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Erik Paulsen

Donald_TrumpThe article also has plenty about Minnesota GOPers in general who aren’t thrilled. A last-ditch effort to deny Donald Trump the nomination failed on Monday, though. Not without plenty of action.
 

Among Minnesota Republicans, Congressmen John Kline and Erik Paulsen are staying home. Aides to both note neither went to the national convention four years ago either.
 
Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt will be there as a Rubio delegate.
 
6th District Representative Tom Emmer is headed to Cleveland, too.
(MPR)

Minnesota’s prominent no-shows do have plenty of company. And Stewart Mills III, the Republican trying to defeat Rep. Rick Nolan in MN-08, isn’t there, either.
 

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paulsen2(You can help out the Democratic candidate, Terri Bonoff, here.)

 

Now Paulsen, the recipient of more than $500,000 in donations from the (medical device) industry, has thrown his wealthy handlers another bone. He cast a vote for a bill that would allow tax-exempt groups from ever having to reveal its donors — even to the federal government.
 
In other words, shill organizations masquerading as nonprofits like the Medical Device Innovation Consortium could spend gobs of money on mailers and TV commercials come election time, and nobody would be wiser as to who’s behind the cause or why.
(City Pages)

Paulsen’s A grade has been dutifully earned as well. Over an 18-month period, Paulsen voted 13 times to block efforts to bring a gun safety measure to the House floor.
 
Nicknamed “No Fly, No Buy,” the proposal would ban suspected terrorists on the FBI’s terror watch list from being able to buy guns. It seeks to close the loophole for people who the FBI has determined should not be on a plane, but can still legally purchase firearms.
(City Pages)

Too many people in Paulsen’s “moderate” district just sort of reflexively vote for him, unaware of what a farce his contrived “moderate” image is. It’s time to send this right-winger packing.
 
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MN-03: Long past time for a change

by Dan Burns on May 2, 2016 · 1 comment

bonoffAs you undoubtedly know by now, Minnesota state Sen. Terri Bonoff is Rep. Erik Paulsen’s opponent. You can help Terri out here. Paulsen’s minions are already running a pretty iffy attack campaign.

 

Electorally, Paulsen’s biggest weakness (of many) is in my estimation his lack of accomplishment on behalf of all but the extremely wealthy. But if pointing that out was enough to get rid of Republican House members in swing districts, they would all be long gone. What can do the job is turnout, and unusual circumstances – like a loudly and proudly bigoted, misogynistic lunatic at the top of the party’s ticket.
 
Presumably thanks in part to Paulsen’s only legislative “accomplishment” of note – a hiatus in the ACA medical device tax – 2016 is being termed the year of “merger mania” in that industry. When all is said and done this sort of thing tends to result in job losses. I haven’t found any evidence for that on a large scale, yet, though I didn’t exactly spend all day looking. We’ll find out.
 
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MN-03: Strib goes after Paulsen?!?!

by Dan Burns on April 4, 2016 · 1 comment

paulsen2I put all that extra punctuation in the title because something like this – an article critical of a Minnesota Republican in Congress – is not a common sight, in this widely-read corporate media outlet, to say the least.
 

Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen and his family members have taken more than $75,000 in free, mostly international travel since 2013, all paid for by outside groups.
 
Just a few weeks ago, Paulsen took his adult daughter, Cassandra, to Nairobi, Kenya, at a total cost of $27,357 for the week, the tab picked up by World Vision and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The trip was billed as a chance to provide “direct insight on how U.S. investments are working to improve global health.”
 
It was the single costliest trip a member of Congress has taken this year at the expense of an outside group, according to LegiStorm, a nonpartisan group that compiles information on members of Congress and their staffs.
 
The travel is legal and allowed by federal ethics rules, but it has drawn criticism from government watchdog groups as these organizations try to gain influence in Washington. Such organizations can pay for the travel of members, their staff and family so long as they don’t employ lobbyists and they report the costs, agendas and details of each trip to the Committee on Ethics.
(Star Tribune)

To be fair, the Strib doesn’t often go after Minnesota Democrats in Congress, either, though I suspect that some in senior management and elsewhere would dearly love to be more aggressive in that regard, especially concerning Sen. Al Franken and Rep. Keith Ellison. The guiding mantra seems to mostly be “offend no one.”
 
