It is hardly a secret that Republicans exist solely for the benefit of the rich, corporations, and the religious. It is particularly evident in Republican-controlled states where Republican governors and legislatures are stealing everything from the people, and state governments, and giving the booty to corporations and the rich. Now, it appears that finally one state’s population has had enough of Republicans’ ‘reverse Robin Hood‘ economic policies and are sidestepping the Republican governor and legislature by appealing directly to the people for redress, and much-needed funding for infrastructure repairs. Of course the mainstream media has not reported on events in Michigan because the last thing corporate media wants is to give Americans across the country the idea that they have power to put a stop to Republicans transferring wealth to corporations and the rich at the expense of the poor, elderly, students, middle class, and infrastructure.
Anyone keeping track of corporate-puppet Rick Snyder’s wealth transfer in Michigan understands that the state is being ravaged to increase wealth for corporations. A group of Michigan residents is not only aware that their state is in the grips of corporations, they have watched their roads, bridges, and highways crumble around them while the Governor complains there is no money for transportation repairs due to revenue shortfalls resulting from tax cuts for corporations. Since Governor Snyder or the Republican legislature refuse to take any actions to address the decrepit state of Michigan’s roads, a group of Michigan citizens is circumventing the governor and state legislature and going straight to the people. The “citizen-initiated ballot initiative” is a referendum to raise corporate taxes from 6-percent to 11-percent to raise close to $1 billion to repair the fourth worst roads in the entire nation. The citizens are acutely aware that even if the Republican legislature miraculously pass legislation rescinding even a part of the “massive tax giveaways” to Snyder’s corporate friends, the governor would never sign the legislation; he may even appoint an ’emergency manager’ to disband the legislature if they even thought of taking away the gifts to corporations.
The crux of the problem, typical of Republican-led states across the nation, was best explained by Tom Lutz of “Citizens For Fair Taxes.” Lutz said, “They (Snyder and Republicans) promised us that giving away billions of dollars in tax cuts to corporations and CEOs would lead to more and better work for Michiganders, but the only thing they did was make life harder on Michigan’s middle class and working people. They raised taxes on seniors and retirees. They raised property taxes on working families and the middle class, and they even raised taxes on poor families with children. But none of that money went to capital or key funding for infrastructure. It was simply given to corporations who took it as profit. This ballot proposal will bring fairness back to families who have paid more than their fair share.”
According to Citizens for Fair Taxes, what is happening in Michigan is exactly what is happening in every other red state and would be the case nationally if Republicans controlled all three branches of government. Snyder and Republicans handed corporations over $2 billion in tax cuts being paid for with tax hikes worth $1.6 billion on poor and middle class families and senior citizens. Fair Tax Fix reports that the Snyder-Republican corporate tax giveaway is the “single biggest shift in money from poor, middle class, and senior individuals to corporations in Michigan history.” Of course, the trickle down pledge that handing over billions to corporations would create a job bonanza never came to fruition because it was never intended to do anything but transfer wealth.
In its 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the state revealed that while corporations “barely contributed $400 million to state coffers,” poor and middle class families and seniors watched their taxes “skyrocket 25% that sent $8 billion” to the state treasury to fund corporate tax cuts. The result of the wealth transfer through “monstrous corporate tax cuts” has not created jobs or helped Michigan workers; but they were never meant to. In fact, according to study and report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Michigan median income dropped an astounding 21.6% to only $48,273 last year compared to $61,551 before Snyder and Republicans began transferring income from regular households to wealthy corporations. It is noteworthy that there is a nearly identical correlation between the 25% tax hike on regular Michigan residents and the nearly 22% decline in their income.
As the ballot initiative’s organizers noted, this direct approach circumventing the Republican legislature and corporate governor “may well be the only way to fight back against failed and harmful Republican policies and laws.” The group intends on expanding ballot initiative scope to create an independent commission to “fairly redraw” gerrymandered Republican districts and reinstate a fair graduated income tax. It is a clever means of combatting an aggressive Republican legislature and governor that continues stealthily inserting nasty appropriations “into every law they pass to prevent citizens from taking action” or having a voice in democracy.
Remember, Snyder has already instituted an “emergency manager” law that abolishes city council, mayoral, and school district” authority and given one Snyder appointee dictatorial power, but the Republicans have not completely wiped out democratic representation through abolishing the referendum process; the last semblance of democracy and likely the people’s last, and only, opportunity to rein in Snyder’s fascist takeover of Michigan. This populist move is about so much more than improving Michigan’s pathetic roads, or the transfer of wealth from the people directly to corporations and it should be a model for other sad, poor, and beleaguered Americans living in Republican-controlled states suffering the gross wealth transfer to the rich and corporations.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.