MNGOP Sen. Hann says he's not convinced income equality is such a bad thing

DavidHann2.jpg
During a Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy hearing about income equality on Wednesday, Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, argued that achieving greater income equality by increasing taxes on the rich wouldn't make Minnesota a better place.

SEE ALSO: MNGOP Sen. David Hann says there wasn't enough talk about gay marriage bill

That's pretty standard Republican fare, but the ineloquent way he made his case came across as slightly callous and had Hann attempting to clarify himself after the Huffington Post picked up his comments in a report unflatteringly entitled, "GOP Lawmaker Not Convinced Income Inequality Is A 'Bad Thing.'"

Here's a transcript of the controversial portion of Hann's comments, followed by the video:
As a thought experiment, let's say we passed a policy in the state of Minnesota that said nobody could make more than $500,000 a year. I'm not suggesting we do that, but if we did that, it would certainly reduce the inequality gap, but all the people making over $500,000 a year would move out of state. And what would happen to the revenues to the state if we did that? I don't think that would be a positive thing to the state of Minnesota to have that kind of policy on any level...

It's clearly the point that there's bad things about inequality, and yet, I'm not so sure... that that is a bad thing.


In a statement released to the HuffPo, Hann attempted to quell any blowback stemming from his remarks. Here's what he said:
The point of my comment was to focus on increasing the quality of life for those with the least; not on the gap. Everyone can agree that hardworking Minnesota families aren't making enough money.

In fact, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, 49% of Minnesotans are either unemployed or underemployed. The honest answer to that problem is to grow jobs with higher income and increased purchasing power for families. Unfortunately, Democrats and Governor Dayton focus on wasteful and inefficient spending on a new $90 million office building, welfare for politician's campaign accounts, and voting to raise their own pay.
Hann has a well-earned reputation as an outspoken critic of how the state spends tax dollars. For instance, last year, he blasted the Dayton administration for paying $80,000 annually for a communications director and $103,388 on the salary of the health insurance exchange's executive director.

Actually, given recent developments, we've gotta admit Hann was probably on to something with his criticism regarding the MNsure director.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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53 comments
Jesse Spalding
Jesse Spalding

How about lower the taxes on the middle class, and reduce tax loopholes for the rich and so-called "non-profit" superPACs and organizations.

Chris Porto
Chris Porto

i think there is a typo in that headline.

InequalityForever
InequalityForever

Oh, boy, "income inequality" again. Do any of you who are bandying this ludicrous and vague term around even do a minute of serious thinking about it? Try just this one, simple thought experiment: Jack and John both get their Weekly Egalitarian Equalized Paycheck (WEEP) of $432.16, because incomes should be equal. However, Jack is a dope and wastes his money on lotto tickets, while John saves his money. Within a short time, gross inequality will result! Unfair! Now we need to control how much people can save, spend, share, or invest so that no one ends up with more money than anyone else. Perhaps assigning a combination police/revenue office to every household would work.


Fact is, "inequality" is part of life. People are different, and will accomplish different things based on scads of variables and influences. Income is just one measure -- another thought experiment: In addition to what you learned about their WEEP funds, there are other things about Jack and John that tend toward inequality. Jack is wasteful with money, but doesn't want much, has no ambition, is a good-looking 20-something with lots of girlfriends, and enjoys life on the dole. John, on the other hand, is fat, smelly, and socially inept, but reads all the time, saves his money, does programming work on the side (although he's been arrested various times for "freelance earning"). How are you going to equalize the non-monetary inequalities? Doesn't John have a "right" to a good relationship with an attractive and talented woman?

Unfair!

Erika Frankel
Erika Frankel

How is asking the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes a bad thing? Why is it that the GOP/TP supporting people cannot look at the CBO website and see that since W citizens have been paying the lowest tax rate in decades? I suppose I will get blasted as a lazy democrat with my hand out, since conservatives cannot fathom those that make a lot of money may want things more equal (cue the "well you can send the IRS extra money if you want" comments) my husband and I paid $40,000 in personal income tax last year, so yes we do our part (that does not include our property taxes or payroll taxes, we do not own a business).

really
really

The key to income equality is to create a thriving economy so that those with the ability, work ethic and grit can achieve a large slice of the pie. It is not to take money from one person and give it to someone else. EARN IT

Nathan Westergreen
Nathan Westergreen

When someone takes money from one person with the sole purpose of giving it to another we call that stealing... What the hell has happened to this country..?

