Ignore everything written in this Washington Post divide-and-conquer attempt targeting new Michigan governor Rick Snyder: there is no adversarial relationship between the governor and his Republican colleagues. In fact, it would not surprise me in the slightest if Rick Snyder makes a point of ending each day by thanking God for Chris Christie, John Kasich, and – most assuredly – Scott Walker. If they didn’t exist, Snyder would be the target of a lot more media attention right now.
And it’d be very hostile media attention, mostly because of the budget proposal that Governor Snyder revealed last week. It is a fascinating proposal; which is to say, it is an exercise in raw political courage even by the currently-high standards of state Republican organizations. Elimination of state Earned Income Credits. Lifetime cap on welfare benefits. The current corporate tax break system largely ripped out and replaced with a flat tax. Cuts to education and police services, not to mention local municipalities. And – this is the one that is going to cause Snyder problems with the GOP – the imposition of state taxes on public and private employee pensions. This last one is actually pretty standard, but it is still a new tax… on senior citizens.
Oh, and $180,000,000 in concessions from unions. Governor Snyder will be happy to let them work out how they can come up with the money for that. And just as long as it’s understood that this is independent of public sector unions paying for more of their healthcare plans.
Those who are wondering why this is the first that they’ve heard about any of this should keep in mind that the last two weeks or so have been dominated by scenes of Wisconsin Democrats frantically trying to deny that elections have consequences. Snyder isn’t being confrontational about this (at least, not on the federal level); then again, he doesn’t need to, thanks to the Republican majority in the state legislature. For those wondering, a simple majority constitutes a quorum in both houses of the legislature, which is almost certainly contributing to the relatively muted response by Michigan Democrats. But the major reason for the muted response is almost certainly because Democratic antics in Wisconsin are sucking out all the media oxygen in the room; which is, again, something that probably pleases Gov. Snyder every time he thinks about it.
Let me end by noting that none of this should be seen as a criticism of either Governor Snyder or Governor Walker: they’re using different strategies to reach similar goals, and what works in Wisconsin might not work in Michigan. The important thing is that they get their respective state budgets under control. If that means that Rick Snyder plays good cop to Scott Walker’s bad cop, well, that’s the way it goes…
Moe Lane (crosspost)