Economy: Franken said the economy is "top down" and "rigged" in favor of the wealthy. He said he has been focusing on getting young people trained to fill available jobs. He said students should be able to refinance their student loans and called for an increase to the minimum wage.
McFadden said that under Obama and Franken, the U.S. has had the slowest rebound from a recession in its history and the federal debt has soared. He said he has a plan to get the economy back on track, consisting of three "E's"--energy and mining, education and effective government.
Abeler: Strongly Agree
Question topic: Briefly list political or legislative issues of most concern to you.
Abeler: Debt & deficit: we must live within our means, and cannot rely on borrowing. That places our sovereignity at risk.
Abeler said the $17 trillion national deficit, and massive debt to foreign countries, are issues that national legislators will need to contend with. "If we don't get that under control, it will consume us," he said.
Abeler said his past legislative experiences would help in trying to find a solution. When Minnesota was faced with a $6 billion state deficit in 2011, Abeler led the committee that found a way to cut $3.8 billion in human services spending through permanent reductions. Cuts were made carefully to avoid harming the people who receive state services, he said. As a measure of the bill's success, he noted that Gov. Mark Dayton has kept the reductions in place.
A: We're looking at close to $17 trillion in debt now. It represents almost 80% of our GDP, and that's problematic. As it comes to debt ceiling negotiations, I would be front and center in any part of those negotiations, and I think what needs to be measured is, on one hand, we need to provide some fiscal constraint in terms of government spending. We've been spending like a drunken sailor and we have to stop that. That's got to be measured against what that does to our credit in the world market for borrowing money if we violate our debt covenants.
Where do we want Minnesota to be in a year, or in a decade? We will not agree on every aspect. However, if we can discover our shared goals, perhaps we will find greater accord on how best to achieve them. We can also better assess whether the path we're now on will lead us to them.
“If we don’t take advantage of this budget surplus at the federal and state level, which always comes to an end, as economic cycles always do, to improve the quality of public education, to help seniors pay for their prescription medicines; if we don’t do it now, I fear for the future of this country, especially when we fall in more difficult times,” Dayton said.
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