we have a transportation system that works after 25 years of investing in planning? I want to stop planning to do something about transit and urban sprawl and get something done. Our roads have grown more congested and the Twin Cities region has become one of the most sprawling in the country. In Minnesota, every day an area the size of the Mall of America gets paved over, and we're still ``planning'' to do something about transit sprawl. I want a transit system that gives people choices, so they can get where they want to go, when they need to get there. I'll know we're successful when I can ride light rail from downtown Minneapolis to the megamall, and take commuter rail from St. Cloud to the Twin Cities. It's time for action on transportation, and it's in the hands of Metropolitan Council Chair Ted Mondale and the Transportation Commissioner El Tinklenberg to develop an action plan that makes sense for the whole state of Minnesota."
Here is Governor Ventura's Transportation Commissioners comments when asked about a Department of Transportation study that showed that the initial 12 mile segment of Light Rail will cost $765 million and the benefits will only be $318 million :
"I believe the people of Minnesota won't be confused by this obvious attempt to cloud the issue at this late date...Simply put, requiring this analysis at the contracting stage of a project, and after all the decisions have been made, is a bad public policy.''
Here is Governor Ventura's comment on hearing of the Federal Transit Administration authorization to begin final design.
"The federal decision re-enforces that LRT in Minnesota is on track. While there continues to be misguided efforts to derail the project back home, Washington clearly sees we have a rail line that merits its support.''
Source: Just Rewards The newsletter for Metro Transit's frequent riders.
"'I want to erase the word voucher from the vocabulary,' were Governor Ventura's words in his first State of the State address. By these words, he focused the responsibility for delivering results squarely on every parent, every teacher, every administrator, and every school board member in Minnesota to do what is right for every child. The K-12 initiatives will involve agencies as diverse as Public Safety, Metropolitan Council, Corrections, and Housing Finance in new discussions of how to improve student achievement...
...The goal is simply this: to ensure the best public education for every child in Minnesota, and an optimal representative governance structure that delivers results."
Jesse Ventura is an advocate of government run schools. Jesse has also expressed his firm support for Minnesota's Profile of Learning, which is the state's implementation of the Federal Goals 2000.
In my opinion there is nothing more dangerous to Liberty than having the government providing "education" to our children.
Governor Ventura puts his trust in the government planners, not in the people and the free market.
What others are saying about Jesse and Smart Growth:
"Never before has there been a Minnesota Governor who cares about this issue."
-- Ted Mondale, chair Metropolitan Council, commenting on Jesse positions on "Smart Growth"
Governor Ventura once again puts his trust in the government planners, not in the people and the free market. If he were a libertarian he would know that government is a major cause of the lack of affordable housing. He would be working to end government regulations (such as "Smart Growth") that drive up the cost of housing.
Libertarian? Too early to tell.
The rhetoric talks about self sufficiency, but then lists many areas that the recipients need help. It remains to be seen what the actual details are.
Although Minnesota's health system is generally admired, it can and should be strengthened for the future. There are still too many uninsured Minnesotans, including approximately 70,000 children. The uninsured either go without care and compromise their health, or they get care in the most uneconomical ways -- ultimately paid for by insured citizens and taxpayers. Not only is this system uneconomical, but it is increasingly fragile, with the safety net at risk of collapse as health care institutions are financially squeezed.
The conflicting expectations of various stakeholders are pulling health care in opposite directions and creating an overly complicated system. We need a broad-based community dialogue in order to develop a common view of what we want out of our health system, and more consensus about how to get it. The health system must invest more heavily in and reward prevention, not just treatment. We must help refocus the system on producing better health status for all Minnesotans, not just on producing more and costlier services that fewer and fewer people can afford. Given the stresses on the health system today, and the coming demographic challenges of a more diverse, rapidly aging population, we need a vision of a new health system built not for the last 50 years, but for the next 50 years."
Governor Ventura does talk about individuals, greater choice and responsibility, but the main emphasis is collective. The Governor talks about redesigning the system and "broad-based community dialogue." All the talk about building, redesigning, investing, reward and punishment, sound more like someone intent on more government meddling in health care, not less.
