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Posted on Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Gov. Snyder uses 'relentless positive action' to push through tax changes and other reforms

By Peter Luke


Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder addresses supporters at his Election Night party in Detroit last Nov. 2. Snyder has moved quickly in his first six months in office, overhauling the tax code and pushing educational reform, among other items. Snyder came up with the concept of “dog years” to describe the pace, seeking to cram four years of work into six months, or 182 days, which ended Friday.

AP Photo | Carlos Osorio

LANSING -- With its bare walls, some upholstered chairs and a conference table, Gov. Rick Snyder's office is kind of like a hotel lobby without the charm.

He mentions something about needing to put some Michigan-themed art on display, but it is clear that six months after he moved in, it’s still not a top priority.

His priorities are elsewhere and they are being knocked off, one by one, through a political management style Snyder calls “relentless positive action.” While reaction is mixed as to whether it’s all positive, the dominant view of his record so far is one of relentless action:

• The tax code’s been overhauled; the budget balanced four months ahead of past practice.

• The first pieces of the education agenda he announced in April, tenure reform, could be on his desk this month. So too could a measure requiring all public employees in Michigan to pay more for their health-care benefits.

• A regulatory review aims to reconsider decades worth of rules and regulations businesses may oppose, but in some cases also favor because they bring financial benefit.

Snyder came up with the concept of “dog years” to describe the pace, seeking to cram four years of work into six months, or 182 days, which ended Friday.

View a timeline of Rick Snyder's first six months in office.

It helped that he was navigating his way through a large number of new lawmakers. He also paid less deference to ideological script.

“I’ve been very impressed in that they’ve stuck with what they wanted to do and got 90 percent of what they wanted to get done, done,” said Bob Emerson, a Democrat who served a quarter-century in the Legislature and was Gov. Jennifer Granholm's budget director for four.

“For a guy who came in with no experience and supposedly an amateur in dealing with the Legislature, he’s done an incredibly good job of working with people. It’s even hard to pick a fight with him because the perception is that he doesn’t get defensive and sticks with what he wants to do.”


Rick Synder's actions as governor has met with plenty of opposition, including this protest in March by University of Michigan students angered by university President Mary Sue Coleman's selection of Snyder as the spring commencement speaker.

Melanie Maxwell I

Critics say it was easy for Snyder, given big majorities of fellow Republicans in the Legislature. But those Republicans had to cast some tough votes. Extending the income tax to some pension income was one. Cutting K-12 school funding was another.

In an interview this past week, Snyder said the aim of it all -- and the second-half agenda he’ll outline in the fall -- is to rebuild an employment base that cratered from Hancock to Detroit.

He intends to gauge success by how Michigan fares compared to the national average in terms of payroll employment and personal income growth after years of falling further and further behind on those measures.

“It’s not just about jobs, it’s about better jobs, ” Snyder said, and by the end of his first term “we’ll be significantly better off. I mean we’re on a positive path here.”

State government won't be creating the jobs, he added, "but we’re creating a better environment for success. By removing those (tax and regulatory) impediments, if you let basic economics work, we should grow faster than the national average and start going higher.”

Add in a talent pool he said is unsurpassed and an economic development strategy that tends first to the needs of state-based companies and Snyder said Michigan will create the best “value” for employers in the nation.

Democrats, however, say job growth since the 2009 trough is already outpacing many states and that there is no evidence a $1.6 billion business tax cut will lead to significant job creation. They point to the dozens of tax cuts of the 1990s that preceded the decade of job loss that followed.

“There are businesses that will benefit, no question,” said Sen. Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing, the Democratic leader in the Senate. “But the governor can’t point to one study that says that that kind of an indiscriminate tax cut will create a job. If he could, he would.”

Keeping his promises

Snyder came into office promising two things off the bat: Eliminating the Michigan Business Tax and writing a state budget that corrected the annual imbalance between revenues and spending. In doing both, he had to depart from Republican orthodoxy that far prefers budget reduction to tax increases when paying for tax cuts.

The result is significant, a $1.4 billion increase in income tax revenue from taxing pensions by varying degrees for those born after 1945, scrapping scheduled rate cuts and scaling back a variety of exemptions. It's an unprecedented shift in tax burden from the 100,000 companies that will no longer have to pay a state business tax to individuals.

Snyder said taxing business owners twice, once on their income and secondly through the MBT, was unfair and stifled job growth. Whether taxing pensions in the manner lawmakers approved is constitutional, however, awaits a ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court. Public employee retirees will argue it's not.

Also unpopular is a state budget that reduces base funding for K-12 schools by $470 per pupil, despite a $600 million surplus in a state aid fund constructed by voters through the Proposal A school-finance changes of 1994. The budget effectively takes $400 million of that surplus to help fund higher education.

Though his Democratic predecessor approved a similar, but temporary transfer, Snyder says education funding will be considered in a more comprehensive fashion to take in preschool through the first two years of college.

And even if school-aid revenue grows, local districts shouldn’t count on automatic annual increases. Instead they will be rewarded for improved student performance and non-instructional cost cutting. Republican lawmakers taking heat back home may break from the governor on that, particularly as elections near next year, when pressure will grow to restore some of this year’s cuts.

The House and Senate contain 90 members new to the chambers, run by large GOP majorities who came into office with the same pledge as Snyder: Improve the economy and fix a dysfunctional state government.

