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Jesse Ventura on Budget & Economy

Former Independent MN Governor


Government is no bottomless pit of money-it’s from you & me

We have more to worry about from the folks on the Left, the “undeclared socialists,” who think you solve every social problem by throwing money at it. There’s no way this group is anywhere near the threat that the Right wants you to believe they are, but they do advance a policy that we need to steer clear of. The government is not a bottomless pit of wealth. Where do you think every penny of government money comes from? The taxpayers. You and me.
Source: Do I Stand Alone, by Jesse Ventura, p. 52 Jul 2, 2000

End pork-barrel spending; return surplus to the people

I decided to run for governor because I got mad. In 1997, the State of Minnesota had a budget surplus of more then $4 billion. The voters wanted that surplus returned to them because, in their opinion, they’d been overcharged. But Minnesota legislators chose to ignore the wishes of the people and instead dreamed up all kinds of pork-barrel projects to make themselves look good when reelection time came. Some of that surplus money was bonded to pay for high-profile projects that the people didn’t want. As a result, our children are going to have to assume the payments on the out-of-date convention centers and sports facilities these politicians built to help themselves get reelected. Is that how we show our children we care for them? Is that the kind of public servants the voters really want?

I want to make government more directly accountable to the people.

Source: Ain’t Got Time to Bleed, p. 8-9 Jan 1, 1999

Return any budget surpluses to the taxpayers automatically

Wherever we have a surplus of revenue above what is needed to run the government, that money should be returned to the taxpayer. The utility companies do that, why can’t government? The Democrats always argue that as long as there’s tax money left over, we can always find good, worthy programs to spend it on. That’s true. But there’s another way to handle that: It’s called “No!” We can’t be looking for excuses to spend money just because we have it to spend. The bottom line is, if there’s any money le over, it should go back to the people who paid it. Plain and simple.

The “Keep it Simple” rule applies to how we send it back, too. The citizens don’t have time to watchdog the government; they’re busy working and raising families and trying to survive. We have to set up a refund mechanism that runs itself smoothly and efficiently. People should be able to trust that anything that’s left over will automatically come back to them.

Source: Ain’t Got Time To Bleed, p. 23-4 Jan 1, 1999

Government policy should facilitate business

Government policy should facilitate business. The more money businesses get to keep, the lower their costs will be, and the less they’ll need to look to government for help. Government’s role should be only to keep the playing field level, and to work hand in hand with business on issues such as employment. But beyond this, to as great an extent as possible, it should get the hell out of the way.

Businesses pay too much in taxes, just as individuals do. Businesses are overtaxed because government has taken over more functions than necessary. We need to figure out which services could be handled better by private sector. In the hands of the private sector, unlike government, competition will keep quality high and cost low. Once we’re left with only the services that government provides best, we can then figure out ways for it to perform those services as cost-effectively as possible.

Source: Ain’t Got Time To Bleed, p. 32 Jan 1, 1999

Let state meat inspection suffice for interstate shipments.

Ventura signed the Midwestern Governors' Conference resolution:

Source: Resolution of Midwestern Governors' Conf. on Meat Inspection 00-MGC3 on Jul 25, 2000

Bankruptcy reform: limit Chapter 7; protect states' role.

Ventura adopted the National Governors Association policy:

    The Governors are particularly concerned that bankruptcy reform legislation address the following issues:
  1. Prevent Chapter 7 Use by Those with the Ability to Pay: Present bankruptcy law does not prevent use of Chapter 7 by those with ability to repay, nor does it require that debtors use Chapter 13, which would require them to repay creditors what the debtor can afford. The Governors strongly support federal efforts to prevent debtors from using Chapter 7 when they are financially able to pay some or all of their unsecured debts.
  2. Encourage Payment of Domestic Support Obligations: Bankruptcy interferes significantly with states’ ability to assist citizens owed domestic support and to collect unpaid domestic support owed them. The Governors strongly encourage Congress to ensure that any federal bankruptcy reform requires that domestic support obligations have the highest possible repayment priority, that all domestic support obligations be nondischargeable, and that commencement of bankruptcy not prevent the continued collection of child and other support obligations.
  3. Give State Claims Parity with Federal Claims in Bankruptcy: Today, bankruptcy rightly gives certain preferences in payment to federal claims against the bankruptcy estate, but similar treatment is not always accorded state claims. The Governors strongly support congressional efforts to reform the treatment of state claims in bankruptcy to provide parity of treatment with federal claims.
  4. Protect the State Role: The Governors oppose efforts to preempt state authority to determine exemptions under state bankruptcy law. Currently, debtors have a right to choose between federal and state exemptions. The Governors support efforts to shape bankruptcy reform policy that protects the rights of states to determine their own standards instead of having uniform federal regulations imposed without regard for individual state needs.
Source: NGA Economic Development Policy EDC-21: Bankruptcy Reform 01-NGA2 on Feb 15, 2001

Uphold commitments to states before other spending.

Ventura adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The major budget issue will be over the surplus and how big of a surplus there will be. How much will be dedicated to paying down the national debt, how much to tax cuts, how much to increase defense spending, what to do about key discretionary spending programs, and whether and how to change key entitlement programs, such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security? How these decisions are made could have significant impacts on the federal-state partnership, especially as they affect vital health and human services programs. What will happen to funding for priority state domestic discretionary programs for the federal fiscal year? When will Congress act?

NGA’s Position

Before considering new spending initiatives or tax cuts, the federal government must first uphold its current commitments to the states.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA8 on Sep 14, 2001

Foster dairy production that is market driven.

Ventura signed the Midwestern Governors' Conference resolution:

Source: Resolution of Midwestern Governors' Conf. on Dairy Reform 98-MGC1 on Feb 24, 1998

Other candidates on Budget & Economy: Jesse Ventura on other issues:
MN Gubernatorial:
Tim Pawlenty
MN Senatorial:
Al Franken
Amy Klobuchar
Dean Barkley
James Niemackl
Michael Cavlan
Norm Coleman


2008 Senate retirements:

Wayne Allard(R,CO)
Larry Craig(R,ID)
Pete Domenici(R,NM)
Chuck Hagel(R,NE)
Trent Lott(R,MS)
Craig Thomas(R,WY)
John Warner(R,VA)

Incoming Obama Administration:

Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
State:Hillary Clinton
HHS:Tom Daschle
Staff:Rahm Emanuel
DHS:Janet Napolitano
DOC:Bill Richardson
DoD:Robert Gates
A.G.:Eric Holder
Treas.:Tim Geithner
Winners of 2008 Senate Races:
( * if new to the Senate)
AK:*Begich over Stevens
AL:Sessions
AR:Pryor
CO:*Udall
DE:Biden and Kaufman
GA:Chambliss v.Martin (Dec. 2 runoff)
IA:Harkin
ID:*Risch
IL:Durbin
KS:Roberts
KY:McConnell
LA:Landrieu
MA:Kerry
ME:Collins
MI:Levin
MN:Coleman v.Franken (recounting as of Dec.1)
MS4:Wicker
MS6:Cochran
MT:Baucus
NC:*Hagan over Dole
NE:*Johanns
NH:*Shaheen over Sununu
NJ:Lautenberg
NM:*Udall
OK:Inhofe
OR:*Merkley over Smith
RI:Reed
SC:Graham
SD:Johnson
TN:Alexander
TX:Cornyn
VA:*Warner
WV:Rockefeller
WY4:Barrasso
WY6:Enzi
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Page last updated: Dec 02, 2008