REDEFINING GOVERNMENTAL ‘POWER GRABS’…. If there’s one thing we know about the conservative Republican ideology, it’s that they love local control and they loathe governmental power-grabs.
Except, that is, when they believe the opposite.
Recent developments in Michigan and its new Republican administration are so astounding, I literally didn’t believe the reports when they first came out. And yet, shocking though they may be, those reports are true and represent a genuine assault on a credible system of government.
Newly elected Republican governor, Rick Snyder, is set to pass one of the most sweeping, anti-democratic pieces of legislation in the country — and almost no one is talking about it.
Snyder’s law gives the state government the power not only to break up unions, but to dissolve entire local governments and place appointed “Emergency Managers” in their stead. But that’s not all — whole cities could be eliminated if Emergency Managers and the governor choose to do so. And Snyder can fire elected officials unilaterally, without any input from voters. It doesn’t get much more anti-Democratic than that.
Except it does. The governor simply has to declare a financial emergency to invoke these powers — or he can hire a private company to declare financial emergency and take over oversight of the city. That’s right, a private corporation can declare your city in a state of financial emergency and send in its Emergency Manager, fire your elected officials, and reap the benefits of the ensuing state contracts.
You might be thinking, “C’mon, that can’t be right.” I’m afraid it is. Michigan’s new Republican governor is cutting funding to municipalities, and if they struggle financially as a consequence, he will have the power to simply take over those municipalities if he believes he should.
And once Snyder does take over these local governments, by virtue of his own whims, he can impose a local dictator — called an “Emergency Manager” — who will have the authority to undo collective bargaining agreements, scrap contracts, and even undo the results of elections.
And if that weren’t quite enough, the local dictator, at the behest of the new Republican governor or a designated corporate ally, can even “disincorporate or dissolve” an entire municipal government — effectively making a local government disappear — without any input from the public whatsoever.
I’m completely serious.
And by the way, the Tea Party crowd — those folks who worry about excessive government overreach and power-grabs — thinks all of this is just great.
One of the Republican state lawmakers who supports this effort characterized the plan as “financial martial law” — and as far as he’s concerned, that’s not a criticism, that’s a defense for this little scheme.
All of this, by the way, is being pushed by Gov. Rick Snyder (R), after just two months on the job. He’s the same rookie governor who’s desperate to slash corporate taxes in Michigan, while raising taxes on the working poor.
All of those voters who thought it’d be a good idea to elect a bunch of Republicans in 2010? I really wish they’d done just a little more homework before heading to the polls.