Hypocrisy discernment: Kurt Daudt

MPR has spotted Kurt Daudt as a “government should live within in its means Republican” not living within his means.  The implied meaning is A) Daudt is a hypocrite! B) “government should live within its means” is an illegitimate political philosophy

http://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/03/08/minnesota-house-speaker-daudt-debt-problems

A) The hypocrisy discernment:

Is Daudt living too well: his house(s)

Daudt’s Zimmerman farm looks like a hovel, to be charitable.  BTW If he’s behind on real estate taxes for the hovel, it may not have a mortgage (…which would escrow funds to pay real estate taxes and then disburse them, obviating a potential to be behind on real estate taxes…).  And you go to his website, and you see it told that his farmstead has been in the family for multiple generations.  IE, It’s free and clear, and by definition a free and clear property is by definition not living too well.  The cabin his mother is living in has a mortgage, and Daudt pays that it seems.  It looks cozy, but small.  IE, small mortgage with manageable payment.  No word he’s in arrears there.  You wouldn’t do that to mom no doubt.

Is Daudt living too well: his credit card debt(s).  Looks like creditors pursued judgments of $1k, $2k, and $9k +.  That isn’t nothing, but it’s kind of modest as far as debts go.

Daudt as a shirker of taxes:  We’re talking real estate taxes, and he’s behind on taxes for the shithole in Zimmerman.  Note prior point on mortgage real estate tax escrow, he’s only able to be behind on real estate taxes by virtue of having little or no mortgage on the property itself, which is actually an indicator of prudence and thrift.  I’m confused by what the story notes as the amount due.  Ostensibly these parcels bill $2000 or less each, and he had a balance outstanding of ….$68.  Qualitatively, his failure to pay this balance might as well be an oversight.  It’s a non-story, not an indicator of a character flaw.

Is Daudt living ‘beyond his means”:  His legislative salary is $31k, he gets a leadership stipend of $12k, and if those guys are aggressive with their per diem tallies they can take what, another $20k?  He’s making $65k, of which as little as $40k might be paycheck deposits.  That ain’t much, and his bills obviously outstrip it, but as we have reviewed they are for normal things that are not profligate.

Verdict:  He’s juggling some bills, and prioritizing mom’s house payment at the expense of other things.  He’s a skilled person capable of earning enough money to pay his bills in an orderly fashion, but he’s taken a job that is superficially important but does not pay very well monetarily. In his role there he’s rolling up some expenses on the rubber chicken dinner circuit that he’s hard pressed to pay timely.  Probably has equity in his land, but can’t or won’t access it for cash, so things have lingered and creditors have sent in nasty letters and scheduled court.

As a matter or wisdom I question earning less than you are capable so that you can be on a mission to save the world, but he’s not a hypocrite.

B) Is ‘government should live within its means” invalidated.

I don’t see how someone could think it would be.  Minnesota lives within its means, BTW.  The state is obligated to maintain something of a balanced budget.  The Daudt-ian perspective is that state spending has to be reigned so that there is not a necessity for higher taxes, taxes which are ya know onerous to those with limited ability to pay them.  Which includes Daudt.  He ain’t poor, but his expense situation is not abnormal and if his taxes had to go up he’d feel it.

Anyway, ‘government should live within its means” is not invalidated by this story.

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2 thoughts on “Hypocrisy discernment: Kurt Daudt

  1. pm1956

    My biggest take away from this story is that legislative salaries should go up. Bottom line, you get what you pay for. We want good legislators, therefore we should pay for them.

    I have spent a lot of time dealing with legislators, and there are not enough good ones out there. Daudt is definitely above average. I also thought that Kurt Zellers was a pretty smart guy, as was Steve Sviggum–all GOP speakers. but the problem is that there are not enough good, smart ones behind them.

    Reply

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