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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Do as I say, not as I do

   Business types have been invading the state capitol lately railing on lawmakers and the governor to "reform government now."  That is code for fire more state workers, get those who are left to pay 25% of their health care benefits, get rid of the state police road patrols and on and on and on.
    CEO's and business lobbyists believe they are entitled to make these demands because the private sector has been scaling back for ions and now, they argue, it is time for government to do the same.
    It's very tempting to apply the business model=2 0to government.  After all GM had to lay off 70,000 of its workers, why shouldn't state government fall in line?
    Unfortunately, as much as business guys want government to be run like a business, the reality is, government is not.
    When the profit margin at the Detroit Three falls, they reduce services.
    But when things are at their worse, that is not the time for government to do the same.  In fact it is just the opposite.
    Recall last winter when the unemployed could not get into the state system to file for benefits?  If you applied the "business model", the governor should have laid off more state workers who handled the phones.
    Of course she did not and she ended up hi ring more thus adding to state costs.
    A new business group the other day called for a 10% slice in the state government workforce.
    The employee unions note that 11,000 have already been cut and as one of them put it, "We are past the bone and we are cutting off limbs."
    Are there other areas to cut in state spending?  Yes and those will be coming, but at what point does Michigan become Mississippi and with all due respect to Mississippi, who would want to move here for that?
    So business will continue to harp about reforming government, but when asked the other day how many of the business lobbyists had taken a 25% cut in their health care benefits, none of the hands went up.


Blogger Peter J. Spadafore said...

Nicely said. Sometimes people forget that the abstract "government" is what provides essential services.

September 16, 2009 at 1:16 PM 

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