There is out of touch and then there’s Patrick Colbeck. Senator Colbeck today posted on FB about how he, as a Michigan State Senator, is struggling to live on a “fixed income.” Wait, what? I know, I had the same reaction. As someone who did grow up in a fixed income household, I am livid.
My mother worked her butt off for Ford until she was medically retired after suffering a back injury. When my parents divorced when I was 13, she became my sole caregiver. Yes, my dad paid alimony and child support until I was 18, but even then all of that coupled with my mom’s $1,200 per month social security was nowhere near the $6,000 base pay (not including millage reimbursements and other perks of being an elected official) that Colbeck receives right now.
When it came time for me to go to college, my mom, who no longer received child support since I was 18, sold our house and moved us into a mobile home park to be able to help pay for me to attend CMU. As the first member of my family to attend college she was happy to do so, and it wasn’t until now as an adult that I truly understand the sacrifice she made. She often went without so that I could have the opportunities that I had and I am forever grateful.
Many families are not able to do the same as my mom did for me. Colbeck’s comments today are a slap in the face to the hardworking people who face true daily sacrifices just to get by. Tell a family in Flint that $72,000 a year is living on a fixed income or a family in the UP who, on a weekly basis, chooses between giving their kids lunch money or putting gas in their car so they can get back and forth to work.
The truth is, budgeting for the state is nothing like a household budget, because the State is not a household and it is not a business. The state is a Government and every elected official’s chief job is to protect the most vulnerable among us and make public investments that benefit us all. No matter how hard Patrick Colbeck thinks he has it, he isn’t one of the most vulnerable. In fact, his hardline approach to Government is exactly part of the problem.