At the Kings’ Command: Snyder Gets His Marching Orders for 2012
On January 24, MLive posted two stories about a “2012 Turnaround Plan” for Michigan that was being presented by the Business Leaders for Michigan. GRIID did a story previously on this gang of robber barons, and showed how they were using the DeVos-funded Mackinac Center as a resource for the group’s recommendations. The connected groups are powered by the wealthiest Michigan capitalists. The BLM, which we called “The Kings of Michigan,” appears to be running the state—and also Snyder, who they hand-picked and who is now following their orders. Don’t believe that? Just compare his campaign platform to an identical plan created by the Mackinac Policy Center and transferred to the BLM in 2009. Snyder had been prepped with their own “ten-point plan” to derail democracy in the state and place it in their hungry hands. Everything he’s done since has been on the wish list of the BLM.
And now the kings have issued their demands for Snyder’s 2012 legislative focus. Jim Harger’s article is little more than a rephrasing of the BLM’s press release. Melissa Anders’ story, while still short and completely uncritical, offers a few more details.
I was going to fault the reporters for paper-thin content until I went to the BLM site to see the kings’ commandments for myself. The plan was nearly impossible to find—buried beneath layers of lists of hollow buzz words and catchphrases and colorful charts that explained nothing. This was the same hide-the-real-message tactic that they had Snyder use during his campaign so he could pose as a moderate and get elected.
When I finally found the details, it was clear that the group had finessed their original 2009 plan, created before they selected Snyder as our next governor. But the 2012 version offers some new information that will undoubtedly set the agenda in Lansing for the coming year. Since a lot of it is in capitalist-speak, I’ll offer translations of some of the group’s major agenda points:
Become the Gateway to the Midwest.
Translation: Pour money into the Detroit airports and turn them into an “Aerotropolis”; build another bridge to Canada.
Develop a Life Sciences Hub.
Translation: Focus on health care as a major “industry” here. Attract more big pharma companies to the state. This makes sense when you look at the list of BLM members, which include executives from Dow Chemical, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Perrigo.
Take Advantage of Michigan’s Natural Resources.
Translation: Rape the state by selling off water rights, permit timberland destruction, promote shale oil drilling, etc. This step also mentions our “agricultural know-how” and how it can be married to destructive, monster-sized agri-businesses (called “high-yield agriculture” in the plan).
Make Michigan a Global Engineering Village.
Translation: Close down factories with living-wage jobs for the working class and get rid of those nagging unions. Skim off our “engineering expertise,” people with specialized degrees, and sell their skills on the world market.
Make Michigan More Attractive to Out-of-State Businesses.
Translation: Continue to weaken union power by taking away collective bargaining, workers’ compensation rights, and lowering or eliminating business taxes all together (something already being discussed in Lansing; Snyder eliminated the Michigan Business Tax in 2011). Improve the “regulatory climate” by reducing or eliminating regulations on business and industry. Eliminate the personal property tax. (This step is called out plainly instead of being hedged with buzz words, so it’s clearly Priority One. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has also called for this step).
Ask yourself: Can Michigan as a right-to-work state be far behind?
Make Urban Centers More Attractive to Knowledge Workers.
Translation: Can anyone say “gentrification”? Can anyone say “Art Prize”? Can anyone say, “We want more hipsters here?”
Efficiently and Effectively Provide Public Services.
Translation: This step has privatization and power-grabbing measures such as One Kent written all over it. It will shift the higher costs of these types of services to the citizens of Michigan, and at the same time will open up fat-cat contracts for various businesses.
Translation: Lower wages and take away benefits from state workers. Privatize prison management. Privatize road and infrastructure care. Snyder achieved some of these steps in 2011.
Efficiently and Effectively Provide School Services.
Translation: This step mentions the high pay of teachers and the unnecessary number of schools, along with too little accountability for performance. In other words, charter schools, charter schools, charter schools…Dick and Betsy DeVos’s dream come true. Snyder drove in the thin edge of the wedge on this issue in 2011 with Senate Bill 618.
Apparently what Snyder will be doing in 2012 is more of what he’s done in 2011: take away the power of citizens’ votes…impoverish working class and elderly citizens to hand over millions of dollars to corporations…bust unions…privatize public services…and create a climate that allows the Kings of Michigan and their peers to double, triple, quadruple their personal wealth at the cost of working citizens.
All this wrapped up in a nice little package that claims it will “turn around” Michigan for all of us, with touching photos on the front and back covers of the brochure. Is anyone still buying this?
The Business Leaders for Michigan. Get to know their names. Look at their companies. These are the people who must be dethroned if we are going to save our state from plutocracy.