Political games dooming state's economy, budget

I couldn’t help but notice a flyer I saw on campus the other day. It was a Republican flyer blaming all of Michigan’s recent economic, education and unemployment woes on incumbent Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The solution the flyer suggests is electing a Republican governor to fix all the damage the Democrat governor caused. It was more of the same “us versus them” mentality that led to our problems in the first place.

Gov. Granholm is just a figurehead for our ineffective political system, not the sole person responsible for our hard times. As the saying goes, “it takes two to tango.” There are two parties responsible for our problems: Republicans and Democrats.

Republicans and Democrats have a duopoly on politics in the state of Michigan, like everywhere else in the country. Their struggle for power against each other is a primary reason for our state’s struggles. People call for change and vote for candidates who endorse change, but political bickering keeps anything meaningful from getting accomplished. The state’s budget problem was a good example of this in action.

Our Michigan legislature had an Oct. 1 deadline to balance the budget. This is a simple task one could learn in an entry-level accounting class. Our legislature had several problems getting this done; we almost had the entire state shut down because of their bickering and political posturing. Instead of coming together to serve the people of Michigan, they constantly fought over petty issues to gain power for their parties.

Our leaders in government had to vote to allow themselves more time to fight over the budget. The only thing both parties could agree on was they needed to give themselves more time to complete their task. Why was it taking so long to decide what they liked and didn’t like about the budget? Because opportunists in the Republican party wanted to nitpick every little suggestion by the Democrats in order to position themselves for the upcoming gubernatorial election.

The representatives in our bipartisan system do not vote with their hearts or vote for the best outcome for their supporters, they vote for what the best outcome for their party is. That is why there was no outrage by Republicans over cutting the Michigan promise grant or cutting hundreds of millions from our public schools. The Michigan Republican Party sees these hardships as opportunities to grab up some power.

Nevermind the fact both parties are equally responsible for the lazy and boneheaded decisions made recently. It benefits Republicans to cut lots of funding for things Michigan citizens feel are vital to our wellbeing. If money for college students and elementary children are cut from this year’s budget it will make the Democrats look like the bad guys.

It will make it much easier to con people into voting for more Republicans this time around. Instead of fighting for the people and doing whatever it takes to keep decent funding for schools, Republicans casually let this budget pass. And that is one example why both parties are equally responsible for the deterioration of our great state.

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