Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bishop Declares War on Public Employees

Look at trimming tax credits for business? Make everyone pay their fair share? Oh, hell no. Mike Bishop decides it is time for working people to keep on running that "race to the bottom" and take more pay and benefit cuts. See if we can bust their unions, too, while we are at it.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop says the pay of teachers, professors and state and local government workers should be cut by 5 percent for the next three years to save money.

He told reporters Tuesday that he's proposing a constitutional amendment to go to the voters in August that would suspend collective bargaining rights and allow the pay cut to take effect.

He also is proposing that all public employees "pay 20 percent of their health care premiums unless they participate in a health savings account or wellness program." This, and "other changes" supposedly would eliminate the deficit we are facing for next year.

More details to come. House Democrats were busy practicing their own bit of self-flagellation today by proposing the end of lifetime benefits for lawmakers. Probably a good idea, but the timing of this announcement plays right into the hands of the angry teabagger crowd that seems to be ruling the discourse lately - and it comes off as pandering to the insane outbursts of the extreme right. That the way this year is going to go? Thousands of people come down to Lansing to protest the cuts to schools, and no response is made for that, but boy oh boy, let the "drown government" crowd utter a peep, and we get right on it.

Makes you wonder if they will ever get around to funding K-12. Or the Promise Scholarship. Or Pure Michigan. Or any of those things that really matter to our quality of life here in this state. And then they wonder why "the base" (which a short time ago meant "the majority of the public") is less than enthused about getting out to vote for them this time around.