The difference is Snyder had detailed plans and top aides with decades of Capitol experience. They advised the new governor to act fast.

The Republican majorities he has relied upon, however, might not be there for other priorities, such as a 1-percent tax on health insurance claims to finance Medicaid health care or authorization for a new international bridge spanning the Detroit River.

For that he needs Democrats and Democrats aren’t happy.

Unhappy Democrats

In his inaugural address and first State of the State speech, Snyder repeated a central theme of his campaign, that he would work in a non-partisan fashion.

Whitmer said she’s had, at most, three meaningful conversations with the governor. She said Snyder’s pledge of “bipartisanship, moving all of Michigan together and shared sacrifice” was just “rhetoric.”

“I’m a big fan of Bill Milliken and when he endorsed him and I heard all of those opening speeches, I was hopeful,” she said. “But it’s been the same-old Republican, partisan top-down style.”

If the votes on the floors of the Legislature have been partisan, however, many parts of the agenda are hardly bedrock GOP. Medicaid was largely preserved in the budget. While public employees are being asked for concessions, Democrats in other states have asked for more.

Last week’s coordination of all state child care and development programs into one office within the Department of Education could make Michigan a national leader. This year’s expected move to match the unemployed and underemployed with job openings in their fields is a variation on a program Granholm launched.

Detroit, Grand Rapids and Flint are critical to Michigan’s economic future, Snyder says. And while he says state government isn’t in the job-creation business, the state’s economic development efforts are arguably more robust than they were before. Pure Michigan is now the state’s unifying brand, funded with $25 million in annual advertising.

“We have tremendous asset potential, but we haven’t done a great job of understanding what assets we have and optimizing them,” Snyder says in the business lingo he has yet to shed in a job that requires messaging that resonates with his constituents.

Snyder's chief message is his certitude that his policies will put Michigan on the right track even if large majorities in polls still believe Michigan is headed in the wrong direction.

“I talk to lots of people and you get a lot of positive support from just average people who talk about how excited they are to see good things going on,” Snyder said. “And I get a lot of people who say, 'I don’t agree with everything you're doing, but I appreciate the fact that there’s leadership now and we’re moving forward.’ ”

“And then we get some people who just don’t like it,” he said, not sounding terribly concerned how broad that view might be.

Contact Peter Luke at (517) 487-8888 ext. 235 or e-mail him at



Tue, Jul 5, 2011 : 1:18 p.m.

Rick Snyder is the BEST thing to happen to this state in over 8 years! Our former governor took less than two months to leave our state and move back to California, for a government (university) job. Back to where she belongs, in an environment that only knows how to raise tuition on working families trying to do the right thing for their kids futures. Thanks Rick for being courageous (taxing pensions just like those of us that get our 401K's taxed, and that is OUR money, not taxpayer money) Thanks Rick for bringing teacher tenure into question. It is about time. Thanks Rick for pointing Michigan in the direction of doing, instead of simply having its hand out (like most in this state that want something for nothing) Thanks Rick, for keeping Virg Benero out of the state house. Can you imagine a Union guy running our Union State? Please......


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

I truly love the myths that both sides are creating here. It is lovely to see the way myth is create from whole cloth. Were there tax cuts on business? Yes, but most of the businesses that saw cuts were small businesses, owned not by rich CEO's but by your neighbors. Did some businesses see tax increases? Yes, companies like Ford and Meijer have both admitted their taxes to the state are going up. Did the state tax pensions? Yes, but most of it falls on people who are under 65 (Pensions for people 50 to 65 in Michigan amount to $7,500,000,000.00 in income). Most people over the age of 65 and most who draw only social security will see no state taxes. What is rich in Michigan? According to Jeff Irwin's graduated income tax bill, $80,000 for a couple is rich. What age group has the highest percentage of rich people? Over 55 years of age. In another survey the bulge runs from 55 to 70. If you want to tax the "RICH" you have to be willing to tax older folks. Does the recall have a chance? Yes, it does the petitions will probably make it there are enough State and Local government employees in the state to get the petitions half way, so each only needs 1 more person to agree to sign it and you have enough. Will the recall election succeed? Hard to tell, but unlikely given history. Did I say back in December that in 6 months if the Governor did it right a lot of folks would dislike him? Yes. Wake up folks, Michigan needed an overhaul. If you don't like the way the overhaul is going, call your congressman and get involved. NPR highlighted a poll today of college students that shows most have (and have had for years!) an unfavorable view of the state and cannot wait to finish college and leave. We need to get the house in order or the only people we will have are the ones that cannot afford to leave.


Wed, Jul 6, 2011 : 12:13 a.m.

As if your posts are not?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Jul 5, 2011 : 11:08 a.m.

I got my nomenclature wrong. My bad. The point remains. And there is a way to distinguish between Joe the Plumber and Fieger Law, taxing the latter but not the former. And it was the latter who were paying the majority of the $1.8 billion that was given away as a gift by Snyder and his rubber-stamp legislature. But I do love the way you always start your posts with a neutral statement like "I truly love the myths that both sides are creating here. It is lovely to see the way myth is create from whole cloth" but everything that follows is always slanted to one side. Always. Good Night and Good Luck


Tue, Jul 5, 2011 : 3:53 a.m.

