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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.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Absolute Power Re-do

    In  this age of term limits, lawmakers have a rotten record on long term planning. 
     So a pat on the head is warranted regarding some forward thinking now unfolding in the Michigan Senate.
     A tip of the hat to Senators Kahn, Pappageorge of Oakland County, Richardville, and Jansen.  When the dust clears next year, they will be the only four GOP senators standing after term limits wipes out the rest of the Republican senate contingency.  Thirty senators, including democrats, and their expertise will be out the door.  Incredible.
    The gang of four some six months ago decided to talk about how the senate should be run especially in terms of leadership and the power now held by the Majority Leader.
    While the talks are still a "work in progress" they are considering removing some of that absolute authority and "spreading it around" to another senator or senators.
    The Senate leader has unprecidented power to select committee chairs, committee members, which senators get how many staffers, who gets what to spend, how many can go on junkets and that's just the tip of the power iceberg.
     The current concentration of authority in one person brings to mind the old adage "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
     The current thinking of this long range planning group is that maybe money and budget issues would be handled by one lawmaker and the policy issues by another.
      In addition, a source indicates the group wants to avoid another political bloodbath that occurred the last time the GOP selected a new leader.
    Oakland County Senator Mike Bishop emerged the victor but the battle scares still fester three years after the fact. 
   Part, but not the whole reason for a deeper look at this power arrangement is the performance and problems of Mr. Bishop whose tenure has caused consternation inside and outside of the GOP caucus from time to time.  Each leader over the years has suffered with that.
    Whatever the outcome, congrats to all four senators for having the good sense to at least have this long-term discussion.


Anonymous Free Our Free Markets said...

Absule power corrupts in government and business.

What does the American auto industry, the health care industry, wall street firms and the banking industry all have in common; other than they were all on the brink of failure?

These are industries where the production side of the industry is no longer a free market with many producers competing head-to head to earn the business of consumers, or customers, of the industry. Instead each of these industries are controlled by a relatively small number of very large corporations that have transformed these markets into oligopolies.

Adam Smith when he discussed “rational self interest” and competitive markets in his book Wealth of Nations, envisioned many consumers buying goods and services from many producers with everyone looking out for their self-interest. By keeping markets “free”, producers pursue their rational self-interest and this best meets the needs of the consumers and the citizens of our country, who are also looking out for their self-interest. Under this system, what is in the producers self interest is to provide the best product possible to the consumer, while striving to be a low cost producer for their niche.

This consolidation of markets began in the late 1960's early 1970's in the auto industry when it was transformed from a free market to an industry that was controlled by three giant corporations and one union. As this transformation was occurring the auto company's and auto union's self-interest became separated from what the consumer wanted and/or needed. Competition between the companies broke down and this gave an opening for foreign competition to enter our markets and the beginning of the end of the American auto industry as we knew it.

December 16, 2009 at 5:27 AM 

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