Minnesota has closed — is the U.S. next?

That which now threatens the entire United States, has already happened in Minnesota.

The State closed its institutions on July 1, in the middle of tourist season, after the Democratic governor Mark Dayton and the State Legislature, controlled by Republicans, failed to agree on a budget.

What has happened to good old Minnesota, the most Scandinavian in all of America?

“Search America from sea to sea and you will not find a state that has offered as a close a model to the idea of a successful society as Minnesota,” wrote Neal R. Peirce and Jerry Hagstrom once in their excellent The Book of America.

Today, the situation is unfortunately another. Two of the leading and most conservative Republican presidential candidate, Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty, both come from Minnesota. Republicans control both houses of its Congress. The old progressive political tradition, personified by Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale,  is a distant memory. Mondale and former Republican Governor Arne Carlson’s attempt to mediate in the current crisis has been in vain.

Minnesota’s future is at stake, says Governor of Dayton in a speech, reproduced on the Daily Kos. And the local newspaper Winona Daily News blames the Republicans who say no to everything, especially to all proposals about raising the taxes, even for those earning over a million dollars a year.

Sounds familiar?

Yes, the same battle goes on here in Washington, between a Democratic President and a House of Representative dominated by the Republicans, who have so far rejected all proposals on closing tax loopholes or raising taxes for the wealthy down the line. This ‘no’ has until now put an end to all of President Obama’s attempts to find a balanced compromise to today’s severe economic crisis.

On August 2, the United States may be forced to close and after daily but fruitless negotiations since last Sunday, pessimism is rising. All parties still proclaim that no one wants America to default on its debt, but the road ahead is still long and difficult, and the outcome is still highly uncertain.


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