Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop said something yesterday I fully agree with. “We are on a crash course to disaster in this state. The deadline for decisions was a long time ago, and waiting only makes it worse.”
What he didn’t add was that he is as much the problem as anybody else. Senate Republicans sniped at the governor’s proposal for weeks before they came up with a plan of their own. It was based on such enlightened thinking as cuts to education and health care.
Nor did they seek to find some compromise solution with the Democrats, who after all won the election last fall. No, they just rammed their budget through the Senate, the only part of government they control, knowing it would be dead on arrival in the state house and in the governor’s office. Maybe passing this budget made Senator Bishop feel good, like a primal scream.
Next time he should just scream. It would be faster and cheaper, and do the state about as much good. Comrades: At the risk of being rude, I would like to point out that we aren’t playing a game of Risk. Our state is in the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.
That’s according to a new report issued by SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. They say Southeast Michigan, the economic engine that drives the state, will continue to lose jobs and people for at least a decade.
The newspapers today, in an attempt to put a positive spin on this, chirped that our population will rebound and there will be more jobs in … 2035. This holds minimal excitement for me. For one thing I expect to be dead then. For another, anybody with half a brain knows that any prediction about life that far in the future is meaningless.
The SEMCOG report does say, as other reports have said, that our only hope is a better educated population. Senator Bishop wants to cut aid to education. But he is not the only irrational one.
Our state’s so-called leaders are off spinning in a million directions. Speaker of the House Andy Dillon wants to guarantee public utilities monopoly status in return for a tax increase, thinly veiled bribe of half a billion dollars or so. Attorney General Mike Cox said that was nuts. Well, he got that right. And he is a conservative Republican. Dillon is a Democrat. I don’t know where the governor is.
For all I know she‘s consulting with Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll. She‘d be better off talking to former State School Superintendent Tom Watkins, who has been writing excellent commentaries on the budget crisis.
Yesterday, he said “if Michigan is going to retool for the future it will take bold decisive leadership that will force wholesale restructuring of our schools and government.”
That makes sense. Unfortunately, the governor fired him. The late Harry Chapin once recorded an album called Dance Band on the Titanic. But I don’t think he meant it as a guide to governing the state.