Minnesota Stupidity

As you probably know, Minnesota is in the midst of a government shutdown due to lack of a budget.  My daughter is doing a project for me putting together the names and contact information for all 50 state parks directors.  It turns out the MN parks web site is shut down.

LOL.  I am the only one in my company with access to or capable of updating our web site, but I can go away for weeks, even months, and have the web site stay up.  This strikes me as either stupid, or a gratuitous effort to purposely make the shutdown more dramatic than it needs to be.

To the latter point, our company operates many Federal parks.   Since we take no money from the government and use no government personell in doing so, the parks we operate typically stay open in a Federal shut down.  Except for the last threatened shut down several months ago, when our contract managers seemed to be getting guidance from their higher ups in the administration to shut the parks down, even when they did not need to be.  I presume this was for the purpose of making the shut down seem worse to the public.  After all, we would hate to have a government shut down and have nobody notice.

It will be interesting come about August 2 to see if we remain open.

  • http://www.tarheelred.wordpress.com pino

    My daughter is doing a project for me putting together the names and contact information for all 50 state parks directors.

    Don't tell anyone that she is working for you! You'll have to report her income.

    It turns out the MN parks web site is shut down.

    I assume they put a "Minnesota Nice" message explaining why they were down?

  • Matt

    The web is replete with stories from residents and travellers about the often-extravagant extent to which extra money was spent just to shut things down and inconvenience citizens, when simply doing the obvious thing (send all the workers home, and don't spend anything) would have obviously given a better outcome.

  • aczarnowski

    The grandstanding around these parts is really disturbing my calm. I wouldn't even know the state was shut down but for the headlines I see as I pass by a newspaper and the damn busy bodies petitioning my neighborhood. And the fact that eventually I'll need an electrical permit for our back porch project.

  • GoneWithTheWind

    What is really stupid about this is that everyone who did not show up for work or was told not to show up for work will be paid as though they did work through the shutdown. Hell, if we are going to have a government shutdown at least the taxpayer should not have to pay the salaries of government workers who aren't working.

  • Ted Rado

    Whoopie! If all governments shut down for ten years it would be a blessing. They fritter away our money, mainly to harrass us with all sorts of intrusive rules and regs.

  • Bill

    They are simply following a model honed and refined by California Politicians since taxpayers passed Proposition 13. It's a game of trying to find things to cut that cause the most inconvenience to those nasty folks that object to having their pockets emptied by a bloated and inefficient government.

    I would note in passing that California is considering a bill to outsource management of some of the parks that Jerry and the Democrats are closing, but only to "non-profit" entities, so evil capitalists like Warren are out of luck. And that, despite the fact that service levels at MacArthur-Burney Falls State Park (which Warren manages) is head and shoulders above the other parks in the system in terms of quality of services.

  • Mark

    I am a resident of MN and things were done on purpose to make it inconvenient to the citizens during the shutdown. What probably turned the tables was that the physical stock of beer was dwindling down (because of licensing) and that made the politicians really nervous.

  • Hasdrubal

    What made it really obvious was that they shut down all the revenue generators: Can't buy lottery tickets, can't buy a fishing license, can't buy (or sell) beer...

    It's not just the politicians who are noticing. Non political and even liberals at work have taken note of how silly or cynical the shutdown is.

  • Mr. M

    ahahhaha,
    I was reading "past favorites" 60's seconds refutation of socialism, wrote back in 2004... how strange, when "fiat money ponzi scheme american capitalism" was the winner you'd find an army of anti-socialist advocates... and now, Marx's prediction of how "capitalism will eventually make the rope with which it will hang itself" has come abruptly true - read collapse of USA - where are these armies?
    May be fighting for a shelter and a piece of bread?
    We will see.
    Mr. M

  • John Moore

    Unless the executive branch of a government expects to take the blame, they will shut down the most visible and important services they can get away with.

    But plain old stupidity and bureaucratic weirdness gets involved also. When Arizona cut back on work hours for state staff, a professor friend at ASU was *forbidden* from going to his office or even using his email - on the days he wasn't supposed to be working. Pure idiocy.

  • Mr. M

    By the way, fellow americans, I'm writing from Europe.
    A shutdown here would be a crime.
    Mr. M

  • marco73

    The Minnesota shutdown just did the "Washington Monument scenario" a one up. Close down the most visible and aggravating government services.
    Apparently the straw that broke the camel's back was that alcohol was running out in some stores. The government folks who issue licenses are not working, but the license enforcement folks were on the job. With expired licenses, stores could no longer legally purchase alcohol from wholesalers. As soon as the Minnesota citizenry got wind of that, the governor's goose was cooked, and he had to settle.
    When we have the federal shutdown on August 2 (yes, they are stupid enough to shut the federal government down) the administration is going to have to review with a fine tooth comb what is essential and what is not. The law of unintended consequences will come back to bite the administration with a vengence.

  • Allen

    Sorry to see you run into the same issue. I was poking around for info on iron ore mining in SE Minnesota (yes, southeast Minnesota ) and had the same issue with the DNR web site.

    Personally, I think the alcohol theory is entertaining but plaid no part in things finally turning around. The biggest influence on an agreement being reached was that the politicians realized they could borrow money against future expected tobacco settlement money, something that has already shown to be less than projected, and say they've fixed the problem.

    That's right, MN is "balancing" the budget by borrowing money + paying interest on money they don't have but claim they will in the future. Both parties have yet again punted the problem down the road.

  • frankania

    A "20 minute shutdown" occurred a few years ago, when my wife, a Mexican citizen, was entering the USA with me (a US citizen) in Brownsville,Texas.
    She waited a half hour or so for her paperwork to be done, and then was told to pay the $6 fee at the cashiers window.

    On the window was a sign "EXACT CHANGE ONLY" and another sign saying "on break" Well after 15 minutes of standing there, I asked the guy in charge, why we couldn't pay and be on our way.

    He said that the cashier was on break--didn't I think that workers should get a break? I answered, "well, in any convenience store, you can buy ANYTHING at ANYTIME and pay, get your change and walk out.
    Why can't the US govt. arrange such a thing? Don't you see the 30 or 40 people here waiting to give you money?????"

    There is no hope. Where oh where will the libertarians go and start their own country? I will be the first to immigrate.

  • IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society

    >>> This strikes me as either stupid, or a gratuitous effort to purposely make the shutdown more dramatic than it needs to be.

    I believe this is one of those glaringly obvious exceptions to the "malice or stupidity, go with stupidity" rule.

    >>> And the fact that eventually I’ll need an electrical permit for our back porch project.

    Are ya sure? 'cause, you know, if they stay shut down for the right length of time, that might be a moot thing.

  • caseyboy

    What can you say about a state that elected Jesse Ventura, Governor and Al Franken to the Senate? Can you take anything they do seriously?

  • http://www.jameshowephotography.com James Howe

    This episode (and similar episodes with other government budget 'cutbacks') just demonstrates the inverted incentives when government provides 'services'. If a private business were having budget issues, they would try whatever they could to keep serving their customers. With government it's just the opposite. They will try to make sure their 'customers' are inconvenienced as much as possible. Simply look at education. When cuts to education are proposed the first things that are threatened for termination are teachers, not administrators or other processes that may not be necessary.

  • markm

    "caseyboy:

    What can you say about a state that elected Jesse Ventura, Governor and Al Franken to the Senate?"

    That they won't be surprised when a politician turns out to be a clown?