Sorry - Try again. The cuts were on NON-"C" type corporations. Most of the large companies in the state are "C" or stock type corporations, even many of the private corporations are still "C" type. You have partnerships, limited liability, and other non-stock corporations. Most are small, many very small. Most are the plumber, the landscaper or someone else who is in business with one or two or maybe 3 employees. A few (maybe even 1 or 2% of the 100,000 companies that got relief) are large. The vast majority are small. Just to put it in perspective. The average company is getting $1,800 in tax relief. Not exactly millions of dollars?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 5:31 p.m.

"Were there tax cuts on business? Yes, but most of the businesses that saw cuts were small businesses, owned not by rich CEO's but by your neighbors." This is, itself, a myth. The cuts were on C-type corporations. Some are "big". Some are "small" Many have outside investors who benefit from those businesses' profits. Not exactly Joe the Plumber or Grandma's Candy Store Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 2:04 p.m.

I can't wait for Mr. Snyder to be up for re-election, and we'll see how that relentless "positive" action has played itself out. People remember who were good to them when times were tough...

Huron 74

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 11:59 a.m.

How soon we forget the 8 years we just had with a Governor who was completely, utterly asleep at the wheel. Look what happened during that time. Michigan desperately needs change, something Democrats don't seem to be very good at (need I cite a BIGGER example?). In order to dig Michigan out of the hole we were left in, some dirt may fall in places where people don't like it. At least this guy's got a shovel in his hand!


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 3:59 p.m.

Yea, and he is shoveling sh-- on the lower and middle class while handing big biz free tickets to the sh-- pile to throw some more the people's way...

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

Forgotten, indeed. You appear to have forgotten that she had a Republican legislature that made political hay by refusing to work with her. Rather than work to fix the Michigan economy, they calculated there was political gain to be made by not cooperating with her. Tells us much about their character. Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 2:46 a.m.

Mr. Morrow, an example of the relationship between public sector unions and elected officials is currently on display in Montgomery County Maryland. This county is represented by both Chris Van Holen, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign committee, and Steny Hoyer the house democratic whip. The democratic majority carries right down to all lower offices at the state and county level. Those running for office in this county must be democrat and if they have a hope of being elected, they must donate to the teacher's union in order to be added to the "Apple Ballot". Through a combination of these donations, and promises made regarding contracts, the candidates receive the union's endorsement and a little apple next to their name in a mailed sample ballot. Probably not as blatant as the teacher's union, the Police and Fire Unions may have similar influence. For example, almost 40% of the Police Officers in Montgomery County are retiring with some percentage of disability payments in addition to their regular pension. This number is several hundred percentage points higher than the neighboring county of Fairfax (VA) which is similar in demographics. PS: Montgomery County has one of the highest budget deficits in the State of Maryland

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 2:04 p.m.

Yes, you summed up quite adequately your very selective reading. Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

In review, if I follow the arguments in your comments via Logic 101: 1) First be dismissive of a union/elected official influence. 2) Then acknowledge "if true". 3) Then say, "I never said never" and cite examples of countering influences. 4) Then advise (perhaps with a little bit of snark intended?) use of 101. Did I sum it up correctly?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

My last was, apparently, too obtuse. So let me be perfectly clear: One data point in one county does not make a national trend. But when politicians from around the country--among them governors and US senators--secretly skulk out of town to attend a Koch brothers seminar in Vail, we ought be concerned about the influence of their money on politics. Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

Following your 101 advice, what is happening around the country and why? Is it a realization of an influence and spending cycle we can't afford? Or your Koch conspiracy?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 12:53 p.m.

And yes, what happens in one county in Maryland obviously is happening around the nation. Time to take take Logic 101. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 12:51 p.m.

Never said that there was not. Of course there is. As there is between the NRA and public officials. As there is between business and public officials. As there is between bankers and public officials. As there is between Wall Street investors and public officials. ad infinitum So until those who complain about the political power of public sector unions complain equally vehemently about the political power of those above, we know that it's just union bashing, not anything to do with concern about political influence. Because God forbid that public employees have a smidgen of the influence that the Koch brothers have. Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

Than I see by your response you acknowledge there is a relationship between public sector unions and elected officials? Your earlier comments to MAS painted it as &quot;more accurately describes the relationship between government and business&quot;. For info:<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 11:53 a.m.

Mr. Chief Justice: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Wisconsin has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries. Good Night and Good Luck

Basic Bob

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 3:33 a.m.

@Mr. Eddie's Ghost, I can't wait for you to reveal the actual facts and names of people involved. This kind of corruption is disturbing no matter which party is perpetrating it.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 3:23 a.m.

Gee, Presuming all that you say is true, sounds to me EXACTLY like the relationship between the Koch brothers and the Republican Party. Good Night and Good Luck

John B.

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

The two main takeaways from this article are: &quot;It's an unprecedented shift in tax burden from the 100,000 companies that will no longer have to pay a state business tax, to individuals.&quot; And: &quot; ...large majorities in polls still believe Michigan is headed in the wrong direction.&quot; 'Nuff said.

Rork Kuick

Tue, Jul 5, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.

OK Don: it's not just the rich. But you sound like you are cooking up a new myth that the tax changes affected the more and less affluent equally.


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 5:08 p.m.

