Cynical Synapse

Fri, 28 Sep 2007

Inept Politicians Fail Michigan’s Citizens; Deserve to be Fired

Filed under: Behavior, Michigan, Politics, Rants, Take action — cynicalsynapse @ 5:00 pm

There are 148 of them and they’ve been huffing and puffing to no avail about $1.75 billion budget gap since before they took up residence in the capital building last January. I know they do other things, but the budget is the only thing they really have to take care of and that’s what the citizens hired them for. With all but essential health and safety services looking like they’ll be shut down at midnight on Sunday, it becomes painfully obvious the legislators have failed in their most critical duty. If the rest of us proved to be that inept on our jobs, would we still have that job? Susan Demas made similar remarks in her commentary in yesterday’s Battle Creek Enquirer. I challenge Michigan voters to remember this next election!

Now let’s consider that Michigan is one of only 11 states that has a full-time legislature. That’s right, 39 other states get by with a part-time legislature. Now, to add insult to injury, only California pays their legislators more than Michigan does. So, here’s what our do-nothing state senators and representatives are costing us. For not doing their jobs, they each collect a base salary of $79,650 (second highest in the nation), plus a monthly per diem for expenses of $1,000. In just salary and per diem, we’re paying $13,564,200.00 for a bunch of people who can’t get the job done. The actual cost is probably closer to three or four times that once you factor in benefits and their office staffs.

A Detroit Free Press editorial claims foolish politics ruins [the] state. Although we all know it’s more complicated, they summarize the issue as Republicans, who hold the majority in the Senate, poo-pooing Democratic Gov. Granholm’s insistence on raising taxes. It seems the Republicans want to cut their way out of the budget deficit, but they’ve failed to come up with a plan that can do that. The Democratic House can’t seem to figure out how to bring the other two sides together. As the Free Press says, the three parties “comprise a tyranny of incompetence that’s unable to lead, unable to work together, and has no discernable plan even now for getting the state out of this predicament.” The shutdown will have very real impacts on daily living, not to mention the serious long-term consequences for the state’s economy.

All three sides say they agree government reform is an important element to help contain the cost of government. But almost no reforms have been agreed upon. The Freep hits the nail on the head:

After seven months, reasonably capable leadership should have been able to sort out the give-and-take among all three of those options and come up with something that everyone could live with. There have to be cuts. There must be a tax increase. And reforms have got to begin to take hold in the next 12 months to prevent this all from happening again.

To the legislature: in the words of Larry the Cable Guy, “Git-r-done!” And since you can’t come up with your own ideas, how about this for starters? Eliminate the state legislature! The way I see it, that’s both a reform and a $54.3 million cut the Republicans should be able to live with since it culls a whole ineffective and wasteful body from state government. Gee—only $1.69 billion to go…

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