Michigan’s Republican led legislature adjourned on Thursday without passing the package of road repairs Governor Rick Snyder says he’s been working on for years.
This should be clear reminder what happens when you elect Republicans to public office: sabotage.
Business leaders need to face that an increasingly intractable GOP has no interest in doing anything that might give voters the impression that government is useful or — even worse — shows that Republicans can work with Democrats.
Doing nothing is always the safest option for a party captured by a base that the free market can magically repave a road.
While you never want to speed up on Michigan’s rocky roads too quickly, we know our Republicans can act with great speed when it pleases the party’s extremists.
They sped into action to pass legislation to punish unions — even after organized labor helped save the auto industry and our state’s economy. Republicans managed to motivate and pass a law that would punish rape victims. And Snyder was able to easily cajole his colleagues into passing a bumper crop of tax breaks for corporations while raising them on seniors and the poor.
But Michigan’s Republicans — just like national Republicans — refuse to take the basic steps to begin to repair our crumbling infrastructure, even though it would put thousands of Americans to work.
But you can’t just blame the party.
You have to blame their enablers, specifically the Chamber of Commerce. Locally and nationally, the nation’s biggest business groups continually call for repairs to our roads. And when Republicans refuse to listen, the Chamber of Commerce continues to spend millions of dollars to elect them.
“They’re making a big mistake recessing for the summer without acting on a larger, more comprehensive package,” said Rich Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.
Ohhhhh! Tough words that will be backed up by nothing — or more donations.
Even the right-leaning Detroit News wants the legislature to come back and pass a road fix that can repair the damage of last winter. And if it won’t, expect the News to go on supporting the governor and the Republicans that could not or would not get it done.
We’ve missed a historic chance to put people back to work rebuilding our country while interest rates are low and unemployment is high. National Republicans did this because they sought to deny President Obama a second term. Michigan’s Republicans refuse to even keep up with the basic maintenance we need to keep the state moving simply because they fear their base may punish them for doing something useful.
Business leaders loved Mitt Romney’s willingness to fire people. But until they’re willing to fire some Republicans, they’re just subsidizing the pothole industry.
[Caricature by DonkeyHotey from photos by Anne C. Savage for Eclectablog]