But the owner still pay tax on any money they take out of the business either as wages or profit. This stopped the double taxation. It makes Michigan a better place to start a small business. If you think this tax cut went to the rich ask your plumber or lawn care person how many millions of dollars they take in profit each year from their business, since THEY are the people who got this tax cut, by and large. Ford, GM, Chrysler, Meijer and other large companies will end up paying MORE taxes in Michigan. But this fact hurts the myth, so let's just ignore it.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

Oops, I stand corrected...The AG in mi. Is an elected official -not appointed-I've been kindly told. Guess I was out of state too long... Doesn't really change the perception that they are working together to eliminate the people's opinion and push their zero compassion pro biz anti people agenda. BS is Soooo out of touch with common sense that I am positive he's history if he doesn't choose his battles more wisely...same with his boss RS.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 2:48 a.m.

&quot;anti people agenda&quot;? Sorry, it is MEA &quot;leadership&quot; (arguendo) that is anti-people. The People of Michigan elected a real leader by a large majority. Whether his policies are successful or no, this is not anti-people. Could Virg Bernero do better? No, because he would have neither the support of the legislature, or the interests of the People of Michigan in his heart. Only the interest of the parasitic union PACs, who claim to help workers as they destroy jobs in the present and future, only ensuring the importance and wealth of union presidents and negotiators.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

&quot;Relentless positive action&quot;? ? ? ? Negative for K-12 schools. Negative for 1.6 million K-12 students. Negative for retired people on pensions who, without warning, suddenly have to pay full tax rate. Negative for low-income people whose property tax will jump. Negative for transparency in government, considering his &quot;February surprise&quot;. Relentless positive action? ? ? Negative for honest use of the English language!


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 6:18 p.m.

Very well put!


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

Big Mike, blackmail and racketeering do NOT amount to &quot;bipartisan&quot; as your comment is reading. The only thing bare in Richard Dale Snyder is where his soul would have been if it weren't sold off. This young tike drapes and divert with room deco? Please. He could have been more productive with dried out finger paint. He caused the largest and louder protest on the state capitol. You can pick which one as your favorite. Richard Dale Snyder concluded the constitutional Michigan with his lame cud attempts at the purest of fascism. That is why it is foregone, he is gone. The author should realize which side of RDS's American abeyance he illustrates himself to be lounging, before he hits enter next time.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 5:18 p.m.

Does asking public employees to pay more for benefits include the Governor and the Legislature? Currently, after serving just four years these public servents receive FREE health care for life! That is a lot of money my fellow Michiganders; If teachers, firefighters, and police officers, etc. are having to pay more, so should these folks.


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 5:04 p.m.

TSimmons - This myth has been debunked a dozen times here. Check the handbook for elected state officials on Elected officials pay for health care like any state employee.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

@firebrick Add to that the approximately 80k mmmp members who- despite what manta ignorant people believe -do vote and are compassionate to the middle class, the old and the young. Not a single one of them would pass on a chance to recall or vote &quot;one tough -urd&quot;out. The biggest thing Ricky has done wrong is to appoint BS (Bill Schuette)! Snyder has enough enemies of his own making without this right wing crazy tromping all over the will of the people and the laws instituted by the people!


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

Ooops! I stand corrected. Thanks! Guess I have been out of state too long! Now I am back and will try to make my vote count!


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 6:02 p.m.

Yes sir, Brady' Believer. ERMG hasn't been to Michigan in a while.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 5:05 p.m.

The attorney general is an elected position. Snyder had nothing to do with him being the AG. &quot;We&quot; elected him. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.

It would be nice if Mr. Synder would be accountable for his actions and actually act like a 'nerd' where data mattered. For example, we have tossed $1.8 billion to corporations with virtually no way (on purpose as far as I can tell) to measure if this huge amount of money will actually create jobs (and decent ones, not minimum, 'race to the bottom' jobs). Tax cuts by Bush and others haven't created jobs (vs the money spent) yet this myth continues to live and the same mistake is repeated again and again. With the same results: few jobs and rich corporations and the wealthy benefit. Then again that was how SPARK operated under Mr. Synder - no accurate way to measure the outlandish job creation claims made by SPARK (never audited independently). You can't even see their audit as a taxpayer (who pay 30%+ of the revenue of SPARK. I guess they are afraid if we actually see the audit we'll find out what is really going on. A nice insiders game - just like state government now. And the insiders don't care for the middle class and that's why only the corporations and wealthy will do well in a Snyder administration.

Milton Shift

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.

&quot;But those Republicans had to cast some tough votes. Extending the income tax to some pension income was one. Cutting K-12 school funding was another. &quot; Not tough. They didn't sacrifice anything. It was not only easy but an ecstatic moment, even.

Lac Court Orilles

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.

Snyder's relentless positive actions will take $1,000.00 of my retirement income. Would some rich Republican out there please help me to understand how this financial loss will benefit me personally?


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 5:02 p.m.

Lac Court Orilles - I have to assume for this that you are single, rent, and have no expenses beyond your standard deduction. Also I have to assume you are under 65. Given that you are making (before taxes) approximately $30,000 a year in retirement income of about 2.5 times what Social Security pays to the people getting the top tier of benefits. If you want to provide changes to the assumptions, we can recalculate your state taxes.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 3:35 a.m.

If you sell your house to working people and move to Florida, it will benefit Michigan residents in several ways. Plus, you don't have to put up with our lousy climate.

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 9:35 p.m.

Or, tell me how it benefits the state of Michigan since I won't be able to spend any of my income to help support the economy?


