1. The Republican Supermajority- Our government was set up to have checks and balances. When one party, especially if it is lead by an extreme element in that party, takes power of all the branches of Government, there are no checks or balances. The majority party is like a kid in a candy shop. The minority party can do nothing more than window shop. Since the Republicans obtained a supermajority, we have seen bills pass that should not even have made it out of committee.
2. ALEC-The American Legislative Exchange Council is a so called non-partisan group whose membership includes powerful Republican national and state elected officials. Much of their model legislation is introduced and passed (thanks to the supermajority), as opposed to legislation that constituents have asked for. Some of our elected officials, like Senator Darwin Booher, even pay for their ALEC membership with our tax dollars.
3. The 1%- The Devos’, Snyder’s, etc. have the money to make sure that governmental policy favors themselves and their wealthy friends. They are able to do this in two ways. First, they donate large sums of money to political candidates, or create non-profit organizations (i.e. Great Lakes Education Project), in order to advance their agenda. Second, they use their own money to get themselves elected like Governor Snyder did and like Dick DeVos tried to do.
4. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy- The Mackinac Center also masquerades as a non-partisian organization. It is really an extreme right wing “think tank.” The Mackinac Center publishes plenty of propaganda, and they are very good at influencing our Republicans elected officials.
5. The Poor Economy- The book The Shock Doctrine gives us some great insight into what is happening in Michigan. The book’s premise is that people take advantage of crisis in order to bring about sweeping changes that wouldn’t be allowed otherwise. During these times of crisis, principles, morals, and ethics are often disregarded. The poor economy has swept in an extreme right wing element of the Republican party, and they have been very successful at advancing their agenda by using the crisis to justify their changes. If our economy had been better, Republicans would not have been able to justify eliminating taxes on most Michigan businesses. They also wouldn’t have been able to push through the Emergency Manager Act (PA-4). Let’s hope the economy improves enough in 2012 that we can drop this one off the list of threats.
Just missed the list: The Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Best reader suggestion: Voter apathy. Thanks Scott B.