This should frighten EVERY Michigander
As we watch the drama related to the bankruptcy of Detroit play out on the national stage, it’s worth recalling something I have mentioned in the past: Governor Rick Snyder is guided by the “101 Recommendations to Revitalize Michigan” (pdf) of the corporatist front group Mackinac Center. In 2011, Governor Snyder attended a fundraiser they held and told the crowd he has this list “on his desk and refers to it often”. Given how things have played out over the past three years, it’s no surprise.
It’s worth reading ALL of their recommendations but below are a few that should put fear into the hearts of any Michigander who cares about the actual revitalization of our state and, of course, of our largest city.
Here are just a handful of their recommendations:
- Rediscover the true meaning of patriotism. [???]
- Let Detroit save itself by fundamentally reforming the city’s government and business climate, rather than pursuing further rounds of flashy government-subsidized projects.
- Let Detroit save itself and better serve its residents through a comprehensive program of privatizing city services.
- Let Detroit save itself by repealing the city’s income tax, downsizing the city’s bureaucracy and rolling back the regulatory burden on city businesses to a level similar to cities of comparable size.
- Devolve State Police road patrols to county sheriff departments.
- Privatize some state prisons.
- Shut down persistent bureaucratic efforts to draft and impose “ergonomic” regulations.
- Pre-empt local governments from adopting so-called “living wage” ordinances, which typically raise the minimum wage that must be paid by businesses holding substantial city contracts.
Adopt a “right-to-work” law that prohibits collective bargaining agreements from requiring employees to support or belong to a union as a condition of employment.COMPLETED!
- Repeal the state law that prohibits the sale of fuel and other products at a price “grossly in excess” of the presumed normal price.
- End mandatory collective bargaining for government employees who already enjoy civil service protections.
- Eliminate state arts grants.
- Eliminate the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, 21st Century Jobs Fund, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
- Replace conventional health insurance plans for government employees with health savings accounts.
- Eliminate state subsidies to the cooperative extension service and to Michigan State University’s agriculture experiment station.
- Eliminate — or cut in half — “Merit Awards,” “Promise Grants” or other non-need-based college scholarships financed by tobacco lawsuit proceeds.
- Repeal laws that mandate binding arbitration in labor disputes between local government and police or firefighter unions.
- Repeal the ban on directional drilling for oil and natural gas under the Great Lakes.
- Halt proposed state mercury-emission limits that are stricter than required under federal law.
- Repeal the “minimum wage” law, which makes it illegal to pay a person less than $7.40 per hour.
- Eliminate government-run employment agencies.
- Eliminate intermediate school districts.
- Repeal teacher certification requirements.
- Privatize underused state parks.
- Privatize state highway rest areas.
- Privatize management of the Mackinac State Historic Parks.
Strengthen the law providing an emergency financial manager for insolvent municipalities and school districts by expanding the manager’s powers and legal protections.COMPLETED!
- Amend the state constitution as needed to privatize the University of Michigan.
- Prohibit public entities and their membership organizations, such as the Michigan Municipal League, from lobbying other public entities to impose higher taxes.
It’s a truly astonishing list that is unmistakably driven by a desire to crush unions, privatize most government services to for-profit private companies, and keep workers’ wages at the lowest possible level to maximize profits for corporations. These guidelines sit on Governor Snyder’s desk, informing him and guiding his efforts.
It’s little wonder that the plundering of Detroit and our other failing urban cities that appears to be in progress is happening so rapidly. It’s simply part of the governor’s playbook.
Let’s never forget that.