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.

You are doing a fantastic job Mr. Rick. I love the way the unionists and public sector folks knash their teeth and pound their fists over your performance. Just don't forget that there is a silent majority on your side that could not be happier with what you are doing, keep it up ! Good Day


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 4:16 p.m.

The meaning of the poem is not my opinion, it is fact. Although one could spend this fine day reveling in ignorance or worshipping at its altar, I would suggest you find something else to keep you busy. Happy 4th of July.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

Feel free to keep using a non-existent &quot;law&quot; as a cheap rhetorical trick to diminish anyone's point with which you don't want to engage. It is, as they say, a free country. Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 1:25 p.m.

&quot;The poem specifically talks about labor unions.&quot; Really? I expect better from you. Your own link gives the explanation of what the poem means and yet you choose to close your eyes. Your denial of Godwin's law, only proves why these analogies occur. You are making and scoring no points here. Again, if you feel solace in referencing horrible parts of human history to convince acolytes on a meaningless blog or website, or make an unfair and untrue comparison, then that is your choice - pathetic as that may be. And yes, whenever someone brings up Nazis, Hitler, Mussolini, or a poem about the mass murder of Jews in World War II then I will feel obliged to dismiss their post. And unlike the derision and belittlement that you regularly visit upon fellow posters from your throne of hubris, my comment does not diminish me because it is not done for sport, gamesmanship or politics. I will not give up on you, Ghost. You are too smart to fall into these traps.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 11:50 a.m.

The poem specifically talks about labor unions. Republicans have been at war with labor in this state for decades. it's happening elsewhere, too (Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, NJ, the entire south). Don't want to see the parallel? Works for me. Want to diminish and/or dismiss someone's point every time YOU think a Nazi analogy is being applied by referring to a non-existent and bogus &quot;law&quot;? I think that's the classic example of a cheap rhetorical debating trick. Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 3:47 a.m.

It's late - you must not be thinking straight - I won't hold it against you. Let's try the Socratic method this time: 1. Godwin's law = &quot;As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1 (100%).&quot; Source: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>'s_law 2. Martin Niemöller's poem = &quot;Nonetheless his point was that Germans -- in particular, he believed, the leaders of the Protestant churches -- had been complicit through their silence in the Nazi imprisonment, persecution, and murder of millions of people.&quot; Source: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Using the poem is conjuring Nazism, mass murder, etc. Ergo, it fulfills Godwin's law. That was my comment. It doesn't matter to me whether this was in reference to Gov. Snyder, Gov. Granholm or Pres. Obama. It is demonizing your enemy. Even on this pointless thread, with now just you and I reading, it is a point worth making. If you believe the poem is about feeling generically &quot;persecuted&quot; because your preferred candidate didn't win an election, or someone's taxes go up or down, then you are wrong and I won't convince you. I would also suggest that those who think that way have no idea what it is truly like to fear being abducted or killed by their government. I suppose our country has become 'spoiled' in that sense. You may also continue asserting stridently that I am saying something I am not, but that is a shallow debate trick that only convinces those already convinced by your rhetorical flourishes. It does little to foster your argument. I will leave this thread to you now and, as consolation, will in the future post the link to Godwin's law and the poem above when awarding the winner.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 3:03 a.m.

OK. I get it now. Unless the result is genocide, in your world, it's OK to persecute and demonize other people. Now I understand. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 11:28 p.m.

And fear not, I will relentlessly bring this up so we can renew the conversation ad infinitum. The first step into the abyss is to demonize your enemy and, true to the poem, I will not remain voiceless while this occurs.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 11:25 p.m.

ERMG: I can lead you to water, but can't make you drink. The link you posted was the same as mine. I read mine. The important part that you neglected to post is: &quot;Nonetheless his point was that Germans -- in particular, he believed, the leaders of the Protestant churches -- had been complicit through their silence in the Nazi imprisonment, persecution, and murder of millions of people.&quot; So, when someone here uses that poem in reference to the Nazi imprisonment, persecution, and murder of millions of people - then I will have no problem with them using the poem. It is not a &quot;left&quot; or &quot;right&quot; issue, as both sides make the same mistake. Indeed, the wrongheaded misuse of this poem is for the ignorant, those with weak arguments or for those with no moral compass.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.

The poem's complete text is: First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me. Source: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Though no one here is making comparisons to the Nazis here except people who do not like that comparison, the poem's message is clear. It's not about Nazis. It's about the consequences of permitting people and groups to be demoninzed and attacked merely because you aren't them. Seems an appropriate message in these times, especially in this state. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

Then let me suggest, 1bit, if the use of one line of this poem outrages you, you are barking up the wrong tree. But I do understand why no one would want to be identified with these clowns. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 7:01 p.m.

And then there's the King of Comedy himself using the poem, albeit, his made-up version: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 6:52 p.m.

And I love it when I can use an accuser's own words against them: Don't let the facts stand in the way of your opinion, ERMG. I am not &quot;the right&quot;. The poem in question is very direct in its meaning and respectful people use it knowingly. Jesus said to love thy neighbor - perhaps ask yourself if that is what you are doing.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 6:47 p.m.

