Then, he would go back to the Oval Office and veto a bill providing money for school lunch programs. Other politicians might have done that out of cynical hypocrisy. Reagan would have done so out of what psychologists call a cognitive disconnect.
That’s something most of us do, by the way; we’re just not responsible for the fate of the world.
We are, however, citizens of that world, and of a place in it called Michigan. We now face the necessity of making a long-overdue choice that we have avoided for years.
Do we severely slash the services this state provides us, and which we aren‘t used to living without? Do we cut off the money our great research universities need to keep themselves relevant and our state competitive? Do we give our colleges enough money so that the daughter or son of an average Michigander can hope to somehow afford to get a degree from them?
Do we want to adequately fund the departments that take care of our essential infrastructure, so that our bridges don’t fall down and our roads don’t look like they came under mortar fire last night?
Do we want to build a future for Michigan?
If so, we need to support our legislature by raising taxes in the most sane and sensible way possible. There is no other choice.
Besides, we are all paying more taxes anyway. You just don’t realize it. Just before Memorial Day, to avoid raising taxes, your state legislators actually did raise them in some sneaky, irrational and underhanded ways.
They flushed half a billion dollars down the drain. They did that by selling off money the state was supposed to get in coming years from the settlement of the lawsuit against the tobacco companies.
They sold off $900 million dollars we would have gotten n a few years from now for $400 million, right away.
Then, they took more money away from higher education. That caused colleges or universities to raise tuition rates by as much as 18 percent.
In other words, our lawmakers indirectly taxed poor young people who are trying to improve themselves.
That’s partly because they fear a guy named Leon Drolet, who travels around with a pink fiberglass pig and threatens to recall any lawmaker who votes to raise taxes. Drolet, by the way is a taxpayer-funded government employee.
If you are worried about government spending, consider this. The amount the federal government spends on the war in Iraq every week is more than Michigan’s entire budget deficit.
Every six months, it spends more on the war than Michigan spends every year for everything. This is a war that the vast majority of the American people now believe was a mistake.
There may be a problem with runaway government spending.
But it’s not in Lansing.