Again a lot of this sounds good: responsibility, cut taxes and government's limited role. But again Jesse shows his absolute blind allegiance to government schools.
Too vague to Know
Huh? Really vague. But "life long learning" is Goals 2000 (Profile of Learning) gobbledegook.
The lawsuit was supposed to recover the State of Minnesota taxpayers' cost of state funded health care for smokers. Ignoring the more than questionable rational of the suit, shouldn't the settlement be refunded to the taxpayers who paid the costs in the first place. Instead Jesse uses Clintonspeak about government spending being "investments"
We'll bring reform to state departments and agencies, reigning in excessive rulemaking, clarifying overlapping roles, bringing greater cooperation between departments to benefit all Minnesotans. One big reform will be our push for a unicameral legislature. We'll introduce a variety of government systems and services reforms, including a simplified tax system and more one-stop government shopping via technology improvements. And we'll support any effort, including the Chief Justice's in regard to the judiciary, to demystify government to make it a friend, not a foe.
In addition, existing laws pertaining to campaigns and elections need to be reviewed and amended to allow for full participation by credible third parties."
Here we can see Governor Ventura intends to "reform" government by making it more "efficient." Allowing "full participation by credible third parties" sounds good. But look at the actual proposed solution below.
Is a "more streamlined legislative process" a good thing. Won't this just make it easier for big government types to pass more and more laws infringing on our liberties?
"Over 150 years, Minnesota's state and local tax system has grown into a jungle of levies, credits, refunds, exemptions, and aid transfers that are sometimes outmoded, frequently contradictory, and that virtually no taxpayer (or even expert) understands well. We need to listen to citizens as well as tax experts to learn what's working and what isn't, and how to build a tax system that is simpler and easier to deal with from the taxpayer's point of view. A better tax system will be more understandable and predictable for taxpayers, so they know how much tax they're paying and why, what government is doing with those dollars, and how to have meaningful influence on the budget and tax processes. A better tax system will be more fair, balancing citizens' ability to pay and the cost and benefits of the government services they consume, and building confidence that the tax laws are being applied evenhandedly to all. A fair tax system will eliminate unfunded mandates by assigning tax responsibility to the same level of government that defines what levels of service will be provided. A better tax system will be modern, reflecting the economy, technology, and society of the 21st century so we can raise sufficient revenue to meet future needs, be competitive with other states and countries and incorporate new technology and ways of doing business. And finally, a better tax system will just make sense for Minnesota, with tax laws that align with our broader goals and don't undermine citizens and communities from doing the right things."
Again Governor Ventura wants to reform - not reduce government. He talks about fairness and ability to pay not reducing everyone's tax burden.
"The state must reaffirm its commitment to quality service for its citizens, with success measured by actual outcomes rather than process, and to a cost-conscious state government. Duplication of state services will be minimized wherever feasible or practical, and adequate communication between governmental units will be assured. Bureaucracy must be minimized. The use of technology will be employed to permit agencies to deliver more efficient and cost-effective services, and to eliminate redundant systems. Agencies with similar missions, or similar customer bases, will be located in common or clustered facilities to facilitate communication and cooperation. Information and technology needs will be integrated into a comprehensive plan for service provision throughout the State. Our focus is on improving the quality and ability to share information, and the effective use of technology in this endeavor. Increasing the efficiency of government, continuously increasing the quality of services, and obtaining the best value for every taxpayer dollar spent is a hallmark of the Ventura-Schunk Administration."
Once again Governor Ventura wants to reform - not reduce government. The underlying assumption here is that government should be providing all these"services", only more efficiently.
"Today's political campaigns are too often about power and money. Campaign spending is spiraling out of control as candidates squander outrageous amounts of money to sell their packaged, politically-correct "ideas" to voters. Sadly, it's getting to the point where citizens who are interested in seeking public office are often not able to compete with seasoned politicians and their pocketbooks. It's no wonder that people are getting turned off to "politics as usual." Our political process should be driven by the public good, not power-hungry politicians and big-moneyed special interests. If we hope to re-engage citizens in our political process, we must limit the influence of special interests in campaigns, level the playing field between challengers and incumbents, and focus on issues that matter to Minnesotans."
