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“Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.”

–George Carlin

Hmm. Treasurer Clint Zweifel’s legislative initiative Invest in Missouri sailed through the legislature this spring with not a single no vote, and Nixon was glad to sign it into law. In fact, the House and Senate sponsors were both Republicans (Rep. Tim Flook, Liberty; Sen. David Pearce, Warrensburg).

But Carlin would have no cause to smile cynically on this one. There’s no boondoggle about it. It’s purely good policy.

Invest in Missouri aims to create and retain jobs and to reinvest cash in our state economy. This new program has two branches: the first offers low interest loans to small businesses; the second deposits money in Missouri banks.

The low interest loans are called Linked Deposit Loans. Here’s how they work. If a borrower wants a loan of a hundred dollars to start, say, a t-shirt shop, she goes to the bank, which quotes her a five percent rate on the loan. But then the bank goes to the Treasurer’s office and says, “How about lending our bank $100 at two percent so that we can give this entrepreneur the loan at two percent instead of five?” If the Treasurer’s office agrees, the bank passes that savings along to the borrower: a two percent loan.

Such loans will be available to small businesses and family farms. And they’ll be available to more borrowers than in the past. Until now, the law restricted such loans to businesses with no more than 25 employees. That’s been upped to 100 employees.

The other branch of Invest in Missouri is called General Time Deposits. The state has $3.5 billion that’s not used to pay bills, money we invest short term. We could–and usually did–put it into U.S. government debt, like treasury notes, or into highly rated and very conservative commercial paper. The state was also allowed to invest it in Missouri banks, but that was the worst possible investment because, for the last fifty years, the interest rate the state was allowed to receive was capped, by law, at 1/5th of a percent.

Consequently, Missouri banks got virtually nothing in state investment, and that’s bad for those Missouri owned businesses. Now that cap is being phased out over a five year period. The state treasury will be allowed to invest at market rates in our own banks.

Zweifel’s new program offers the kind of policy government ought to be about. And Invest in Missouri is just one of several worthwhile changes the new treasurer is instituting. I’ll report on a couple of others soon.

Unfortunately, Missouri also has more than its share of politicians with zany notions, and our state has been taking it on the chin lately in the liberal blogosphere. Late last week, Think Progress had a piece about Blaine Luetkemeyer’s bill to take money out of the federal budget for “junk science” at the U.N., by which he means he wants to ban spending money for studying climate change. One of the commenters said:

Between this bozo, Rush Limprod and that bimbo state representative who wants to cut food programs for school kids because hunger is a great motivator, I begin to suspect that parts of the great state of Missouri still use lead pipes for their drinking water.

What can I say? Paleolib has a point. Sadly, he’ll never hear about our Clint Zweifels because good public policy isn’t entertaining. Olbermann wouldn’t be interested.

Truth is, we’ve got both types: the Cynthia Davises and, on the other hand, a number of Democrats, like Zweifel, who have modern plumbing in their brains.