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GUEST POST – Manufactured Emergency: The Neoliberal Assault on Michigan

This article is cross-posted from the website of Political Research Associates and appears in PRA’s upcoming Fall, 2014 issue of The Public Eye magazine, a special edition on neoliberalism and the Right. It was written by Jane Slaughter, an American journalist based in Detroit who writes frequently on labor affairs. Her writing has appeared in The Nation, The Progressive, Monthly Review, and In These Times.

The term neoliberalism refers to “ideas associated with economic liberalism, which advocates — under reference to neoclassical economic theory — support for great economic liberalization, privatization, free trade, open markets, deregulation, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy.”

Manufactured Emergency: The Neoliberal Assault on Michigan

Those who want to privatize public services and destroy unions have made some successful incursions into the once union-friendly state.

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Like Shelby Township, Scio Township passes moratorium on oil drilling. Company keeps drilling anyway.

You know we’re in the steely grip of corporatocracy when this happens:

West Bay Exploration Company has no plans to cease drilling at the corner of West Delhi and Miller roads northwest of Ann Arbor.

The company’s oil rig is in Scio Township, where the Board of Trustees passed a moratorium last week against oil exploration activity.

West Bay Exploration vice president Gibson said Monday evening that he received the township’s moratorium that day in the mail, but had not had a chance to read it closely. [...]

“We’re into the drilling phase now and there’s a safety factor that becomes involved in the drilling where we need to continue circulating mud in the hole,” Gibson said.

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Personal experience fuels Michigan Senate candidate Deb Havens’ healthcare advocacy

This Democrat knows first-hand that getting the right care at the right time can be life-saving.

When Deb Havens entered the race in Michigan’s 28th State Senate District, healthcare access wasn’t at the top of her issues list. The former educator was heavily focused on safeguarding the public school system and everything that once made Michigan the envy of other states, from high employment rates to an abiding respect for the state’s natural resources.

But two months into her campaign, Havens found another issue to champion: healthcare access for all. That’s because she was diagnosed with breast cancer during a routine mammogram.…

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Cue GOP call for more business tax cuts: Michigan unemployment rate ticks up to 7.7%, still nation’s third highest

If you go to Rick Snyder’s Facebook page, you’ll see a picture of him smiling smugly under the banner “Michigan’s Comeback Kid”. Putting aside the fact that “comeback kid” actually refers to a person who has come back from some personal trauma, something our Governor has not done, the suggestion that Michigan is somehow roaring back to economic prosperity under Rick Snyder is ludicrous at best and complete and utter lie at worst.

Last month, we had that the third highest unemployment rate in the country at 7.5%. This month, we’re still the third highest, tied with Nevada and Nevada, at 7.7%.…

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Another benefit of Michigan Medicaid expansion: reducing state prison costs

It’s not just good for the state budget — it’s good for the health of current and former prisoners, which may help keep them from returning to prison.

I wrote more than a year ago about the benefits Medicaid expansion would bring to Michigan, including a boost to the health of Michigan’s citizens and its economy, with $1 billion in federal funding and an expected $2.1 billion increase in economic activity.

Now, the Healthy Michigan Plan — Michigan’s version of Medicaid expansion — is on track to help the state save $19 billion in 2015 and improve the health of current and former prison inmates.…

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Warren Mayor Jim Fouts defends decision to deny atheist space in City Hall

Last week I wrote about Warren, Michigan Mayor Jim Fouts’ decision to deny Douglas Marshall space in the City Hall atrium for a “reason center” where atheists could share their worldview. In his letter to Marshall, Fouts said, “The city has certain values that I don’t believe are in general agreement with having an atheist station, nor in general agreement with having a Nazi station or Klu Klux Klan station. I cannot accept or will not allow a group that is disparaging of another group to have a station here.”

This comparison of atheists to the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis drew national attention.…

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Be unique, just like everyone else! VOTE IN THE PRIMARY TOMORROW!

Predictions for turnout in tomorrow’s primary election are pretty dismal. It’s ironic that progressives do so much to fight for voting rights and then turn around and stay home on election day. What that means is that our candidates for office are chosen by a tiny minority rather than a democratic majority.

Don’t be “that guy” or “that gal”. Vote.

You can have a look at who and what you’ll be voting on tomorrow by creating a sample ballot for your precinct HERE.

In addition to the various candidates for office, there is one statewide ballot proposal (more on that HERE) and, in many places non-partisan judge positions as well.…

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A comprehensive look at Michigan’s Proposal 1 and why I am voting NO on it

Michigan voters are being asked to vote on one statewide ballot proposal tomorrow, one that will eliminate the Personal Property Tax (PPT) imposed on equipment a business owns. Businesses hate this tax because it is essentially double taxation. They pay taxes when they buy equipment and then pay the PPT every year on the same equipment. This tends to disincentivize investment in new equipment, hindering growth and expansion.

However, the PPT also funds the operations of many local governments, including fire, public safety, and all the other services provided by them. There are at least 30 local governments for which the PPT provides 30% or more of their operating revenues.…

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VIDEO: Chris Savage of Eclectablog welcomes Netroots Nation to Detroit

For those of you who missed the opening night keynote speeches at Netroots Nation in Detroit, here is my speech welcoming the conference attendees to the Motor City:

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URGENT ACTION: Be heard on Michigan health insurance rate increases before Aug. 1

Some insurers want to raise your rates significantly for 2015. In Michigan, it’s your right to tell them how you feel about that.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has gone a long way toward making health insurance more affordable, but until there’s full reform of the insurance industry, there isn’t very much incentive for insurance companies to stop raising your rates year after year.

Michigan gives consumers a chance to comment on premium rate increases as part of the rate review process — and the time to speak up is now.

Public comments on proposed rate increases must be submitted before August 1, 2014.

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