Skip to main content

Right vs. left in battle of economic theories in Minnesota, Wisconsin

  • Author:
  • Updated:

An opinion piece that ran in the Sunday edition of the New York Times is generating some buzz in Minnesota.

On a football-rivalries weekend when the Packers played the Vikings and the Gophers took on the Badgers, University of Minnesota political science professor Lawrence Jacobs penned a piece that conjured up a border battle between Minnesota and Wisconsin in an examination of economic theories.

In a nutshell, Jacobs pits the tax-the-rich policies of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton against the anti-tax, anti-union, less-government philosophy of Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the state's GOP-controlled Legislature.

Which state wins? Jacobs admits more time and data are needed, but he argues the Minnesota model is faring better, noting that the Gopher state is besting Wisconsin in areas that include job creation and economic growth.

"Higher taxes and economic growth in Minnesota have attracted a surprisingly broad coalition," Jacobs writes. He adds, "By contrast, Mr. Walker’s strategy limited Wisconsin’s ability to invest in infrastructure that would have catalyzed private-sector expansion, and he cut state funding of K-12 schools by more than 15 percent."

MinnPost's Eric Black calls the column a "must-read." Dems and liberal pundits trumpeted the article.

But conservative critics howled. The blog True North calls it the "perfect storm of the Times' liberal bias and Larry Jacobs' incoherence." It adds: Reading the Times is akin to playing Where's Waldo. Look really hard for the only relevant fact, and the meaning of the article will completely change. Here's the relevant fact about comparing Minnesota to Wisconsin, which Jacobs obfuscates: The legislatures of both states were controlled by Republicans from January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2013."

Next Up

Chet Holmgren

Chet Holmgren dominates in NBA Summer League debut

The No. 2 overall pick looked the part in the Thunder's win over the Jazz.

Reader-submitted video taken of people throwing fireworks at people and cars on July 4, 2022.

Frey: Police faced 'whack-a-mole' situation on chaotic Fourth of July

The mayor says law enforcement resources were being pulled all over the city as violent scenes unfolded.


Body recovered from Mississippi River near hydro plant in St. Paul

Authorities say the body appeared to have been in the river for months.

Braxton Sorenson

Charges: Lakeville driver didn't call 911 after fatally striking teen on bicycle

The 15-year-old boy was killed while riding his bike along a route he frequented.

Crystal Lake in Robbinsdale

Body found along shoreline of Crystal Lake

Police identified the body as a male Tuesday afternoon.


Little Falls man killed in ATV crash over holiday weekend

The 55-year-old apparently lost control and was partially ejected from the vehicle on Sunday.

Ellie Ragin

Police chief reveals new details in 'heartbreaking' search for Elle Ragin

Police reveal new details that led investigators to Stearns County.

Subway Series new menu

Subway overhauling menu, offering 1M free subs on July 12

The "Subway Series" menu change is set to take over beginning July 12.

Reader-submitted video taken of people throwing fireworks at people and cars on July 4, 2022.

Watch: Fireworks fired at people, buildings in downtown Minneapolis

Footage shared widely on social media shows chaotic scenes downtown on Fourth of July evening.

Ellie Ragin

Search for missing Elle Ragin shifts to park in Stearns County

Mississippi River County Park is closed to the public until further notice.

storm, severe weather, derecho

Developing derecho likely to blast southwest Minnesota

Damaging winds up to 90 mph are the main threat.

Screen Shot 2022-07-05 at 12.29.03 PM

Two Minneapolis restaurants announce closures

It's the end of the line for Pie & Mighty and Bunny's Bar & Grill.