ChazDanger
ChazDanger topcommenter

There has already been a distribution of wealth for the past 20+ years.  It's called "Trickle down economics" Until we fix the hole sinking our ship we will continue to see more people below the poverty level.  Simply leveling the playing field is all we are asking.

Nicole Schumacher
Nicole Schumacher

Well if they leave the state they will leave plenty of room for our flourishing small businesses so if they want to stomp off like toddlers when asked to fairly contribute to the community well then let them. Support your local businesses. Best sandwich shop certainly is not the chain anyway. Quality over quantity. Good riddance.

Zach Kern
Zach Kern

Of course he's from Eden Prarie.

LynniAnn
LynniAnn

What he is saying makes perfect sense.  He is not saying that poverty is not a bad thing, but rather people having different income levels is not necessarily a bad thing. You can still want to lift people put of poverty and also believe that its okay for some people to make more money than other people. 

barbertj23
barbertj23

"The point of my comment was to focus on increasing the quality of life for those with the least; not on the gap. Everyone can agree that hardworking Minnesota families aren't making enough money."

The biggest effect on the quality of life for those who have the least IS the gap. It isn't the case that everyone can just make more, there is only so much money in the system so increasing the quality of the underemployed and unemployed is by decreasing the gap.

How about a thought experiment.

There are only 12 cookies in the jar. Little Ray get's there first and therefore, should probably get a few more cookies than little Billy, so he takes 10 of them. Little Billy get's there second and he get's the other 2. Little Ray says to Billy: "I totally think you should have more cookies... but I don't want to give you any of mine"

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

I'm not surprised a fan of Kiss would be this dumb.  

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@WhiteMatt You are a bitter angry loser who sees a mother with her children and thinks "how fucking terrible."    You have no goodness in your heart.   I feel sorry you have such an ugly view of the world.  You are truly a terrible person and thank goodness normal people don't think like you.  

really
really

yeah the fucking cake eater! living in his $400k house and driving his $50 car!

barbertj23
barbertj23

@LynniAnn

I don't think anyone really believes that everyone should make the exact same amount of money. That's essentially this absurd cartoon version of what the liberal mindset is.

We just believe we're all in this together as far as economics is concerned, and we believe in a bottom up system rather than a top down.

really
really

@barbertj23 How about another thought experiment. There are only 12 cookies in a jar on a high shelf. One child claws and climbs his way onto the shelf and grabs 10 cookies. The can't reach other other two, so he continues to work out a way to get the remaining cookies. meanwhile the other kids are picking their noses and crying about not having any cookies even though they haven't done a fucking thing to deserve them. 

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

More shuffeling doesn't do anything to increase equality, it only increases distribution. Increase education and integrate people into the marketplace to achieve max earning power. Equality has never been gained by increasing class warfare.

ChazDanger
ChazDanger topcommenter

@WhiteMattYup that is why Oprah is the only black Billionaire ever in the United States.

really
really

@MicheleBachmann No, it's a fact that having kids at a young age (a common occurrence in the inner city) locks people into a cycle of poverty. 

ChazDanger
ChazDanger topcommenter

@really Wow, Can I get a source for your claims?  Didn't think so.  keep closing your eyes and shooting arrows. You're bound to hit something.

ChazDanger
ChazDanger topcommenter

@WhiteMatt Wow, way to take it to extremes.  What I am asking is for our government to stop giving gifts or catering to the wealthy and to large corporations.  Let's go back to the idea that anybody can be successful.  Right now, if you aren't born into wealth you have worse odds than winning a PGA Major. 


Socialism. Ha! You're just as much of a leach as everybody else.  Check your ego, it's going to hurt you.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@WhiteMatt @ChazDanger Socialism is a widely used form of government that has been successful.   All the richest countries on Earth are Socialist.   This includes the United States with Socialist programs like public education, Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, and the military.  