Governor Ventura toes the statist line here. The way to "better" politics that Jesse is supporting is to throw out the first amendment and free speech and let those in power set rules for campaigns. These same wonderfull politicians will dish out taxpayer money to those who qualify under their rules. Boy, I bet these rules won't favor those in power! How will this help third parties or anyone outside of the ruling class?
"Products, services, and ideas don't sell themselves, and the global marketplace is increasingly a noisy, busy, hurry-up kind of place. If we want to stand out in the fray, we must make vigorous efforts to showcase what Minnesota has to offer. With more than $15 billion in foreign sales of our manufactured goods, services, and agricultural products, Minnesota is already an international player. At this time, however, the eyes of the world are upon Minnesota in a way they have never seen before. A singular opportunity exists to convert the world's interest in the State of Minnesota and this Governor into increased trading and business opportunities for Minnesota companies. Our mission is to create a "World Plan" that provides a country-by-country strategic analysis to ensure that state resources are effectively focused on those countries that have the greatest potential for improving Minnesota trade."
More government planning from Governor Ventura. It is certainly not libertarian to think the government should be out there spending taxpayer dollars to promote the sale of products from selected companies. As I write this (November 7, 1999) Governor Ventura is in Japan spending $100,000 of taxpayer money on a "trade" mission. According to the Taxpayers League of Minnesota the most prominent events on Ventura's schedule are three days of receptions and basketball games between the Timberwolves and the Sacramento Kings.
"Eight years of economic growth has done us a world of good. Minnesota's overall unemployment rate is lower than ever. But now we face a workforce shortage, which makes us less competitive in a global marketplace. It's vital to our ongoing economic health that we have a well-trained, flexible, and healthy workforce that allows us to be quickly responsive to the opportunities that globalization presents. That means training and retraining constantly during a person's working life. It means looking after displaced workers to get them back into the game with salable skills. It means providing adequate medical care and benefits to injured workers, so that they can return to suitable work as soon as possible. It means finding new workers. When someone says, 'We need good people who can do X, Y, and Z. Do you have them for us?' We want to be able to say, 'You bet we do!' "
Once again Governor Ventura believes that the government should be involved.
"For Minnesota to be competitive in today's global environment, our business development initiatives will be focused on high growth industries and high quality jobs. Minnesota's business will continue to prosper with a supportive business environment. The best business we have is the business we have today. So we need to do everything we can to make sure healthy businesses stay in Minnesota - and expand in Minnesota. And we need to encourage and facilitate linkages between community leadership, resources and businesses to ensure expansion occurs statewide.
In today's increasingly mobile and evolving business world, we must help to generate new entrepreneurs and enterprises. To give new businesses every chance to grow into major employers, we will develop programs that speak directly to their needs for capital, for technology, and for entrepreneurial skills and expertise."
The broken record continues. More government involvement from Governor Ventura.
"Tourism is about having fun! However, for our Great State, it's also about the bottom line. At a return of $9 to every $1 invested, Minnesota's tourism industry deserves our support and leveraging. A lot of folks are paying attention to Minnesota, so why not capitalize on their curiosity, welcome them with open arms, and show them just why Minnesota is worth visiting and investing in.
Minnesota is truly unique in the Upper Midwest. With our wealth of recreational and cultural attractions, there's much to promote. From this month forward, Governor Ventura will deliver a "monthly Minnesota tourism message" ... that's 39 gubernatorial pronouncements of why the world should come to Minnesota!"
If the return is $9 for every $1 "invested", why does the government need to be involved at all? More Clintonspeak from Governor Ventura, government spending is an "investment."
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Page Updated: August 20, 2005
© Copyright 1998 - 2005 by Jim Rongstad. Permission to use is granted as long as author is acknowledged.