Welcome to Our Reality

If anyone outside of Michigan wonders what the current set of proposals to lessen the national debt by “reducing the size of government” might mean to their town, Detroit is a preview, and the coming attractions are not pretty.

Detroit has borne the brunt of deficit reduction plans from both the State and National levels. In an era of unprecedented national growth during the Clinton Administration, Michigan’s State government (dominated by conservative Republicans) created a budget deficit, primarily by lowering Corporate and property taxes. At the same time, the State reduced the “size of government” by reducing or eliminating State-run public health services, such as mental health institutions. Once the Clinton budget surplus (achieved with a combination of reducing expenditures and raising taxes) were wasted by conservative republicans in the US Congress, local Michigan governments were hit with a second round of revenue reductions.

The result of deliberate efforts to reduce the size of government by starving it of government revenue is that, in Michigan, on the local level, government is much smaller – and the quality of life is much worse. Schools are not only much less effective in teaching students, the buildings are literally falling apart. Roads, water and sewage lines and other forms of infrastructure are, in places, worse than third world countries. Whole Fire and Police Departments have been defunded and disappeared, although crime has not lessened significantly. The lack of State mental Health structures has caused the streets and local jails to become flooded with the homeless, costing local governments far more than government-funded hospitals. Oh, and all those tax breaks for Corporations and the so-called “job creators” has resulted in an unemployment rate among the highest in the Country.

Conservatives complain that Michigan is the victim of a terrible National economy because the Federal Government spends too much. The reality is that when the National economy was booming in the 80s, Michigan created its own deficit by giving away tax breaks and eliminating investments in infrastructure, R&D, etc.

I distrust government when it comes to regulating my personal liberties, but government has a real and important function when it comes to matters of public safety, infrastructure and education. I guess there is my difference with the Tea Party Conservatives: they want to take the government out of building the country and into regulating the bedroom; I think government should stay out of my lifestyle and repair a few bridges and roads (at least). Rachel Maddow has a commercial that makes the point: there was no compelling profit motive for a private company to build the Hoover Dam and, none would build one today. However, the Hoover Dam has resulted in an economic boom and health service that has benefits all of us greatly since.  That is the proper role of government.

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4 Responses to Welcome to Our Reality

  1. What Is A Free Market Conservative To Do?

    I am a free market conservative. I voted republican in every presidential election since 1968, except one. It is obvious that our government must live within its means and do so in a manner as not to interfere with a functioning free market economy. If we desire to take control of government, we must demand government carry out one of its primary functions; protecting free markets from tyranny, both public and private. We are vocal about defending it from public tyranny, but silent when it comes to tyranny in the private sector.

    “Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” Justice Louis Brandeis 1928

    Today our focus seems to be only on the tyranny of government when it comes to free markets. We need to find the right balance. Read More http://goo.gl/zDZ0X

  2. InYourFaceNewYorker says:

    “I guess there is my difference with the Tea Party Conservatives: they want to take the government out of building the country and into regulating the bedroom; I think government should stay out of my lifestyle and repair a few bridges and roads (at least).”

    Hippie pinko Commie nutjob! It’s radicals like you who want to destroy America and convert everyone to homosexuality and undermine the Family™! 🙂

    Julie

  3. sbanicki says:

    Michigan’s problems started in the sixties when the auto industry became lethargic after forming an oligopoly between the big three and the UAW. I say this as a native of Flint who benefited from all the union benefits received as a result of my Dad working for Buick for 35-years.

    People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public or in some contrivance to raise prices.’ (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776).
    What does the American auto industry, the health care industry, wall street firms and the banking industry all have in common; other than they were all on the brink of failure?

    These are industries where the production side of the industry is no longer a free market with many producers competing head-to head to earn the business of consumers, or customers, of the industry. Instead each of these industries are controlled by a relatively small number of very large corporations that have transformed these markets into oligopolies. Read More: http://goo.gl/Wd3uI

  4. Our Country is in Serious Trouble, Yet the Solutions are Very Simple

    The government and the media try to sell the false idea that the Great Recession is over, meanwhile all economic indicators suggest otherwise. The media claims the U.S. is creating jobs – while this is true, the jobs they are creating are in India, Mexico, China and soon South Korea. Without adopting the needed “Buy American” clauses, all the stimulus money spent went to create jobs across the border and overseas.

    The wealthy multinationalists are accumulating more wealth by draining money from the American middle class. The top 1 percent are gaining more and more wealth while the middle class is evaporating and the number of people living in poverty is multiplying.

    We are using poor indicators and statistics to prove that we are headed in the right direction. The stock market may look good, but that just means the multinationalists are doing well. The stock market itself doesn’t create jobs!

    The news stories point to our GDP – Gross Domestic Product – and say the numbers are going up. 70 percent of our GDP is consumer spending – so this means citizens are going to the store to buy goods like electronics and toys. However, 70 percent of our consumer goods are imported, so most of the products Americans are buying are shipped to us from our competitors. Our GDP merely shows that we are actively trading our wealth for plastic flowers and toys with lead paint – we are taking our hard earned cash and buying junk.

    Who will protect us? Our American Chamber of Commerce doesn’t represent American interests. It represents multinationalists and big businesses that have more interest in turning a profit than loyalty to their home country – if they even acknowledge they have one. They support laws that help move American jobs to countries with no labor, environmental laws or human rights standards.

    The solutions to our ever increasing problems are very simple. We became a wealthy and productive nation in the past by protecting our industries and our jobs. We bought American made products and we taxed foreign countries to sell their goods here. We are the largest consumer nation in the world. We should not be giving away the rights to sell in the U.S., and putting our workers out of jobs, for free.

    The easiest way to tax foreign products would be to initiate a tariff, but our leaders are in opposition to this proposal because they say they fear a trade war. Little do they know that we are already in a trade war – and we have lost. Currently the WTO rules over every member nation – telling them, and us, what we can and cannot do. Every member nation uses a value added tax except for the U.S.

    The money the U.S. could accumulate with tax reform could go toward paying off our foreign debt, and keeping our home grown industries strong. If we keep letting foreign products in, while foreign nations lock ours out, the Great Recession will become a full blown Depression.

    The great hypocrisy sold to the American people is that we have no right to protect ourselves. Every other nation on Earth, including all of our trading partners, are protectionists. But when the U.S. tries to protect itself, these countries call foul. We must engage in the same protectionist practices that are working for them. Their economies are growing stronger while ours grow weaker.

    http://www.economyincrisis.org

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