Why do I get the feeling there’s a LOT they aren’t telling us?
The Michigan House Republicans released their “2013-14 House Republican Action Plan” (pdf) today and, while there’s much I still need to digest, there were enough glaring LOLs in it to warrant pointing them out.
The 21-page plan, titled “Brighter Days Ahead”, is almost half “Executive Summary” and is full of photos of happy, smiling white people. Reading the Executive Summary is an odd experience. If you didn’t know better, you’d think it was either a Democratic proposal or something a bipartisan group put out. You honestly would never know that this is the party that focused so intensely over the past two years to crush unions, demonize teachers and other public employees and that led the way in the Republican War on Women.
Gone now is the phrase “Right to Work”. Michigan Republicans have completely made the change to “Freedom to Work”, as if they have rescued us from the tyranny of not being able to work because of the dreaded unions. They also oddly brag about ending “food stamp abuse by students” (page 9.)
One thing they mention repeatedly is that they have “reduced the income tax rate on every taxpayer in the state”. What they don’t tell you is that, due to other tax increases, over half of Michiganders will see a tax INCREASE starting with the taxes they file this year. These tax increases impact lower-income Michiganders far more than our wealthier citizens.
I particularly wanted to highlight one specific section. Can we please all agree that the following statement, being put out by the Michigan House Republicans! totally without irony, is GOPocrisy at its finest?
[We will] Support Michigan’s teachers: Michigan teachers need the support of their state and their community to make the most of their abilities and help our children thrive. We will explore new ways to reach out to the education community for ideas, give underperforming educators the support they need, and recognize our state’s best teachers for the amazing work they do.
This is hypocrisy on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to begin. First of all, this statement comes mere sentences after they (a) talk about how they are going to make it harder to become a teacher by increasing teacher standards and (b) say they will shame bad teachers by telling the world about them: “Parents,” they say, “Need to be made aware of their children’s under-performing schools and ineffective teachers.” Hard to see how they will simultaneously shame and support underperforming educators.
Second, Michigan Republicans have spent the past two years amplifying the Mackinac Center’s mantra that teachers are parasitic leeches on the jugular vein of our society, worthy only of diminishment and scorn. We have reduced their pay and benefits, taken away their collective bargaining rights and treated them as second class citizens. This new-found love of teachers is likely to ring quite hollow among our educators (or anyone paying attention, for that matter.)
They crow about how they will fix and “modernize Michigan’s transportation infrastructure while keeping a balanced budget.” That is shorthand for, “We’re raising taxes and fees everywhere but on businesses.”
Although they have spent an inordinate amount of time driving down wages in Michigan to benefit corporations, about the only obvious attack on workers in the entire document is their promise to “repeal Michigan’s Prevailing Wage Law“. This is just one more effort to reduce wages of Michigan middle class workers and lower our standard of living.
They also promise to “pass a bill to prevent the state from implementing regulations that are more restrictive that [sic] federal regulations and create barriers to job creation”. This is, of course, completely unnecessary. They already control the entire government so all they have to do is simply not pass such bills. This is a way for them to cement in their worldview for posterity and prevent future lawmakers from having the ability to make Michigan-specific laws to do things like protect our unique natural resources. For a party that nearly worships “local control” and “states’ rights”, this abdication of control to the federal government is puzzling.
Finally, one thing that truly alarmed me is that they plan to advance “wetlands regulation reform”. Considering their pro-business mindset that seems to hold little else in equal regard, having this particular group of legislators playing any role whatsoever in reforming our wetland regulations is terrifying.
This “plan” looks nice. They clearly hired a good PR firm to put it together for them. But it’s simply not to be believed. We know what this group’s priorities are: destroying unions, expanding the millionaire class at the expense of the middle class, taking away women’s rights to make their own health choices and making sure they are kept from having opportunities equal to their male counterparts, and benefiting corporations and their wealthy owners and shareholders all along the way. With our venture-capitalist-turned-governor at the helm, there is little to nothing we can do to stop them.
Hang on, kids, 2014 is on the way. Fired up? Ready to go?