LynniAnn
LynniAnn

@ChazDanger

Learn what socialism is: a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies . It doesn't sound like anyone here is advocating that.

Hyperbole isn't sexy.

senatortombstone
senatortombstone

Then why can't liberals simply say what they mean, instead of resorting to emotionally manipulative, mis-leading, and easily charicuturable rhetoric.

And there is no such thing as bottom up or top down economics. Economics the allocation of scarce resources which have alternative uses. Capitalism, communism, their derivatives, and their hybrids are merely different means of scarse resource allocation.

barbertj23
barbertj23

@mingtran 

Big fan of increasing education and integrating people into the marketplace, but I'm confused how increasing distribution doesn't increase equality?

It's also not my intent to engage in class warfare so much as I prefer to call out errors across the whole range of classes.

really
really

@ChazDanger @WhiteMatt I think if you bothered to do the math you would find that as far as billionaires go, one black billionaire is statistically impressive. 

ChazDanger
ChazDanger topcommenter

@WhiteMatt Billionaire, not millionaire. Billionaire means that you kid's kids will have wealth.  Millionaires are a dime a dozen, in fact they are not considered the top 1%.


I really like how you try to put words in my mouth. "According to you"  

So according to you Oprah is the only black person that chose to be a hard worker?  

You can't see the inequalities because you are in your own little suburban box. 


If you taxed the rich for 100% you would have enough to pay for all the social services.  That would equate, on the low side, to $5 Trillion per year. 

really
really

@ChazDanger @really @MicheleBachmann I live and work in minneapolis, and some folks mos def be havin babies too young. that you would even argue shows how clouded your thinking is. Too dumb to accept the truth even when it's as plain as the nose on your face. 


ChazDanger
ChazDanger topcommenter

@really Ha!  Hiding behind your username.  You're being real constructive. Sling mud to make yourself feel better. You seem like a treat to be around.  

I still think you have the right to your opinion, but spreading hate and cutting down others makes you look like you know nothing, even though you have presented no cognitive thought which already helps the rest of us to picture the kind of person you are.  Even though you think you can hide behind a username, we still know who you are. 

Good luck to you, this world can be difficult but people like you send us back decades of working together.

really
really

@ChazDanger "a source for your claims" Absolutely. Look in the mirror. See how you're a loser? 

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

You hate gov's catering to large corporations so you support Obamacare, one of the largest marriages of gov/corps ever. You obviously don't know how the Federal Reserve operates since you hate gov's catering to large corporations. So basically you only don't hate government catering to large corporations when it's Obamacare or the Federal Reserve. Got it. Are there any other times when it's okay to you, or just those two?

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Show us some hard facts about bin laden. For all you know, he was just a prop, an Arabic face themedia called "bin laden". And where did his body and any documentation of his supposed death go? In the ocean they say!

You're probably mormon.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@WhiteMatt  "Osama Bin Laden is dead"  ha ha ha ha ha No thanks to idiot obstuctionist Republicans like you.   Bin Laden murdered 3000 and some Americans on 9/11 and Bush let him go free in Tora Bora.  Obama didn't even need his 2nd term to kill Bin Laden.  How do you like those facts stupid?  

LynniAnn
LynniAnn

@WhiteMatt

The following is a direct quote and not a lie:

“We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don't want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realize their full potential.”

--Barack Obama, February 2005

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@senatortombstone Liberals are very honest about economics and taxes.  Republicans are the liars.  Know how I know that is true?    Remember Governor Fee?   Remember Tim Pawlenty saying raising fees wasn't the same was raising taxes?    Can you cite a similar example from the Democrats?  

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

Stupid people like MB have nothing but rhetoric to fall back on. You're tired, and you never win.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

As taxpayers taxes are increased, they need to gain education, work more hours or start their own business to maintain that same lifestyle they had before tax increase.

As freeloaders get more for doing even less, they have even more time to waste which creates crime/depravity.

Taxpayers are forced to get better, while freeloaders are forced to get worse. That gap will widen forever, or for as long ax that system remains intact. You call that equality? Stop messin around.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@barbertj23 Stupid people like ming say class warfare because Fox News programs it into their brains.   

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