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Two stories to draw your attention to on this hazy Friday evening:
First, the Detroit News editorial board today slammed State Senate Democrat Mark Brewer for his suggestion about having proposals on the ballot next year that would likely kill what little bit of economy Michigan’s got left:
Mark Brewer seems determined to prove that Michigan Democrats are incapable of providing responsible leadership during the state’s moment of crisis.
The state Democratic Party chairman is proposing a package of ballot initiatives that would raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour, increase and extend unemployment insurance benefits, slash utility rates and place a moratorium on home foreclosures.
Any one of these job-killing, budget-busting measures would drive Michigan beyond the reach of economic recovery. It’s hard to say whether his ideas are more ridiculous or more despicable. Brewer may as well add a proposal requiring the state to write every citizen a $1 million check. The effect of emptying Michigan of job providers and investors would be about the same.
Brewer is a mischief maker whose only objective is to score political points, regardless of the damage done in the process. Last year, he attempted a ballot drive that would have rewritten the state Constitution to enshrine a permanent Democratic advantage.
That self-serving effort was derailed by elected Democrats who recognized it as an indefensible power grab. Who knows what Democrats worried about an anti-Jennifer Granholm backlash in 2010 will do with this package? But if they have any regard for the future of Michigan, they’ll denounce it as a dangerous distraction to the hard work ahead.
Brewer is exploiting the fears and desperation of suffering Michigan residents, trying to deceive them into believing Michigan’s employer base can ease all of their troubles with rich state-mandated benefits. To get votes, he would make Michigan an economic wasteland. To get votes, he would do anything.
Not mentioned in that piece is that Brewer, the Democrat Party Chairman for Michigan, has also suggested that voters be allowed to vote on whether or not employers should be forced by law to provide healthcare coverage to their employees. Even some state Demcrats are stepping back from his ideas:
A list of possible November 2010 ballot proposals from Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer has sparked controversy from within the party, including concerns about their economic impact.
The party this week began an online poll of Democratic activists, tallying where they stand on the proposed ballot measures. They include raising the minimum wage from $7.40 to $10, mandating employer-provided health care and increasing unemployment benefits.
As expected, Brewer drew fire from the business community and Republicans. But some Democrats — including some Grand Rapids legislators — are not embracing his ideas, either.
“I can honestly say that I couldn’t support any of the Brewer proposals,” Rep. Roy Schmidt, D-Grand Rapids, said in an e-mail. “I believe the entire package would be extremely harmful to business growth and development in Michigan. I hope Mr. Brewer will accept that we, as elected officials, are charged with the responsibility to forge public policy and come to conclusions that meet the needs of our citizens.”
Schmidt said he wasn’t clear how Brewer came to his conclusions, or with whom, but they must be based on information that’s very different from what’s presented in the House.
Rep. Robert Dean, D-Grand Rapids, questioned the proposals’ impact on jobs.
“We want to create jobs by helping businesses succeed so they can employ people,” he said. “Would this help the business climate or not?”
Business groups say no.
“This is an attack on job providers,” said Jared Rodriguez, vice president of government affairs for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. “How can you not expect companies to go out of business?”
Rich Studley, president and chief executive officer of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, said the proposals will hurt efforts to create jobs and improve business. Nearby states like Indiana will be the beneficiaries as companies leave Michigan because of the requirements, he said.
Brewer said his ballot initiatives wouldn’t be needed if lawmakers were responsive to people’s needs.
“People haven’t suffered in this state like this since the Depression,” he said. “I don’t think we can afford not to help. A wage of $7.40 per hour still leaves a family of four living in poverty.”
Michigan has the country’s highest unemployment rate, at 15.4%. Does Brewer think that raising the minimum wage is going to keep what few jobs there are left in Michigan, and create more?
Not to fear, US House and Senate Dems want to ride to the rescue with a plan of their own:
WASHINGTON, July 24 (UPI) — Some Democratic lawmakers from Michigan are viewing the Guantanamo detainees as a possible means of boosting their state’s finances, legislators say.
Several Democrat members in the U.S. House and Senate are floating the idea of housing detainees from the U.S. detention facility in Cuba in Michigan prisons set to close because of the state’s budget crunch, The Hill reported Friday.
The move would save or create jobs in a state with the nation’s highest unemployment rate of 15.4 percent.
Democratic Sen. Carl Levin and Reps. Bart Stupak and Dale Kildee say Michigan prisons could house the Gitmo detainees as long as nearby residents and state and local officials agreed to the move.
I’m sure, in addition to raising the minimum wage 35% and mandating that employers provide healthcare coverage, a hometown Gitmo would be huge draw for businesses wanting to invest in Michigan (insert eye roll here).
As a side note, and assuming that the Gitmo prisioners will be housed in Michigan at some point in the future, I wonder what the criminal ratio would be between a) the existing hardcore criminals already serving time in MI prisons, b) the Gitmo terrorists, and c) the corruptocrats in the Michagan Democrat party? Hmmm …
Cross-posted to Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.