Friday, September 28, 2007
I have been away from this blog for about 3 weeks. This is because I have worked 16, 18 and 24-hour days for the last 3 weeks, including Saturday and Sunday. Michigan faces a total government shutdown starting Monday if legislators cannot 1) pass a series of tax increases and department cuts and figure out what Michigan's revenue will be; and 2) pass the budgets, either as continuation budgets or as new budgets.
For some perspective, we have known for more than a year that this was coming; that the final $2 billion break-the-bank deficit was looming and needed to be solved. It's no longer simply that tax revenues are down. It's that Michigan has a structural deficit. This means that in some cases, regardless of how much money we pull in, the money we spend will be more.
There are some economic models for why this is so, including that it would actually be cheaper for Michigan to spend additional money on federal programs with matching funds than the way we do business now. But that's for another post once I have slept for more than 4 hours and can collect my thoughts. But I digress...
We have continued to know about this problem and have done nothing about it since January. And now, here at the 11th hour, now it finally seems to be a big fucking emergency. Well no shit.
For now, I am just bitter. A shutdown seem inevitable (though I remain optimistic they will take it right to Sunday night then figure it out before a shutdown), and legislative leadership on both sides seem completely incapable of striking a deal. This is not a display of the very definitions of the differences between Dems and Republicans when it comes to taxation. No. This is very obviously inexperienced people more willing to hold on to political philosophy as their bargaining method than reality. Term limits, people. Here they are. This is what they give you. I am fucking disgusted.
People speak of how "tough" this vote is. Bullshit. Vote to raise the income tax, and vote in a responsible series of departmental cuts to implement real change at the deaprtment level on how they do business. We need money...and we need to spend money to make money (again...a post for another time). Doing what's right takes balls. I have seen none. Legislators are more worried about protecting vulnerable seats or fragile political ideologies, so what you get is stalemate. DO what's right. Make your party vote the way you need them to in order to move a bill, and then protect them when the time comes. Both sides are bargaining from the position of "I get all the chips and they get none."
And in the midst of it all, I see my son for an hour here, an hour there. My wife even less. He looked at me yesterday and said "daddy, you not go to capitol today." I wanted to cry. But more out of rage for the chickenshits who can't figure it out.
Leon Drolet, a former state rep, is parking a 15-foot-tall pig at the capitol every day, saying to cut the prok and not raise taxes. He, and almost he alone, is holding a democratic majority in the house hostage out of fear. He has formed recall committees in the most vulnerable (meaning it voted a dem into office but its base actually polls republican) districts and that has them afraid to vote. I swear to God if I have to look at the pig one more day I'll flip out. But equally, I swear that if these folks don't man the fuck up, I will equally flip out.
Here's my call to all 12 of my loyal readers: threaten your own recalls. Here's the deal: legislators in Michigan actually only have one...one...constitutionally-mandated duty, and that is to pass a budget. They have until September 30 every year. If they can't get it together over this weekend, recall them. They have failed. They are playing chess and the pawns and pieces are foster kids, Medicaid recipients, transprotation for the elderly, higher education, and the paychecks of my wife and our neighbors. Screw Leon and his silly band opf Kool-Aid drinking clowns with their empty threats of recalls over a tax increase. He hasn't the money, the manpower, nor the right candidates. Ignore him. But let them kknow that if they fail in their one job...they're done.
Thanks for allowing me to vent. Word is, I will be here all night tonight, and all weekend again as well. And then on Monday, we'll see if they shut down government and send people like my wife home without a paycheck. I take that shit personally.