I love it when the &quot;right&quot; finds implications of Nazi in the simplest of phrases, even as its propagandists swim in the use of the term: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> What was it Jesus said about the speck in the eye? But go ahead, 1bit, ask to prohibit the posting of a line from a poem. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.

johnnya2: The poem is by Martin Niemöller (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. Its intent is very clear and it is regarding Nazism and particularly silence during the mass murder of Jews. No one in Michigan is being murdered by Gov. Snyder's policies. The rest of your post is so beyond the pale that it deems no reply, other than simply saying that you clearly know absolutely nothing of Saddam Hussein and Ghadafi's regimes, techniques or tactics.

Milton Shift

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 6:32 p.m.

1bit, that proposal sounds like it'd result in Nazis running the site.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 6:13 p.m.

Godwin's &quot;law&quot; is a made up law by a guy named Godwin. It has no basis in ANY empirical study or evidence. But of course if YOU saw it happen, it MUST be true. Why not copy and paste where Murrow used the words Nazi (only you did that), Hitler (not anywhere in this thread), or even Germany. SH1 used a phrase from a poem about people NOT doing what they should do until it effects them personally. The facts are for upper middle class and above the Snyder administration is a win. Those who are on the lower end of the economic scale are the ones who are losing. Benton Harbor, Detroit Public Schools, and soon coming to a town near you are this TOTALITARIAN actions. The comparisons are real. I guess we should just call it more of what it actually is. It is a Hussein or Ghadafi on the people of Michigan. He is killing his own to please his power base.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

Defending the indefensible, ERMG? Maybe I've been doing this longer than you, but Godwin's law is not bogus. Before the Internet it was on the dial-up BBS', and even the venerated M-Net prior. It is nothing more than a failure of legitimate debate. A trump card made of ether. Those with weak arguments find easy refuge in Nazi analogies. Governor Snyder, his policies, and those of Republicans in our legislature are not the same as Nazis. It is not only disrespectful to those who suffered under the Nazis, but it is disrepectful to fellow US citizens to use such intellectual dishonesty. Particularly considering the holiday we celebrate tomorrow. I would prefer to change its conversation guidelines to disallow any such posts, but in the interim I will continue to inform those who have drifted off-topic of their error. And I will gladly suffer the scorn and barbs that you fling so callously, as I know that those are also the refuge of those with weak arguments.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 5:04 p.m.

And today's winner, using a bogus &quot;law&quot; to diminish a valid point: 1bit! Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

And today's winner, proving Godwin's law, is sh1!


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 4:14 p.m.

And when they come for you, snoopdog?


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 3:42 p.m.

So low voter turnout and self selecting pollsters are Rick's fault too?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 3:23 p.m.

You're reading into my post something that is not there. Merely pointing out that, in most universes, 33% is not a majority of anything. Frankly, among the few things I admire about Snyder and his rubber-stamp legislature is that they appear immune to public opinion. They're going to do what their ideological dictates require no matter the consequences, either for themselves or for the State of Michigan. I sure hope it works, but doubt it will. DemocRats? Pretty funny, Will!! Good Night and Good Luck

Will Warner

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 3:07 p.m.

&quot;Last time I checked that &quot;silent majority&quot; came to 33% of the electorate. RepubliKan math&quot; Do DemocRats want to govern by opinion polls? Besides 70% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 2:35 p.m.

Last time I checked that &quot;silent majority&quot; came to 33% of the electorate. RepubliKan math. Good Night and Good Luck

Fire Rick

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Pass this along . . . Petitions to recall Rick Snyder and repeal the Emergency Financial Manager law are available and ready to be signed! You can sign both petitions at the following locations and times: - Ann Arbor Farmer's Market - every Saturday (8:00 am - 12:00 pm) - Ann Arbor Summer Festival (near Bell Tower) - July 3-6, 8, 9 (6:30 pm - 8:30 pm)Pa - Ann Arbor Art Fair - July 20-22 (8:00 am - 8:00 pm) and July 23 (10:00 am - 6:00 pm) - located in the non-profit booths on Liberty between Fifth and Division <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> ** For those who are still on the fence . . . If we get enough valid signatures, it doesn't mean Snyder is automatically recalled. It only means that voters are given the option to recall him in the November election. If the vote to recall Snyder succeeds in November, then the Lieutenant Governor takes over until a special election can be called in February. Even if you are still on the fence, SIGN THE PETITION so you will have the option of recalling him in November.

Fire Rick

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 5:26 a.m.

@ Basic Bob Fortunately, there are over 4,000 volunteers who are actively working on the recall effort. If each of these volunteers turn in 250 signatures, then we have 1 million. I've personally collected almost 400, and plan on working multiple fairs and summer festivals in the area. Yesterday, I worked with a group at the Traverse City Cherry Festival who collected 200+ signatures by 3:00 p.m. and they continued working until 9:00 p.m. last night. That was just one day! Here's a snip from the following article: <a href=";-recall-effort-intensifies" rel='nofollow'>;-recall-effort-intensifies</a> &quot;The fightback in Michigan is intensifying against these attacks on workers and children. Daily Kos and The Committee to Recall Rick Snyder have so far signed up 4,000 volunteers to circulate petitions to recall Rick Snyder. Additionally, one of the best field consultants in the country has been hired to assist with the campaign, entirely because of small donations from nearly 1,500 Kossacks. An efficient, scalable structure is being put in place to guarantee that even if the first statewide recall effort comes up short, we will be able to quickly re-file the recall petition language and continue pushing forward from a stronger position.&quot; So, thanks for the offer, but I won't be needing to swing by your house. Feel free to catch me at one of the local fairs though!

