While the attention of the country is focused on the our unhinged president and his cruel, heartless Republican Party that is scheming every day on how to cut the taxes of their super wealthy benefactors and destroy the social safety to pay for it, Michigan Republicans have other plans. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof told The Detroit News this week that his number one priority for the upcoming legislative session is to make sure that the retirees of local governments are well and truly screwed over. If they don’t screw over the people who retired believing they could do so in dignity, Meekhof wants to dissolve their city:
Meekhof estimates that 10 percent of local governments may “really have some trouble” paying for promised retiree benefits, and he’s advocating an aggressive approach in those communities to avoid bankruptcies: Ask local residents to pay more in taxes or face potential dissolution.
“I don’t know exactly all the steps we’re going to take, but at some point I think local governments have to realize that if they’re in over their head, if they’re looking to the state for help, maybe it includes dissolving them as a public entity and redrawing some of the lines,” he said. “Because if they can’t handle their financial business, then the taxpayers need to be protected.”
This is the logical next step for the Republicans’ Emergency Management philosophy. First, take over cities that are struggling financially, kick out the local elected officials, cut everything to the bone, and end union contracts. Then hand the reins back to local officials who face all of the same systemic problems that created the financial emergency in the first place. The next step is to dissolve the cities entirely if they don’t do as they are told and screw over their retirees.
It’s also a way to push the difficult task of raising taxes to local officials so that state-level Republicans can keep their hands clean.
Be vigilant, my friends. If Republicans get their way on this, it’s slippery slope and who knows what their next authoritarian move will be.