Despite a carefully contrived image that a whole lot of media outlets (in addition to, usually, the Strib) help to perpetuate, Paulsen is neither a “moderate,” nor a righteously devoted public servant indifferent to his own self-interest. Quite the contrary, on both counts. Jon Tollefson is a DFL candidate. You can help him out here.
 

And here’s a little something more about Rep. Paulsen: “Paulsen Pushing HSAs and FSAs While Voting Against Protecting Consumers From Price-gouging.”
 
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MN-03: DFLer Tollefson enters race

by Dan Burns on February 1, 2016 · 0 comments

tollefsonGood deal.
 

After his experience abroad, Jon returned home to Minnesota to advance local economic and health policy issues, working for the Minnesota High Tech Association and now the Minnesota Nurses Association.
 
Jon Tollefson is running to bring the true values of Minnesotans to Washington: real fiscal responsibility, investments in education and transportation that lead to jobs and economic growth, and affordable access to health care for all. Jon wants to fight to create a better government, one that actually functions for the people it represents.
(Jon Tollefson for Congress)

I and undoubtedly others will have plenty more to say about why the incumbent, Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), very, very badly needs to be the incumbent no longer, as of next January. For now, this:
 

Reviewing Erik Paulsen’s fourth quarter fundraising report, is very telling … telling that he is the consummate Washington insider … including $405,261 from Political Action Committees and big donors and only $2,133 from small donors.
 
Yep, that’s right the Medical Device Manufacturers PAC gave more money to his re-election campaign with one check, than all small donors combined !
(MN Political Roundtable)

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MN-03: To my infinite disgust, Paulsen wins one

by Dan Burns on December 16, 2015 · 2 comments

paulsen2Pisses me off!
 

A federal budget proposal brought good news Wednesday for Minnesota’s medical device companies by freezing for two years a tax on products like pacemakers and ventilators that they have long opposed.
 
The package of tax cuts and spending cued up for final votes in Congress this week would suspend the 2.3 percent excise tax on those devices, ultrasound machines and more that took effect in 2013 as part of the funding mechanism for President Barack Obama’s health care law…
 
Though the budget deal stops short of the full repeal he and others have sought, Rep. Erik Paulsen said the wide-ranging support for the freeze — including the White House’s blessing — shows “that we can get this across the finish line for permanent repeal.”
(MPR)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If Big Device really wants to improve its already ample profiteering, its best bet should not be to look for more corporate welfare. It should instead focus on improving its uneven, to say the least, record of product development and reliability.
 
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paulsenWith the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act now on its strongest possible legal footing – that is, clearly here to stay – it’s impossible to regard Rep. Erik Paulsen’s (R-MN) continued efforts to repeal, and “refund,” the Device Tax as anything but quixotic. Arguably, ridiculously so. But he’s not facing the facts on this, and neither are far too many in Congress. (Update: The refund part was dropped in committee. It could rear its ugly head again.)
 

Yep, job losses are actually job gains (would you believe 49,454 jobs) … R&D spending is unaffected … CEO pay is unaffected … acquisitions and mergers are picking up … but some in Congress believe that the Medical Device Excise Tax must be repealed!
(MN Political Roundtable)

They even went ahead and wasted everyone’s time with a repeal vote in the House, a few weeks ago, which since it didn’t really matter attracted enough Democrats to theoretically override a veto. Which veto President Obama has made clear would be forthcoming, and he would have no trouble getting a few Dems to switch if it really came to an override. We know, albeit in the unfortunate context of TPP fast-track, that the guy can handle Congress when the chips are down.
 

With plenty of seniority by now, Paulsen should be accomplishing far more, in reality-based terms, for his district, especially the rural part where a few more pork projects would certainly be welcome. But he’s never seemed all that interested in legitimate, real-world accomplishment, in Congress. Just marking time to that sweet lobbying gig.
 
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: Big Device would do far better to put the energies it’s spending in seeking an outrageous pile of corporate welfare, into improving its own erratic, to say the least, record of product development and reliability. They need to look in the mirror, because that’s where their real problems are.
 
