Illuminating, in so many ways. If you click on this link it will take you to a story that demonstrates the corporate mindset of a governor who sees his fellow citizens as customers, as opposed to neighbors, that in and of itself is illuminating, but not the point of today’s conversation.
I would think that depending on your politics and social and economic status the fact that we have $500 million in a rainy day fund would be exceptionally good news for some you. But for those of us who continue to live in the real world of bills, fluctuating gas prices, out-of-control utility bills, threats to our jobs, the challenge of trying to pay for college education for our children, and the ongoing fear that our state government is so disconnected from the reality of everyday life and they continue to pass laws that returns us to a Gilded Age of have and have-nots, clearly defined by economic status alone. In some ways it is daunting to think that we are fighting against some of the most dangerous money ever to cross our borders as the politically elite and the dangerously wealthy continue to influence the people that we have elected to service us all, and in spite of their rhetoric, it is their actions that speak volumes about where our realities are headed.
I am not naïve and understand the importance of a rainy day fund and as an entrepreneur for many years I can’t begin to count the days that I wish I had one. But I am also aware and mindful that many of the times where I felt that I needed that rainy day fund certain realities were reminders of why I didn’t have one. Things like: feeding my children, clothing my family, doctors visits and medicine, etc., seem to me anyway to be fairly good reasons to not sock away a percentage of my income just so I can have money in the bank for those just in case scenarios that although are seemingly important don’t necessarily stop an empty stomach from growling.
I’d like to think the conversation that we should be having today is about the precarious relationship between saving money and spending it, and it would be convenient, and I’m sure that for some to leave the conversation at that level is enough. It is NOT for me. Over the last week alone we a saw study that showed more children and families are living in poverty here in the state of Michigan than ever before. We’ve learned that almost 60% of school-age children in the K-12 system are in need of or participate in the free or reduced lunch program at their schools. Those are just two of many examples that I could use to demonstrate how a half a billion dollars might be in use to support and reduce stress and anxiety on families that continue to be burdened by an economy that is stressing everybody out still.
You can save your justification for why this rainy day fund is critical to Michigan and a successful future economically. As we all know the governor and the state budget director are deeply dedicated to core business principles that may work perfectly in the workplace but do not necessarily transfer to the running of the state. Again, for those of us that are paying attention you need little from me to prove how poignant my point is. Alas, the extreme and polarizing conservative element that has crept into our state like a disease without treatment continues to grow even if it’s more quietly than you realize. Part of the real danger of not paying attention to those who continue to spread this disease is that they count on us to ignore the reality of their divisive hatred and commitment to serving only themselves and their philosophy which is almost exclusively every man for himself, and I do mean man, as I’m fairly convinced women in their world are just an inconvenient truth that will be dealt with over time and only when necessary. I won’t even begin to define what necessary means in their world.
I recognize that as I write this my complete bitterness for political divide is rearing its ugly head and I make no apologies for that because I have a very difficult time separating truth, real truth, the kind of truth that you and I live with on a daily basis, with “their version” of the truth, whatever that might mean because inasmuch as I read, study, research and communicate, I cannot seem to find any shared core values that we have.
I don’t just read studies I actually live in my community and I visit people and places where the reality of underfunding and underfinancing critical programs and necessary step up programs continue to be ignored or eliminated. I don’t just read about but I see the devastation of what happens in a home or school or a community where revenue-sharing has become a joke and the facts and justification behind why a Republican centered idea that addition through subtraction is philosophically and realistically how we move and generate a greater Michigan. If that were only true folks, if that were only based in any kind of reality that showed demonstrable and measurable results then we would be having a very different conversation, but we are not.
It clearly doesn’t add up!
Rainy days and Mondays, sure it’s the name of an old Carpenters song that is rooted in the common emotional idea that what is difficult has a tendency to drag us down. The metaphor here is that under the guise of this rainy day fund that the state is boasting to the tune of $500 million and their expressed intent to continue to grow it at the cost of people suffering, is beyond offensive, but more importantly, may lead to dire consequences, and I guess I should say it, even the death of living, breathing people who can’t afford to pay their heat bill, put food on the table, or buy life-saving medicine. And once again, if you think I’m just searching for dramatic effect, you are certainly not paying attention to the reality of what’s happening to your neighbors, to your family, to your parents and grandparents.
I’ve begun a new slogan which I am going to be reminding you of constantly. Simply, you need to show up, stand up, and speak up! If you truly believe that continuing this sock away millions of taxpayer dollars every year and putting it in a fund that is undefined and unintended, then do nothing. If, on the other hand, you believe your tax dollars, a simple reminder that this is your money, could be better spent helping and growing an economy that is in desperate need of a reality check and that at some level this half a billion dollars plus, that is accruing “just in case” could be better spent making sure that a child or a parent or someone down on their luck, then you have an obligation to show up and stand up and speak up. And just for the hell of it let me suggest that you may be the one voice that is the difference. And the only way to find that out is to speak up.
This is my attempt to speak up. Gov. Snyder, I understand the importance of socking away some cash just in case but I also understand the importance of taking care of the very people who need help, give assistance to, and show genuine kindness. I realize the majority of this list doesn’t fall on the political radar that encompasses the philosophy of your political party, but that does not mean, as your customer, I don’t have a right and an obligation to correct what I see as a abortion of the rights and necessities of your fellow citizens, and if you insist on looking at me as a customer let me remind you of the old mantra, the customer is always right, something you seem to have forgotten.
Consider yourself reminded.