Monday, September 10, 2007

Detroit News calls for income tax increase

And there you have it. Even the News concedes the obvious.

There's no way to get around the fact that taxpayers will be penalized for the mismanagement of their political leaders. We have come to the conclusion that the best way out of this mess is an increase in the income tax. We would suggest no more than a half-percent increase in the tax rate, taking it to 4.4 percent from the current 3.9 percent, or roughly a 10 percent hike.

That "mismanagement" would be endless tax cuts in the face of declining revenues. The News doesn't bother to mention that they were the ones cheerleading the "mismanagement" every step of the way, but at least they are now calling for the money we need to operate the basic necessities of the government.

It's about time.

They only get us halfway there. They paper over the rest by calling for these miraculous "reforms" and all the imaginary savings that they would supposedly bring.

Proposals have been placed on the table for revamping health insurance benefits for public employees, including teachers; for privatizing prison services and reducing the inmate population; for curbing Medicaid, and for a host of other money saving measures.

Those proposals should be passed to get the remaining $950 million.

Not sure how they arrive at that number. Numerous examples of privatization have proven to cost us more money in the long run, revamping insurance won't get anywhere near the numbers you need (and insurance, even revamped, is bound to keep increasing), and "curbing Medicaid" (how do you do that? tell people not to get sick?) only passes on the cost to hospitals and insurers, who will in turn pass that cost on to you. It's a back door tax increase. The News fails to mention that, which is odd given all the hand-wringing they do over "struggling Michigan families".

But never mind, let them have their fantasy. At least they are halfway out of denial. It's a step in the right direction.

Now we are going to find out the answer to the question that has been on all of our minds- Who is more extreme, the editorial board of the Detroit News, or the leadership of the MI GOP?

According to an article in the News itself, it's Saul and the people who pull his strings. Seems there is discontent in the ranks of the Republican army. The Bush Brand of drown government conservatism is making their lives difficult, and Saul isn't helping.

A GOP legislative staffer, who asked to remain anonymous, said Republican lawmakers frequently grumble behind closed doors that they realize they'll eventually have to vote for a tax hike and that Anuzis' diatribes are making their jobs tougher and a resolution more elusive.


Among lawmakers' complaints: It's unprecedented for a party chairman to dictate policy to legislators of his own party.

Really? Does the name Betsy strike a bell with any of you folks?

more grumbles over the flip
Seriously, how can they even suggest this is "unprecedented"? Are their memories really that short?

Anuzis said it's his role to "reflect the feeling of the party. We want real reform first before discussion of any tax increase. I think I am representing the views of our party members."

He noted that the Republican State Committee last month unanimously passed a resolution calling for government reforms and tax cuts before any tax increases are considered.

So, why didn't their top lapdog Bishop get that done for them then? Could it be that they might have a revolt on their hands?

One Republican lawmaker, who asked not to be named because of concerns about crossing swords with party leaders, said: "The last thing we need is somebody who is not an elected official publicly hammering on us. He's not the one who has to put his name on the line and vote for or against this. I've never seen this before, and I've been in the party a lot of years, where a party chair is dictating policy. It's inappropriate and a growing number of us are sick and tired of it."

Wait. Back up here. Don't be fooled by this sudden Republican amnesia.

Her name was Betsy Devos, you did her bidding, you sold your soul when you took her checks, and to claim now "I've never seen this before" is ludicrous. Saul is a pale comparison to Betsy.

Here is a little refresher. The year is 2003.

The state GOP's governing committee passed a resolution opposing any pause in the rate cut on Nov. 22. On Tuesday, GOP Chairwoman Betsy DeVos sent a memo to Republican lawmakers telling them "we need to stand firm to keep the income tax rollback in place."

Democrats charge that DeVos' outspoken opposition to tampering with the tax cut is intimidating to GOP lawmakers worried about future political career options.

"She apparently carries the big stick in the party," said Sen. Robert Emerson of Flint, the Democratic leader in the Senate.

And what are we hearing from Saul now?

In Friday's e-mail after the House and Senate again failed to come to an agreement on the budget, Anuzis wrote: "Republicans stood firm, demanding real reforms, budgets that live within our means and NO NEW TAXES. Call your Republican state senator and representative and thank them for standing up for the taxpayers of Michigan!!!"

Saul can't threaten to withhold campaign donations, but he sure can use lots of exclamation points!!!

And notice the repetition of the command "stand firm".

Yep. Pretty obvious who controls the Republican Party to this day- the very same people who brought the Republicans crushing defeat in 2006. If the future of the state weren't at stake, it might be fun to let Saul dance on the DeVos puppet strings forever. Unfortunately circumstances dictate otherwise.

Sensible, moderate Republicans need to stand up and face reality, if there are any of you left. Clinging to the Bush Brand did you no favors in 2006; it won't do you any favors in 2008.

Time to reject the policies of extremism and do the right thing for the people of this state.

The Detroit News says so. You wouldn't want to disappoint them.