As Rachel noted tonight, what's going on across the country with these Republican governors in states like Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Florida and Michigan is not about their budget crisis. It's about taking advantage of a situation to enact policies you'd never otherwise get through in the name of an emergency or in other words, Shock Doctrine.
From the MaddowBlog -- #Michigan goes #Wisconsin, too:
Spend a little time looking at the union-busting legislation in Michigan, and it immediately becomes clear why the unions have been packing the Capitol in Lansing. The language is dry, but it's not all that hard to figure. From Senate Bill 158 (pdf):
Each collective bargaining agreement entered into between a public employer and public employees under this act after the effective date of the amendatory act that added this subsection shall include a provision that allows an emergency manager appointed under the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability act to reject, modify, or terminate the collective bargaining agreement as provided in the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act.
If your city or school district got put under emergency management -- see Detroit Public Schools -- then that emergency manger could throw out whatever deal your union negotiated. "We didn't create financial crisis, we've given up wages and concessions in benefits over the years," retired teacher Mike Kelly told the Detroit Free-Press. "This is about power."
The Nation's Naomi Klein talked to Rachel about how the Shock Doctrine methods being used by the states are just part of a larger plan by the Republicans to enact policies they've wanted to get passed for ages now.
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And Think Progress has more on what Michigan and other states have been doing.
State budgets across the country are in disarray as a weak economy, the end of tens of billions in Recovery Act funds, and a GOP-led House that is pushing for deep cuts to many programs that benefit state and local governments set the stage for massive in shortfalls over the next two years. Instead of making the tough choices necessary to help their states weather the current crisis with some semblance of the social safety net and basic government services intact, Republican governors are instead using it as an opportunity to advance several longtime GOP projects: union busting, draconian cuts to social programs, and massive corporate tax breaks. These misplaced priorities mean that the poor and middle class will shoulder the burden of fiscal austerity, even as the rich and corporations are asked to contribute even less. Here’s a detailed look at how the GOP’s war on the poor and middle class is playing out at the state level: [...]
Michigan: While newly-elected Gov. Rick Snyder has said he won’t “pick fights” with unions, his budget plan echoes the misguided priorities of other GOP governors. As Matt Yglesias has noted, Snyder has an innovative definition of “shared sacrifice.” His plan calls for “$1.2 billion in cuts to schools, universities, local governments and other areas while asking public employees for $180 million in concessions.” In addition, it would raise taxes on individuals by ending many deductions and taxing pensions — all in order to pay for $1.8 billion in tax cuts for businesses. Since the state’s entire budget shortfall this year is only about $1.7 billion, all or most of the cuts to services and programs important to the poor and middle class (many of whom will also see their taxes increases) could be avoided if the governor was willing to forego corporate tax breaks.