SNEAKING THE PLUTOCRATIC AGENDA INTO STATE LAW

Michigan's working families are mighty hard hit these days, but the state's new governor, Rick Snyder, has reached out with a helping hand.

Michigan’s working families are mighty hard hit these days, but the state’s new governor, Rick Snyder, has reached out with a helping hand.

Not for workers though. Instead, he handed out a 60 percent tax cut to corporations. To help pay for this giveaway, he snuck into law a provision that takes away six weeks of jobless benefits for out-of-work Michiganders, plus he intends to tax the pensions of working class retirees.

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Where do today’s far-right-wing governors get such far-out, nasty, anti-middle-class ideas? Directly from an extensive network of corporate-backed wonk shops set up in every state. They grind out extremist schemes to eliminate public services for regular people and sever corporations from any responsibility for the common good of our society.

In Michigan, the group is called the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Richly funded by such multibillionaire families as the Koch brothers, the Waltons of Wal-Mart, and the DeVoses of the Amway fortune, Mackinac vigorously pushes the billionaires’ plutocratic agenda. It’s a vehement opponent of unions, and it pushes privatization of everything from schools to highways.

In January, just as Snyder was taking office, Mackinac’s dogmatists published four recommendations for turning Michigan into a corporate laissez-fairyland. They include a tyrannical proposal to let the governor seize control of local governments and install corporate overseers to cancel union contracts, re-write budgets, sell off public assets, and bypass or even dismiss local elected officials. This monster is now law in Michigan. Indeed, Snyder adopted all four of Mackinac’s proposals.

These secretive front groups are modern-day Trojan horses, allowing a few corporate billionaires to come into state government and seize control of public policy – perhaps even in your state.

“Behind Michigan’s “Financial Martial Law”: Corporations and Right-Wing Billionaires,” www.motherjones.com, March 23, 2011.

“Social Policy Network,” www.spn.org, 2011.

“A battery of elected ideologues opens fire on those who serve the public,” Hightower Lowdown, May, 2011.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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