When our congressman, U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, was asked about it at the recent town hall meeting, he gave the standard Republican answer that now is not the time to raise taxes. That answer does not fly anymore.
The Republicans got 98 percent of what they wanted by their own admission in the recent debt limit hike and the stock market immediately plunged by record amounts. This indicates that the Republican fallacy that the rich will use this money to invest in the future, thereby creating jobs, is just that — a fallacy. Not only did the stock market plunge, but they are putting all of this money into gold, silver and platinum. While stock markets plunge, the price of precious metals is soaring to new highs.
I get the picture that all of these millionaires and billionaires are sitting around their mansions like Silas Marner, quietly counting their hoards of money and watching it accumulate and dancing with glee on their good fortune.
Republicans can’t use that argument any longer. So what are they afraid of? Re-election is what they are afraid of. They are deathly afraid of reneging on their campaign promises of (read their lips) “no new taxes.” It’s getting to the point where it might be better to renege on that promise than to keep it, for the majority of people are going to believe that it was a bad idea in the first place. Tax cuts don’t build roads, taxes do. Republicans should rethink that campaign promise.
Gov. Rick Snyder ran on the campaign issue that he could create new jobs; at least he indicated that he had experience in doing so in the private sector. I don’t think he can produce a single name of a person for whom he has personally created a permanent job, past or present. Instead, his major accomplishment so far is to eliminate some 4,000 teaching jobs and sent them packing to other states or into other positions, if they can find them.
He has reduced appropriations to schools to the extent that many school systems have to “privatize” custodial services and/or school bus drivers. Since a private company can only survive by making a profit, how is this possible? The answer is quite simple. Instead of paying union members who may have won decent wages, benefits and retirement advantages, the companies can hire scab labor at the minimum wage or less, and provide absolutely no benefits and no hope of a retirement income other than Social Security.
The effect is to take a worker with a reasonable wage and benefits and replace him/her with a servant who is willing to work at a low wage with no benefits. The result is a deliberate circumvention of the union, and is degrading and insulting.
Moreover, it may backfire in the long run — for, with cheap untrained labor, maintenance of equipment and grounds is likely to suffer, thereby costing much more in repair and replacement.
Gov. Snyder seems to think that teachers are servants similar to house maids or valets. He has enacted legislation to treat experienced tenured teachers as if they were rookies. They must undergo rigorous tests to prove their competence.
While I admit that there is an increasing truth that they may not keep up with current technology, I think most make an effort to do so, and even make an effort to do it. His legislation seems to force the issue unnecessarily. Methinks we have not heard all of the arguments on this issue.
He has succeeded in stripping them of some of their benefits; namely on their health benefits. Health benefits is one of the perks that they have fought long and hard for, yet they gave in to the demands of the current government.
Gov. Snyder seems to be under the impression that the primary motivation to becoming a teacher is greed.
If the Republican administration continues to have its way, Michigan will become another Texas — which has a very high employment record, but ranks eighth on the list of states with a large percentage of people who live below the poverty line (see statemaster.com). In other words, although their employment rate is high, there are an awful lot of people who work for the minimum wage or less.
I’d hate to see Michigan become a state of serfs while the Silas Millionaires sit around in their mansions, counting their stacks of gold.
— By Ralph Wiltse