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article imageOp-Ed: Michigan redefines Democracy to destroy lives one city at a time

By Bill Lindner     Mar 16, 2011 in Politics
Dystopian legislation pushed through Michigan's legislature to enable the preconceived anti-Democratic corporate-driven notions of Governor Snyder doesn't fix budgets. It imposes fascism and rewards cronyism.
What is happening in Michigan, and going virtually unreported by corporate media, has been buried by the Republican goings-on in Wisconsin. Michigan's newly elected Republican Governor Rick Snyder and its legislature reportedly passed one of the most sweeping, anti-democratic pieces of legislation in the country, and few are aware of it because no one is talking about it.
During a time when corporations are making all kinds of money and sitting on record profits instead of creating jobs, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and his corrupt corporatist Republican cronies rammed through “legislation” that gives a $1.8 billion tax cut while increasing taxes for seniors and the working class.
In addition to breaking up unions and raping those who can’t afford it, Snyder's “law” gives the State government the power to dissolve entire local governments and place appointed "Emergency Managers” in their place. Said appointed "Emergency Managers" and the Governor could eliminate whole cities should they choose to do so. Snyder would be able to fire elected officials unilaterally, with no input from voters, shattering any semblance of Democracy.
The legislation Snyder and the Republican dominated State Senate passed, and sent back to the House where it passed, is another example of the Republican's desperate power grab aimed at destroying Democracy and the working class, and catering to the large corporations that own them. Declaring a financial emergency and appointing an "Emergency Manager" who can, with no notice to or approval from voters, cancel contracts, including collective bargaining agreements, force consolidation of schools, townships, cities and counties and unilaterally remove local elected officials is, among many other things, fascism.
As noted by Rachel Maddow, this is not about a budget. This is about using or fabricating a crisis to push for an agenda that you would never be able to sell under normal circumstances. The sooner we recognize that, the sooner we can fix it.
Welcome to the Republican vision for America's future
Adding fuel to the outrage is that fact that Snyder's budget creates the crisis by eliminating most of the state financial aid from local schools and local governments. By appointing an "Emergency Manager" crony to destroy cities, Governor Snyder could then declare an emergency and decide how to handle the crisis that he created. No one would be able to question it because Snyder's crony could suspend the elected officials and remove the town's incorporation all together.
Snyder would only have to declare a financial emergency to invoke those powers -- or, in keeping with Republican traditions -- hire a private company to declare financial emergency and take over oversight of the city.
Michigan's HB 4214, which was just signed into "law" by Snyder, is sponsored by Michigan's 79th district representative Republican Al Pscholka who has a radical preoccupation with eviscerating labor and education reform, and was undoubtedly written by the corporations who would benefit with the appointment of Snyder's "Emergency Manager" and the benefits the ensuing state contracts would reap on them. Matt Endahl has an in depth breakdown of Michigan's intentions.
Like the other illicit power grabs in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, Snyder's intent is to wrestle control away from the people and their unions in the name of financial austerity. The only problem is the austerity they're proposing destroys the working class and leaves the fraudsters responsible for the financial mess this country is in alone.
This battle is far from over, and I'm sure you'll be hearing more about Snyder and company as more corporate lobbying and political collusion horror stories come to light. As noted by Forbes, there is nothing limited about a crony-capitalist, union-busting state government that can erase entire cities or take control of school districts and local governments with the swipe of a pen, and if “Emergency Manager” is not dystopian enough a term for you, perhaps the fact that such radical legislation could go almost unnoticed in the national press is. We've already paid a heavy price because of political appointments made on the whims of corrupt politicians. These plans to "fix" budgets do the exact opposite, and are nothing more than attempted power grabs that will affect every U.S. citizen. Welcome to the Republican vision for America's future.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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