I struggled with the decision to run for Governor. Rome is burning and the people who started the fire, the professional politicians, are beyond redemption. I don’t think that they have solutions to offer. They only want another job at the public trough.
That leaves us ordinary citizens to sacrifice our careers and our privacy to put out the fires in Michigan and start the rebuilding process.
It takes incredible sacrifice for someone like me to serve in Government. I don’t need the job, I like what I do.
My own excursion into politics was eye opening. Many people in politics make their livings by brokering deals; they are parasites who rely on kick-backs [now or later]. The really dangerous ones are in three piece suits over at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.
When I ran for Governor I refused to make any deals. I refused to sell my soul. The consequence was that I received very little help from my own party. To run successfully for governor you have to compromise your soul. As a lawyer defending victims I don’t have to sacrifice my integrity; and even on those rare occasions when I lose, I have a clear conscience.
Although I loved meeting the people of Michigan and touring the State, I just didn’t like the people who populate the “industry” of politics. I didn’t know if I wanted to again spend millions of my own money to get back into that cesspool.
There are two problems we have to deal with in Michigan that transcend political parties. They are structural. The first is that the vast majority of people in office today simply want to get elected because they need the job. That means that government is reactive – not proactive. Politicians wait until a crisis develops before they act because they are afraid. Governors and legislatures don’t take a stand until a consensus develops as the result of a crisis. Otherwise, they might be required to take a stand on an issue that later could hurt their re-election bids.
Professional politicians are self-centered instead of being focused on what’s good for the people. Polls, not principles, drive their actions.
When I ran for Governor I proposed a number of policies that were ridiculed at the time, but have since been adopted after the situation got so bad that we had to act.
I proposed a state-wide medical insurance pool that would have reduced premiums by 30% to individuals and small businesses. I proposed eliminating the small business tax, and ending the prison for profit system. I proposed diversion for non-violent first time, drug offenses. Had those policies been adopted in 1998, we would be in much better shape, but they weren’t “politically attractive” then.
When Jennifer Granholm appointed me chairman of the Film Commission, I proposed the largest tax incentive in the country as a way to attract film makers. Republicans in the legislature ridiculed my proposal. After I left, it was adopted with great success.
The second problem with politics is that as far as the political parties go, they are often a distinction without a difference.
Government has stopped governing for the good of ordinary folks. It has become a tool for big business to make money. The reason why the election of a Democrat or a Republican makes little difference to the everyday lives of most working people is that the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and insurance companies control this State for their own self-interest.
Politicians can argue about ideology all day long, but in the end, the only real difference between the two parties is that most Republicans are nothing more than insurance company shills, and many Democrats aspire to yet another government job. The economic policies of the past 20 years have virtually all been dictated by what’s best for the corporate sponsors of each of the respective camps, not what’s best for the rest of us.
Michigan has the most business friendly laws, tax structure and judiciary in the country, and what real jobs do we have to show for it? At what point do we recognize that forfeiting the future of this State for low wage temporary jobs is not worth it? Less taxes and more business giveaways have bankrupted Michigan; destroyed our infrastructure and destroyed our quality of life.
Under the Republican administration in Michigan [1990 to 2002] we shifted the tax burden from big business to individual citizens. A multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company does not pay a dollar in property taxes, but parents have to pay additional fees and taxes to send their kids to failing schools over third world roads. That’s wrong, it’s unjust. However, if you propose building another prison or starting another war, the Republicans will rush to spend your tax money like drunken sailors.
For the Republicans to now claim that they are worried about the cost of universal health care after spending trillions on the war in Iraq is downright ludicrous. It’s so absurd that it makes me laugh to think that anyone could be that hypocritical and maintain a straight face.
In 1992, Michigan Republicans passed the only law in the country that makes drug companies totally immune from product liability suits for dangerous drugs. What happens then? Pfizer up and leaves the state taking thousands of jobs with it and the ordinary folks of Michigan still have no legal recourse when defective drugs kill their children!
One of the biggest concerns we have is that big business has invested millions of dollars to get activist judges elected or appointed to the bench so that they can serve their corporate masters. How do you explain the fact that four activist Michigan Supreme Court judges, appointed by Mr. Engler, ruled in favor of corporations and against individual citizens in 99% of their cases? That’s not a coincidence.
Judges like Robert Young and Stephen Markman have created a judicial environment in which our most vulnerable citizens cannot get justice. Ultimately, when people know they cannot get justice in Court they will take justice into their own hands. We have to move now to restore integrity to the Michigan Judicial system.
Lansing has sold the farm to big business and bankrupted the State as a consequence. Offering tax exemptions to corporations has not produced any lasting benefit to our state. Tax breaks are a means for the wealthy to get richer at the expense of ordinary folks.
The few jobs that are created by tax breaks [many of which turn out to be temporary], are not sufficient to offset the lost tax revenue. Prop A has destroyed our public school system in Michigan. There’s nothing wrong with a business making profits, but it cannot be at the expense of the lives of Michigan citizens, or our environment.
There are a few good Democrats in the mix right now. Virj Benero, and Andy Dillon are outstanding men with correct political positions. I know I’ve poked fun at Rick Synder, but at least he is focusing on real problems and making proposals that aren’t just focus-group driven dribble. And, he doesn’t need a job.
The other Republican candidates offer nothing more than the same. Their names read like a list of wannabes, in need of a new government job, with not a shred of ingenuity or talent among them.