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capitol2No surprises. Just wanted to get it on the record.
 
DFL Reps. Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, and Rick Nolan voted for the progressive People’s Budget, which happens to be in line with what solid majorities of Americans want. Because most Americans are frankly a good deal more reality-based and possessed of common sense, than are conservatives in office, and their advisers, propagandists, and so forth.
 

For the first time in five years, a majority of House Democrats backed the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ budget resolution alternative (on March 24). The caucus has 69 members, and 96 of the 188 Democrats voted in favor of its People’s Budget: A Raise for America. Last year, only 89 Democrats voted in favor of the caucus’ budget. This year the budget failed 330-96.
 
The vote was preceded by more than an hour of debate on several budget proposals, during which each Republican used their one or two minutes allotted time to hammer on debt and defense and taxes. Democrats focused on how the GOP proposal gives new tax breaks to the wealthy while hacking away at social programs, including educational Pell Grants and food stamps.
(Daily Kos)

Minnesota Republican Reps. John Kline, Erik Paulsen, and Tom Emmer voted for the astonishingly, and shamelessly, brutal GOP budget. All five of Minnesota’s House Democrats voted against it.

 
Studies with focus groups and so on have indicated that the reason Republicans don’t pay a much bigger political price for, for example, proposals to privatize and essentially destroy Medicare, is that people just honestly refuse to believe that they’re serious. It might help if our candidates hammered on it more, and explained it better. Many people learn by repetition.
 
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TennieldumdeeA look at what Rep. John Kline (R-MN) and Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) are up to, these days.
 

So when John Kline says “Let’s tell the country’s union leaders that we share your concerns and are prepared to do something about it”, he means it.
 
He does not mean that he will help workers … but he will work to strip healthcare from them. The unions wanted to expand healthcare coverage … Chairman Kline passionately disapproves. And at whose cost ?
 
The Congressional Budget Office (says the legislation Kline supports) would increase the federal deficit by $53 billion over 10 years, by pushing more workers into government-sponsored health coverage.
(MN Political Roundtable)

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. That’s clearly Erik Paulsen’s approach to undoing the medical device tax that’s part of the Affordable Care Act…
 
The industry has long complained the tax hurts innovation and leads to layoffs though the Washington Post’s fact-checker has disputed those claims, describing them as a “mischaracterization.”
 
The bill won’t just lower future tax bills for medical device companies. It retroactively eliminates the tax which would mean a refund for companies that have already paid it.
(MPR)

Paulsen didn’t get any high-profile promotions in the new Congress. I doubt that he wanted any. A lucrative lobbying sinecure with Big Device undoubtedly awaits him, whenever he wants it, though he will presumably be even more munificently rewarded if he really can get the device tax repealed or even reduced.
 
I’d be surprised if Paulsen leaves Congress in 2016; Democrats would have a real chance at an open seat in his district during a presidential year. 2018? Just speculation.
 

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What actually happened in 2014

by Eric Ferguson on December 30, 2014 · 0 comments

So a year ago, I risked making public predictions for 2014. It was mostly for fun, just to see what I could get right, either show off or get humbled depending, but I also wondered if I’d learn something about which thought processes are more useful than others.
 
Pardon the spoiler, but going from your gut is a bad idea. Maybe, strictly speaking, going from my gut is a bad idea, but I think my gut feeling is at least as good as anyone else’s, but that’s not all that good. Let’s say that looking at which predictions were based on knowledge, and which were a gut feeling, was a good predictor of which predictions would prove accurate.
 

So here is what will happen in 2014, judged by this grading system:
100% correct: Hello Nate Silver!
75%: Somebody’s been paying attention.
50%: Coin flipper.
25%: Should have stuck with the coin.
0%: Professional psychic. (if you’re a psychic, you might not find that humorous, but you should have seen it coming)

I give myself either a “coin flipper” plus, or a “somebody’s been paying attention” minus. What the heck, it’s still the holidays, so I’ll be nice to myself, and give an arguably inflated “somebody’s been paying attention”. So, prediction by prediction, here’s how I did.
 
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