20th Century, government, History, Intercession, Labor, Minnesota, Politics, Uncategorized, Unions

Olson Becomes Governor

Unknown

Jan 6, 1931
Floyd B. Olson takes office as the state’s 22nd governor. *

Governor Olson was many things to many people, but perhaps he is most known as the leader of the Farmer Labor Party. Why is this so critical to Minnesota, and our collective memory? After Olson’s victory, “the Farmer-Labor Party would emerge as the dominant political force in Minnesota. It became one of the country’s most successful third-party movements.” **

This famed reformer wore his Progressive Socialist agenda on his sleeve, and was happy to distinguish his movement from either Republican or Democratic thought previously known in the North Star state. He clearly advocated for the minimum wage. As a former Industrial Workers of the World unionist, he proudly supported trade unions and their most prized reform; collective bargaining. To properly finance his progressive view of social justice he proposed a progressive income tax. (A progressive tax is simply a plan based on the idea that if you earn more, you should pay more.)

How then would his policy stack up against historic economic theory regarding the utility of the minimum wage? “In economic theory, a price floor creates a surplus in the market place because there is more supply than demand at the set price. This theory applies to the market for labor as well. Some argue that when the minimum wage is raised, more people want jobs because now they are more lucrative. However new jobs are not necessarily created. Based on this standard economic model, when demand for labor is greater than the supply, a labor surplus results, creating unemployment.” *** To interpret, higher wages may attract more to the job market, new jobs are not necessarily created, and based on historical data; there is more unemployment.

Further, what are the strengths and weaknesses of unionism and collective bargaining as proposed by our Governor? Below is a quote by Labor Economics expert James Sherk.

“A union’s monopoly over bargaining makes it a cartel that prevents employers from hiring workers who would do the same job for less than union wages. That benefits union members at the expense of their potential competitors. It also means that state and local governments must pay more to have the same work done. Without providing financing for the mandate, the act will force these governments to either cut services or raise taxes.” ****

By definition, a monopoly is the exclusive possession or control over something. So, perhaps it could be more accurately construed as “monopoly bargaining”, or were extreme tactics necessary in an era of bargaining with a monopoly? Memories of coping with giants of industry in the not-so-distant past would be a very plausible fear for these union strikers: U.S. Steel, International Harvester, James Hill and Weyerhauser.

According to the ideals of Governor Olson, for society to progress, it must have the tax base to right social wrongs and lift up the oppressed by the hand of government. “The income tax is the most just tax thus far devised because it is the most equitable tax; it is based on ability to pay,” he added.
Maybe this is why he borrowed from the collectivist visions of Karl Marx? Below are the first five planks of the original German interpretation of the “Manifesto of the Communist Party”, please note plank #2.

“1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.” ******

Shall we pray? G-d, we give You honor as the Authority of Authorities, Provider of All to All, and Justice to all forms of Justice. We remember that Your Dominion is not a matter of talk, but of power. You are the Only Arbiter of Grace and Truth. You are the Only One who perfectly balances Justice and Mercy!

We acknowledge our separations from You through the leadership of Governor Olson. We chose to follow the false god of Progressivism. We admit that we cannot bring a utopia through humanistic means. We are not able to grant unalienable rights or take them away for that is Your work; Your mystery. Though we try through the ages, we cannot improve upon the Shema of Deuteronomy 6 or the recitation by Christ in Matthew 22:37.
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ “ *******
Will You forgive us where we failed to love You in this era, and where we failed to receive Your love in return? Our hands hold so tightly to power that we cannot grasp the manna You are giving us today.

We acknowledge our separations from You in our trust in the minimum wage during the Great Depression. We have limited our neighbor’s right to negotiate a wage with their employer, and infringed upon that individual’s will. Though we try through the ages, we cannot improve upon the divine positive laws of the 10 Commandments. To paraphrase, the seventh and tenth commandments tell us to respect and honor the property of others, and to be content with our property. How can we simultaneously respect and honor an employer whom we force to pay us more? How can we respect and honor our neighbor’s will if we interfere with it? Father, where allowed the real pain and discontent of the 1930’s cloud our boundaries and honor for other Minnesotans; will You have mercy?
We acknowledge our offenses to You and our neighbor in putting faith in collective bargaining and unions. (I do not condemn either of these ideas per se.) Chosen collectivism is beautiful and admirable. Look at the example of the early Church
found in Acts 2:44.
“All the believers were together and had everything in common.” ********
Where collectivism breaks with Your example, perhaps, is that it may negate the will of its’ neighbor. Why should a worker be required to join a union to work? If labor is the possession of each laborer, then forced collectivization could become extortion or ultimatum.
Why should an employer be required by a third party or law to negotiate with his employees on a collective basis? For example, the words ‘labor strike’ do not imply mutual submission with a boss towards a mutually defined goal, but a choice to break that relationship. Where we have broken faith with You, our neighbor, or our leaders through forced unionism or collective bargaining; will You have mercy?

