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Rich People Applauding Billionaires at Grand Rapids Econ Club event: Betsy and Dick DeVos share a moment

January 24, 2017

Yesterday, MLive ran the following headline, Shinola leader’s comments about Detroit education draws applause for Betsy DeVos.copy-econgr_logo

The article was based upon a talk given by billionaire businessman Jacques Panis, founder of Shinola, a manufacturer based in Detroit.

After his lecture, Panis was joined on stage by Dick DeVos, since this was an Econ Club of Grand Rapids event. However, MLive doesn’t bother to mention it was an Econ Club event until about half way through the article.

Panis was critical of the Detroit Public School system, which is why he got such an applause. The very same people who support the privatization of public education and the Great Lakes Education Project are the same people who have endorsed Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. So, of course the people who make up the capitalist class in Grand Rapids (those who are members of the Econ Club) applauded the Detroit businessman for making critical comments about Detroit’s Public Education system.

The MLive reporter did fail to mention that Betsy DeVos through her Great Lakes Education Project was the leader behind the campaign to get the Michigan Legislature to further influence public education in Detroit, based on solid reporting by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network

However, the MLive story goes on to quote Dick DeVos:

“I dare say you have a partner in your quest for a better education for all Americans right here in the room with us,” he said in a nod to his wife, Betsy DeVos, who was sitting in audience.


Ok, so you have an event that is hosted by the Econ Club, which is made up of the Grand Rapids capitalist class, who invites a speaker that trashes Detroit Public Schools and then is joined on stage by Dick DeVos, who, along with Betsy are two of the biggest proponents of privatizing public education in the country. The audience of local elites applauds the Detroit billionaire and the West Michigan billionaire and that is what is called journalism in this town.

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