Basic Bob

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 2:33 a.m.

If you want your petition signed, stop by the house any time and give us a personal and convincing message. Getting the same 50 aging hippies in hemp clothing and Birkenstocks at the market every week isn't going to lead to a successful recall effort.

Fire Rick

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

If my &quot;one trick&quot; helps just one Washtenaw County resident find a petition to sign, then it's a great trick.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 3:41 p.m.

you are a one trick pony

Fire Rick

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

@ Frank 99 - There are thousands of volunteers across the State who are working tirelessly to recall Rick and I am proud to be one of them. Relentless is my middle name. Please consider volunteering . . . gathering even 10 signatures makes a difference! @ mmppcc - The recall effort is not a futile one. Just look south to the State of Ohio for a great example of people uniting to fight SB 5 (anti-worker law). They needed 231,000+ signatures to repeal the law, and they collected 1,298,301 (unverified) and turned them in on June 29. If Ohio could do it, there's no reason why the good people in the State of Michigan couldn't do the same thing! Further, the MEA is now fully endorsing the recall effort. Following the passing of House Bills 4625-4628, the MEA announced on July 1st that it stands behind recalling Rick Snyder and &quot;out-of-touch legislators.&quot; With 153,000 MEA members across the State, this gives the recall effort a HUGE push in the right direction. Don't be surprised if the Michigan Chapter of the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) also jumps on board soon. And don't forget the 627,000 Michigan members of the AFL-CIO, which has a Labor Solidarity Partnership Agreement with the parent organization of the MEA (the National Education Association). <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> I can relate to Snyder on one thing . . . relentless positive action is the way to get things done. RECALL Snyder now. We can't afford another 180 days, let alone 3+ years!


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.

Please note - Dog Years has been around for many years in the IT world. it is not something Rick Snyder created.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1:14 p.m.

I never can understand how public workers even have the right to organize. I'm not anti-union. What I'm saing here is that state and local governments are not an employer in the traditional sense. Profits do not exists. Workers are not extracting a share of the profits but rather a share of the taxes. Unlike bargaining in the private sector, municipal collective bargaining is part of the political rather than the adversary process which is what unions can get so much out of elected leaders even if the agreements do damage to the state or local community in the short and long run. That is why many liberals opposed the unionization of public employees including Roosevelt, Truman, etc.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

eom: How dare you introduce actual FACTS into this discussion. Last time I checked, 11 of the 15 states with the highest unemployment rates were so-called &quot;right to work&quot; states. Last time I checked, Texas had a $30 billion deficit to close in its state budget, and yet public employee unions are illegal there. How did that happen? Last time I checked, 5 states (VA, SC, NC, GA, and TX) prohibit collective bargaining for teachers, and those states have among the lowest test scores in the nation. Sources: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 7:12 a.m.

&quot;Let me ask you two then: Why aren't public sector unions damaging to the public good? Since the 1960s when they began popping up in the states unions have received unsustainable pension benefits, salaries increases for all their members that go well above inflation.&quot; I'm sorry, but that's just not true. Unions didn't break our state, or any other for that matter. Check out states without unions and see how well they are doing. Teachers, and their salaries, benefits and pensions didn't create the current state of affairs. Nor did firefighters, nurses or police officers. It's not the people working in these fields that caused this mess, but everyone sure thinks we should pay for it.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 4:13 p.m.

I was only asking you to back up your statements with examples. Did not mean to make you angry. But still looking for recent examples of unions &quot;getting so much out of their elected leaders.&quot;

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

Yes, quite frequently I take people to task on this site for the incongruous things they write and the bizarre conclusions they leap to thereby. Your post hinges its argument on your definition of employee. Don't like my response? Try another premise. Maybe you'll find one that makes sense. &quot;Since the 1960s when they began popping up in the states unions have received unsustainable pension benefits, salaries increases&quot; for all their members that go well above inflation. The list could go on and on&quot; Fairy tale. Over the decade before the Snyder administration came in, revenue for the state of Michigan's budget decline by more than 20% adjusted for inflation. In Snyder's first year it decline another 30% in real terms. This was the purpose of tax cuts enacted when Prince John was in office, and it has worked. It's not a spending problem. It's a revenue problem, one that has been manufactured over the past 30 years by Republicans across the country. Check out David Stockman, director of Reagan's OMB. He makes the strategy clear. BTW, I note you were silent about my post regarding business money. That tells us something. Take away workers' power and voices? Absolutely. That of business? Not so much. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1:51 p.m.

You know very well I was making a distinction between the public and private sectors. My comments had nothing to do with the definition. You do this many times on this website. Either you change the debate grounds or somehow try to get a poster to answer your questions without having to defend your own position. Let me ask you two then: Why aren't public sector unions damaging to the public good? Since the 1960s when they began popping up in the states unions have received unsustainable pension benefits, salaries increases for all their members that go well above inflation. The list could go on and on. Evidence for this is the current budget problems in most states. Even when you get states balancing their budget they are doing so only by not paying into the public sector pension plan. The reason? Because the state would go bankrupt if they did do that. The fact is that the public sector unions have grown fat off the tax dollars of the public.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

Re &quot;adversary process which is what unions can get so much out of elected leaders,&quot; please explain recent examples of this in our state. Almost all union employees are voting to take pay cuts, slashes in benefits, etc in order to stay afloat.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

Gee. I didn't know that the definition of &quot;employer&quot; included the word profit. Ya learn something new every day in And your description of the relationship between public sector unions and elected officials more accurately describes the relationship between government and business. So the day you and others advocate the ending of all business contributions to campaigns and the severe limitation of their influence, is the day I'll take seriously your complaints about public sector unions' influence. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

I must have typed in the wrong address into my browser. I thought I had typed I apparently typed Good Night and Good Luck

John B.