Conversely, we acknowledge to You the damage done by the monopolies of this era whether the owners of industry or its workers? Have they offended You with their cartel-like power against the freedoms of  the wills’ of competitors and laborers? Culturally, we have rejected the reset You have ordained for Your people through the Jubilee. (See Leviticus 25) We were to blast the trumpet for liberty, canceling debts, restoring the poor, and returning land, but we seem to have forgotten. Will You forgive this great omission of ours? Are we separated from the blessings and covenant protections of Your economy because we don’t observe Sabbatical years in Minnesota? Will You show us how to reclaim this practice personally, and, by choice, restore this obedience within each corner of the free-market?

We acknowledge our offense to You and our neighbor through our faith in a graduated income tax. We, as a State, may have required more of our neighbor’s wealth than You. Below, the prophet Malachi reports to the peoples of Judah to give to G-d the 10% flat tax He required.

“You are under a curse–your whole nation–because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

If this is to be Your example to us, then is it true that those who fail to participate actually rob You and their neighbor? I’m not thinking here in terms of money, but of themselves. Those who do not invest in society may not develop an interest in society, or experience the gratitude of an unmerited gift from one who invests heavily in them. The relationship between giver and receiver is broken when it is required instead of choice. Further, for a progressive tax model to be truly even, could it require a non-monetary investment of time in lieu of a financial contribution? Will You have mercy on the uneven nature of our remedies to inequality?

In spite of these pondering prayers, will You bless the heritage of Floyd B. Olson? Will You remember his attempts to relate and create policies that contribute towards a better life for regular Minnesotans? Will You give honor and favor to those who labor at the minimum wage? Will You come to the aid of those who belong to a union, employ union labor, and collectively bargain in good faith? We want society to mature without acknowledging the revenge, envy, and discontent inside. Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on Minnesota! Will You perfect the progress of our inner lives?

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” *********

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** http://www.mnopedia.org/person/olson-floyd-b-1891-1936

*** https://edgewortheconomics.com/experience-and-news/edgewords-blogs/edgewords/article:02-28-2013-a-9-minimum-wage-and-a-lesson-in-price-floors/

**** Article by James Sherk, Research Fellow, Labor Economics https://www.heritage.org/markets-and-finance/report/mandatory-collective-bargaining-creates-more-problems-itsolves

***** https://www.minnpost.com/minnesota-history/2013/01/gov-olson-80-years-ago-proposed-progressive-taxes-and-unemployment-insuran

******* Quote of “Manifesto of the Communist Party” Chapter 2 (German original) https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch02.htm

******** http://biblehub.com/matthew/22-37.htm

******** http://biblehub.com/acts/2-44.htm

********* http://biblehub.com/malachi/3-9.htm

********** http://biblehub.com/ezekiel/36-26.htm

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20th Century, government, History, Intercession, Lutheran, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Preus Becomes Governor

JacobPreus

Jan 5, 1921
J. A. O. Preus takes office as the state’s 20th governor.*

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7 NIV

“When Preus first ran for governor in 1920, he adamantly opposed the Farmer-Labor Party, a coalition of discontented farmers and laborers who had formed a new political organization. The party, he declaimed, represented “socialism – a political cult that would destroy the principles of private property, our religion, and our homes.”

Despite his reservations about the Farmer-Labor philosophy, Governor Preus nonetheless encouraged the legislature to meet some of the farmers’ demands by broadening the legal powers of cooperatives, making low-interest loans available through the Rural Credit Bureau, and creating the Department of Agriculture. Preus also demanded higher taxes from the owners of ore-rich mines on the Iron Range, expanded highway construction, and improved equal rights and election procedures. His political savvy, combined with an apparent desire to correct inequities, made Minnesota’s twentieth governor a surprisingly prolific reformer.

After completing his second term, Preus became an insurance executive in Chicago. He returned to Minneapolis in 1958 and served until his death as board chairman of Lutheran Brotherhood, a fraternal insurance society he had co-founded in 1917. He also founded the Aid Association for Lutherans, which consolidated in the 1990s to become Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.”**

The actions of Governor Preus are a testimony of his character. He saw the people behind the labels of politics, and helped them. He listened to those whose ideas were diametrically opposed to his concepts of civic order, economic laws, and even his faith. He loved his political enemies, and did good to those who opposed him.

Lord of Governors, G-d of all Farmers and Laborers, will You bless the personal and figurative heritage of Governor Preus? Will You raise up wise elected officials, like Preus, who see their critics as You do; human beings with thoughts and needs worthy of respect and careful consideration?

