A few weeks ago, the Michigan House GOP released a progress report on their 2017-2018 agenda. We took a look to see what they say they’ve accomplished.
Much of the report is an attempt to disguise actions Republicans have taken that directly hurt Michiganders and re-brand them as progress–most notably, their newest budget. They praise themselves for “forcing state government to live within its means,” although they don’t ever explain why corporate tax breaks are within our means while we somehow can’t find the money to fix our crumbling infrastructure or make sure our kids can read.
They do cite progress on education, pointing to ways they’ve “reformed” teacher retirement plans through MPSERS–sounds nice, right? They conveniently forgot to mention that reforming MPSERS basically amounted to cutting teachers’ pensions. Of course, they’ve also continued to preach “educational freedom”– an idea that sounds good on the surface, but actually means underfunding struggling public schools in favor of corporate-run charter schools. It’s a great policy for people like the DeVos family, but bad for students.
The report uses the phrase “accessible health care” when touching on health policy–which is kind of accurate if “accessible” actually means accessible for rich people. In fact, the GOP has continuously worked to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and recently voted to institute work requirements for folks on Medicaid, which would threaten coverage for the low-income community.
They passed similar requirements for those who receive SNAP benefits, which is an equally bad idea. As is the case with Medicaid, the vast majority of those who receive benefits and can work are already working, but these providing the documentation to satisfy work requirements is an unnecessary burden on people who already struggling. Frankly, GOP representatives should stop pretending they want to help people “work toward self-sufficiency” and just admit that they don’t care about the needs of low-income communities.
Some of the ideas discussed in the report sound pretty promising, but they’re also areas where the GOP has failed to make any significant progress. They include a section on reforming energy policy, but it consists of very small gestures–a nice distraction from the GOP’s consistent prioritization of corporate polluters over the environment and public safety. In May, they even voted to create a panel where corporate polluters would hold a voting majority and give it the authority to veto environmental regulations–effectively letting the fox guard the hen house when it comes to environmental policy.