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 9:58 p.m.

Indeed! &quot;(Give us this day our daily Slick...).&quot;


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 7:38 p.m.

Great post, Edward!


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 4:59 p.m.

Don't worry, Mr. Ed. I'm confident that the &quot;Fire Rick Squad&quot; will make an appearance soon. They show up on every article about state government.

Will Warner

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 3:19 p.m.

Without endorsing the view implied by this comment, I acknowledge that it is clever.

Mr. Ed

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

"relentless positive action" = The attack on the middle class aimed at providing control to the Corporations that are left in Michigan. It's another money grab by Corporatism.

Greg Gunner

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1 p.m.

The only hope for this state's immediate future is a successful recall effort. Snyder talked about shared sacrifice, but put all of the state's burdens on the backs of public employees, retirees, and the working poor and middle class. There has been no shared sacrifice. The wealthy have gotten wealthier. The poor have gotten poorer. The next agnda for Slick Rick and his Republican cronies is probably a return to indentured servitude. It may sound far-fetched, but creating minimum wage jobs does not help our economy. Minimum wage workers have no money to spend. How can these jobs do anything but create a permanent lower class (indentured servant) to help pad the pockets of Slick Rick's friends? A recall effort is not only democratic, it is the only peaceful means of removing leaders who abuse their power. The Republicans fear a recall effort, because they know they do not have majority support for the agenda that was hidden from public view until after the last election.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

&quot;The only hope...&quot; We all know that Obi Wan Kenobi is our only hope. Thank goodness those leading the recall effort have in place a great plan to save the state from the tyranny of representatives elected by wide majorities.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 2:33 p.m.

&quot;Just three years ago no university professor paid for HEALTHCARE!!! &quot; That's simply not the case. All UM employees pay somewhere in the neighborhood of 40% of their healthcare costs, and they have done so for many, many years. Other than that minor problem, a typically fact-filled post. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1:35 p.m.

Re &quot;Public workers have great salaries and benefits,&quot; please cite your research on this, as every study I've read shows there is a trade-off for public workers in salary for what they receive in benefits. Cutting benefits then puts them in a definite disadvantage.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

Oh, please. Your statement isn't based in reality. Public workers have great salaries and benefits. Just three years ago no university professor paid for HEALTHCARE!!! What kind of world do we live in where public workers think they are entitled to the tax dollars of working people in Michigan without limit?


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

I think all states should eliminate their recall petition. Like most progressive era reforms it's an anti-democratic measure pretending to be based on democratic principles. People who are pushing this one are basing their Snyder recall efforts on policy disagreement. I think it is a silly and wasteful effort seeing that everything Snyder is doing he said he would do. Elections have consequences and the best, and I believe only time, for citizens to change who is an elected official is during a regular election.

Roger Roth

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 7:40 p.m.

Good one, ERG

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

Yes, I'm certain that, with the governor's approval rating sitting in the low 30% range, the recall petition has no chance. Good Night and Good Luck

Marshall Applewhite

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

Well luckily there is no chance of them even getting enough signatures to get it on the ballot. Since the beginning, the whole &quot; recall effort&quot; has been one giant game of people singing, &quot; I am union, hear me roar&quot;. The only problem is, nobody is listening, and nobody(besides them) thinks they should continue to gorge themselves at the public trough(while everyone else starves) any longer.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 12:30 p.m.

Very balanced article, Mr. Luke! I think Governor Snyder knew going in that he was going to have to take some very unpopular positions, and that may help him prepare for criticism. Despite the vitriol from his detractors, much of what he's done or intends to do is made up of surprisingly bi-partisan solutions.

Wolf's Bane

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 12:06 p.m.

"relentless positive action.&quot; Yeah, if you're rich and white!


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

What does being &quot;white&quot; have anything to do with Snyder's policies? Implying racism does not help your argument, it weakens it.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 11:48 a.m.

Frank99, it's hard for me to face it, but I think the recall effort is going to be a huge waste of time, however I'm still looking forward to signing at the A2 Art fair. Worldchamp, I believe Republicans are actually stupid enough to try to make Michigan the first Right To Work state in this part of the country, but it has even a less chance of happening than recalling Snyder. Even Snyder doesn't want to take on every union at once.

Chef Skater

Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

Don't worry, democrats are &quot;stupid enough&quot; to continue to waste their time trying to recall Snyder.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 11:39 a.m.

When will we as a state get the opportunity to vote on a Right to Work situation here?


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 11:16 a.m.

Hopefully there will be an equally relentless effort to recall him.


Sun, Jul 3, 2011 : 10:37 a.m.

Ask him if China can build and operate the bridge. We did. He said yes. So China will get control of our border and trans ship Chinese products through Canada under NAFTA. Chinese leaders must be once again laughing at those stupid Americans.