Will You have mercy on our heritage of bitter partisanship? We have loved our parties more than our neighbors! We have perpetuated a circle of judgment from this era to the present: the Progressives to the DFL and Republicans, the DFL to the Republicans and Progressives, and the Republicans to the Progressives and the DFL? We have defied aspects and reflections of Your image as expressed through our parties. Though imperfect and inconsistent, they often encapsulate our good will towards our neighbor. Will You bless the real, the good, the faithful and true within our system?

Will You bless us in our co-ops? Will You bless our Rural Credit Bureau and Department of Agriculture and family farms? Will You give us Your balanced view of taxation; may we adequately fund government while not punishing the rich, poor, or in between? Will You bless our infrastructure and those who build it? Will You bless the integrity of our elections and counting votes?

Will You forgive our judgments of the Lutheran Church of Minnesota? Will You bless its’ heritage of doing good to our citizens? Will You bless the heart of Martin Luther expressed through Governor Preus and the Lutheran Brotherhood?

 

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._A._O._Preus

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20th Century, Agriculture, History, Intercession, Minnesota, State Government

Nonpartisan League

herbert-gaston-nonpartisan-league

1918
The farmers’ Nonpartisan League, a reform group that advocates state control of the grain industry, runs candidates in the Republican primary. The NPL loses in the primary, but joins Minnesota’s branch of the Minnesota American Federation of Labor in forming the Farmer-Labor party.*

“In the 1910s, farmers began to decry poor market conditions and violations of their economic rights. Middlemen in the grain elevator, stockyard, cold storage, banking, and rail industries regularly gouged farmers. To fight corporate interests, the NPL was formed in North Dakota in 1915.
The NPL was founded by former Socialist Party member Arthur Townley, who was also a failed flax farmer. The NPL advocated state-run mills, grain elevators, stockyards, and warehouses. In order to protect farmers further, the NPL fought for state insurance programs, pensions, and employment bureaus. After success in North Dakota’s 1916 election, the NPL began to expand. Minnesota became the center of its activities.”**

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Lord, we say we love fairness, justice, and equal rights under the law, but our practice of these traits are very imperfect and human! Have mercy! Farmers of this era wanted to address the folly and failures of the Democrats and Republicans to represent their views and grievances. They wanted a way out of the “us versus them” paradigm in Saint Paul, and Washington! Lord, hear their prayers!

Will You forgive their root judgments based on politics? Will You forgive the Wall Street Republicans their willingness to commoditize a Democratic farming way of life, and to see all Progressives as revolutionary radicals instead of neighbors desperate for change? Will You forgive the Socialist and Progressives their judgments of the passivity of the Democrats, and characterizing all Republicans as greedy “Wall Streeters”? Will You forgive Democrats their judgments and fears of Socialist extremism, Progressive utopianism, and Republican heartlessness?

We have failed You as traders and transporters of commodities. Those who weighed the grain and set the prices for the train have dishonored You, and the farmers of Minnesota. Through Solomon, perhaps the greatest economic mind the earth has ever known, You have said: “The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.” Proverbs 11:1 NIV Will You have mercy on all forms of dishonest trading and transport of agricultural commodities? Will You restore our broken trust, and teach us better ways to raise, assess value, and distribute food?

Our Socialism, Progressivism, Democratism, and Republicanism has tested You as the owner of all the yields of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. We have ignored Your voice because we listen through the filter of all our ‘isms’. We have discounted each other in opinion and fact. Have mercy!

We listen and ponder this parable of Jesus:
“A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one they beat and treated shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. He sent a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.
Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘this is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” Luke 20:9-16 NIV

In its original context, this story was a rebuke of the misuse of authority of the chief priests, elders, and teachers of the law known as the Sanhedrin. The farmers of the vineyard symbolize the people of Israel. The servants represent the prophets of G-d whom the people rejected, the heir represented the Messiah, and the landowner is G-d the Father.

Yet, I see another interpretation of this text relevant to the NPL, the “isms”, and the economic forces of Wall Street. Perhaps each of these forces stumble over their self-importance: the farmer-laborer, the politicians, the bankers, and the traders? Is it possible that each sees themselves as the owner, therefore, possessing the final say over their property? Each has refused the reasonable messages of the servants and heirs sent to them?

Eternal Father, will You forgive us for attempting to own Your possessions? Will You forgive us the rejection of our opponent’s message and messengers? Will You forgive the misbelief in the revolutionary spirit of our heart that drives us to overthrow and possess? Will You forgive the independence of the NPL, the co-dependence of the Democratic and Republican parties and Wall Street?

We give You the false heart motives of this era, and ask that take them up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ. We ask that Your blood cleanses and frees us from every attachment of the Enemy that hinders the agriculture of Minnesota. We ask that You establish proper boundaries for all these groups both present and future. Will You be the Judge of Minnesota, so we can practice the blessing of being truly Nonpartisan?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**Excellent source of information on NPL and all history Minnesota! http://www.mnopedia.org/group/nonpartisan-league

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