aug 14

A North Dakota Tea Party

North Dakota is home to protectionist policies ranging from agriculture co-ops to state-run insurance to a law demanding that all pharmacies be locally owned (banning the only advantage of a Wal-Mart: cheap drugs). There is the state-run Bank of North Dakota, which in a year that saw private banks taking federal bailouts, returned $30 million to the state's general fund. More importantly, these state organizations operate in competition with private business, a fact that keeps everyone honest and is a system that, while quite successful and popular here, is clearly going to destroy America if partly implemented on any national scale, such as with health care.

This nails the contradiction of the state, which has two of the more progressive senators -- Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan -- yet is culturally more red than Utah. If you ever wondered what a libertarian socialist economy would look like (and who hasn't?), North Dakota is basically it.

Conrad, the senior senator, was on Charlie Rose recently, speaking about the glories of social co-operatives. Co-operatives!


C'mon, like I wasn't going to blog this.

posted by Rex at 10:09 AM on August 14, 2009

I'd take issue with the idea that Conrad or Dorgan are anywhere near being "two of the more progressive senators". Democrats yes but pretty much centrist ones. This is a little like Sarah Palin talking about not relying on government handouts while Alaskans get checks in the mail from their share of oil revenues.

posted by Jake at 12:09 PM on August 14, 2009

I think he may have been talking about "health care cooperatives," which he came up with.

There was this idea that the government could compete (in areas like Conrad's) where there was one insurance company having a monopoly. Conrad thought that sounded scary (he's actually pretty conservative), so he wants these things called cooperatives which are awful.

Dorgan rocks, though.

posted by yep at 12:14 PM on August 14, 2009

Ditto what Yep said. You're reacting to a word (cooperative" and not the reality. Conrad's becoming a dreadful Blue Dog and is behaving in really gutless ways.

posted by Mark Gisleson at 2:36 PM on August 15, 2009

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