Life in Michigan these days is still about the fundamentals of economic and political survival. We see hope from the common sense leadership of Gov. Rick Snyder and also the sense of an improving state economy. Given enough time, that combination could begin to relieve the huge unfunded government obligations incurred in the times of blinding prosperity that we — or our children — must pay.
But in the meantime, there’s still that underlying tug at our feelings … whether it’s because we know we are living fatter and happier because we’re “kicking that can down the road” or because we realize that we are facing an inevitable acceleration of change in American living: You better believe: It is happening.
Our national government is supposed to be about stability. Of course we endure change, but for our daily living we’d like to know what our taxes will be, what it will cost us to drive our cars, pay to light and heat our homes tend to our teeth, and, now, above all, medical costs. Government intervenes, but offers no stability.
As for educating our children, the schools are suffering. We have a need for early education before K-12, still, while our K-12 schools are faced with challenging new educational systems. Traditional four-year colleges saddled with entitlement commitments continue to increase tuition because state governments can’t satisfy the required funding. When eventual career opportunities aren’t apparent, prospective students are wisely looking for educational alternatives.
To the extensive arguments about the cost and benefits of the above items, add the struggles and interests relative to social, ethnic, gender, family and religious relationships that seem to have found their way into our federal government’s business.
Meanwhile, in Michigan, we have expected our elected leaders to look out for the interests of their constituents. While it would be grossly unfair to say we no longer have politicians who will do that, we must understand that with the term limits now in place our elected representatives must look ahead to life after the death of their term — and you can be sure that they are doing just that.
The situation leads to any number of scenarios — including possible conflicts of interest — that will affect their votes during their term in office. Maybe the good ‘ole boys (or gals) that could stay in office and gain power over state agency bureaucrats weren’t so bad after all. At least they could control the bureaucrats or pin the blame on bigger political biggies. Today, as with car insurance, it’s all no-fault.
Unless we are willing to make further reforms in Michigan politics, we’d better be ready to accept the helter-skelter legislative style that has weakened Michigan in the national political scene.
Stability in our government leadership today is not a fat chance, it’s a slim possibility. What with uncontrolled automobile registration/no fault fees and even added local government fees which used to be covered by property taxes, we are being deluged by trickle-down and pass-the-buck politics.
But spring is here, and the promise of sunny skies, warm weather and the greening and flowering of the land is uplifting to us all … so let’s keep all these concerns in perspective and strive for a super summer!
Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.