Thursday, May 07, 2015

We knew this was coming.

Now that Proposition 15-1 went down in flames at the hands of Michigan voters the response from the political and intellectual establishments is oh so predictable. From editorials bemoaning the voters reluctance to "do the right thing" (hammer ourselves into austerity) to scolding voters for bringing this (crumbling roads) upon themselves, and chastising the politicians for not doing their job (jamming higher taxes down our throats) legislatively.

     The theme the intellectual establishment (MSM) is putting out is that Prop 1 was just too complicated for us presumably dim witted voters (it was complicated) to comprehend and if only it were dumbed down sufficiently for us to understand we would have been eager to part with 2 billion of our dollars.

     Stephen Henderson is the editorial page editor for the Detroit Free Press. He starts his editorial with:

     "Self defeat is never pretty.
               And if you're sitting around thinking that the spectacular death of Proposal 1 at the polls marks a
     defeat for anyone but us, the people of Michigan, then you are sorely deluded."

     No sir. We are not deluded. This was a defeat for the politicians for not managing our taxpayer money responsibly. Prop 1 was initially sold to the public as a fix for the roads. Only after concerned citizen groups started reading it and pointing out that 40% of the $2 billion was to go to other interests like schools, local municipal governments, transportation, pay off transportation debt and add to the general fund, did voters begin to question it.

     Then the government proponents ran ads showing a chunk of cement from a bridge supposedly fallen through the windshield, laying on the passenger seat of a car. A school bus with a slab of concrete laying on the partially crushed cab was trucked around the state saying this could happen to our kids if we don't cough up the dough they wanted for roads. It was scaremongering taken to a new and disgusting level.

But what's disconcerting to me is how the state government and the media refuse to think outside the box of government control. For instance, if the roads have decayed to the point of a serious threat to citizens while under the control of government, don't you think some thinkers would question the wisdom of letting government continue to run them? It's time to consider taking responsibility for roads away from the government. There are lots of private roads in this country and they're maintained nicely. But the thinking by politicians and pundits that government should be the provider of our daily paved bread is just too irresistible.

     Mr Henderson concludes with two paragraphs: (my comments in parenthesis)

     "What we can't do is continue to make decisions that punish ourselves in the name of striking out at poorly thought-up initiatives, or at legislators. (If we don't strikeout at poor thinking, it will continue.--MN) Prop 1 was a way forward--a difficult, deal-laden, complicated way forward, but that's the way the system works"

"That's the way the system works" is the box out of which they are unable or unwilling to think. More:
     "If we want to do better, if we want to force legislators to confront this issue in the short term and the future, in a more thoughtful way, it's up to us to say so. (We just did! On May 5th--MN) Otherwise, we'll suffer with exactly what we've got. And no one should be proud of that."
Today's, May 7th Detroit News--whose editorial page of 5/3 or 5/4 was all for Prop 1--has an oped by Joe Lapointe, a free lance writer, titled "Michigan needs toll roads." In it he make the point that:

     "In 40 years as a traveling journalist, I've rented cars in three dozen states. I've seen many tolls roads work efficiently with EZ-Pass, an electronic windshield device that records where people get on and get off the toll roads and bills them accordingly."
There can be many ways to finance roads other than taxes and all of these need to be examined. But that will require thinking in different terms. And THAT is what Michigan voters just said they want.





    

2 comments:

Realist Theorist said...

The columnist is just whining, because he wanted the citizenry to bow down to their politicians.

Politicians learn from things like this. They will probably trim the proposal, increase the focus on roads, and be back with a new proposal.

Our school district had a bond proposal 3 years o, that failed. So, they came back the next year with two proposals: one for 'essentials' and the other more about capital improvements. One passed.

This year they came back again with something for capital improvements, and it passed.

Michael Neibel said...

Right RT. If the people don't bow down to Attila then the witch doctor loses credibility and the WDs in media can't have that.