Running Michigan Like a Business - One Result is Flint
Once upon a time I was a Republican. I worked for the party by distributing thousands of Voter Guides to churches all over MI to help Engler get elected. I became a precinct delegate for a brief time. The concept of running government like a business resonated with me. That was then. Now that I see the ultimate results of such an effort, I am saddened that I was in that camp to begin with. It took me several years to reach the conclusion that government CANNOT be run like a business.
Fast forward to Rick Snyder running as someone who will run Michigan like a business. As the owner of a micro-business in Lowell since 2002 this had some appeal. Then I began to question and ask others, "What kind of smart business man would invest 6 million dollars to get a job that pays $159,000?" Yes, I know, he hands back all but $1 of his salary because he does not need the money. So what does he need? Why is he doing it? Does he love Michigan? I have seen no evidence to suggest that since he has been in office.
I know why I love Michigan - one of the top reasons is because I love fresh water. I love to swim in the big lake(s). It has always been almost a spiritual experience for me. I once water skied for a few minutes under the Big Mac Bridge! As the situation on the planet has evolved, water takes on a whole new meaning. Talk to ANYONE with an eye to the future and FRESH WATER is in the picture.
How does Rick feel about the water we have in Michigan? Well, he just appointed a former lobbyist for BP Oil to be in charge of our DEQ. (Cannot believe that even as I type it....) His administration is behind one of the biggest water disasters of the century in Flint.
Does he love the people of Michigan? Not that I can see. How can the guy who is at the top of the "family values" party be so cavalier when it comes to the families in Flint?
In as brief a time a possible I want to tie two water issues in Michigan together to demonstrate that you CANNOT run a state government like a business.
First, business exists to make a profit. Nothing wrong with that - profit feeds my family. However, making a profits is NOT the role of government. Government exists for our "equal benefit" - it is to provide things we cannot do on our own - build roads, fund schools, maintain our bridges, etc.
Nestle is a multi-national Swiss based mega-corporation that measures its profits in BILLIONS. In the process of running Michigan like a business someone made the decision to let this corporation awash in mega-profits come and pump freshwater out of our aquifers for next to NOTHING.
Side note: The spokesperson for Nestle in Michigan is Deb Muchmore. Her husband, Dennis, was Snyder's Chief of Staff until January 2016 when he quit to be a full time lobbyist. What a happy coincidence that the Muchmores have gotten much more than they should have out of Michigan.
Not only does Nestle pay almost nothing for the 212 gallons PER MINUTE they pull out of Michigan, I want you to connect a dot with me. Hang on a sec while we examine Flint.
The State of Michigan, with Snyder at the helm, took over Flint. One of the horrific results there has been the fact that hundreds or thousands of Flint residents have been poisoned by lead. Do you know the long term effects of lead poisoning?
When I first learned of the water crisis in Flint, I was willing to cut Governor Snyder some slack. I know that a Governor cannot be on top of absolutely everything that happens in the state. I did not join in the Condemnation Chorus until the emails pertaining to Flint began to be available. The first problem I had was when it became clear that State workers were telling Flint people the water was fine while at the same time they were having bottled water brought into their offices. The last straw for me was when I read that members of Snyder's staff KNEW that several different schools tested way off the charts for lead and sat on the information for 8 days - do you remember being in school? All we drank as kids was water from the water fountains. This is just criminal.
Did you know that emails were revealed that made it clear that Flint COULD have stayed on the Detroit water system at a reduced rate and all the poison could have been avoided?
The people of Flint have been using MILLIONS of gallons of bottled water for the last two years. What company do you suppose stands to gain the MOST from the sale of millions of bottles of water? They bottle water for a lot of retailers. Here is a list of the ones on their website:
In the interest of fair play: Nestle has donated 190,000 bottles of water. Considering the fact that Michigan forgave 13 million in taxes and that they get the water for next to nothing - my response to that donation is BIG FREAKIN' DEAL.
Flint is just one example of where the policy of running Michigan like a business has gotten us. We have an national, if not global, reputation for poisoning poor people. They continue to suffer after months and years of promises. If that were not enough, Nestle Corporation is making millions more in profit from the horrific situation in Flint.
There is a CREDO petition to Governor Rick Snyder and DEQ Director Heidi Grether:
Running government "like a business" really boils down to the subject and influence of MONEY in politics. That is why I am a Green Party candidate - we do not dance to the tunes money plays. My responsibility will be to the CITIZENS in my District and to those people in Michigan as a whole.
Flint should be dealt with immediately. The rainy day fund should be raided - the money is somewhere and it should be found and new plumbing should be installed NOW. This is not a debate issue or a partisan issue, the children and adults in Flint should have clean, safe water in their homes, schools, and work places.