My Top 10 Reasons Not to Vote for the Nerd

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1.) He considers seniors his personal piggy bank. Just as I not so gracefully eased into what’s generally called my “senior” years, I learned that our new governor, the Nerd, had invented new ways to raise my taxes. To make up for the $1,650,000,000 tax break he gave to businesses, he imposed (ignoring the State Constitution) taxes on the pensions of public service retirees (which my wife receives), phased in new taxes on all retirees, and eliminated the Homestead Tax Credit which had eased the tax burden on seniors nice enough to stay in Michigan to spend their Social Security money. What will that cost seniors? The pension tax changes cost seniors $343,000,000 in 2012/2013, and the Homestead Property Tax Credit added $336,820,000 to the state’s bank account.

2.) Won’t tell us how he’ll raise money to fix the roads. I’ll bet the Nerd wished he’d left his mouth shut last winter when he said he’d like to fix Michigan’s crappy roads. As leader of the party in charge of the state, everyone expected something to happen for the roads. Except the GOP is so quiet about fixing the roads you can hear crickets chirping all the way from Tampa. It’s an election year and fixing the roads will cost BIG money. And guess where they’re going to get it? You know it, I know it and they know it. But they ain’t talking.

3.) His business friendly agenda has stalled progress. For all his tax changes, shifting the upkeep of the state to the citizens while businesses smile on their way to the bank has simply not produced jobs the way Snyder and Co. had predicted. “It’s fair to say that job growth has been slower in Michigan after the tax shift went into effect than the first year of Gov. Snyder’s administration,” said Charles Ballard, an economics professor at Michigan State University.

According to Bridge Magazine, what has happened under the tax shift is:

a) Roads: “Worst roads in the nation,” a 15 percent drop in state investment in transportation systems from 2004 to 2014.

b) City services: “4,000 fewer firefighters and police in Michigan communities”. Local revenue sharing has declined 31 percent from 2004 to 2014

c)Children: 16 percent decline in K-12 investment from 2004 to 2014, leading to elimination of arts, music, larger classes, and diminished quality

d)Higher education: “College tuitions have doubled,” and a 29-percent real investment drop in higher education funding from 2004 to 2014

e)Outdoors: “Miles of polluted rivers has doubled; beach closures are up 22% over past 5 years.” Conservation funding down 6 percent from 2004 to 2014.

f)Income: “Biggest fall in family incomes in the nation.” Michigan has fallen from 19th to 37th in the nation in personal incomes from 2004 to 2014

4.) The Nerd takes credit for Michigan’s comeback. A lot of analysts are skeptical that Michigan has actually “comeback”. Remembering that the Nerd took office in early 2011, the following charts show that somehow any “comeback” Michigan has realized started well before he even announced his candidacy.

UnemploymentRates_Michigan - edit Chart econ activity - edit

5.) His idea to end “item pricing” in stores isn’t working. And what was his problem with putting prices on the things we shop for? I mean, I know the Nerd has a “special relationship” with the Meijer company, but we elected him. Ending item pricing was going to save us money? Have any of you taken that dream vacation that all those savings should have paid for? The fact is that posting prices on the stores’ shelves ain’t happening. As a senior I pinch pennies and clip coupons when I shop, and I’ll bet I could find 20 items not priced or improperly priced on the shelves in 30 minutes or less in any of the grocery stores I frequent (especially the Big M). Actually, I’ll bet the Nerd $100 that I can. The lack of item pricing isn’t an actual tax, but at the end of the day, you’ve spent more for things than you would have 4 years ago.per pupil spending

6.) School funding? Don’t get me started! His accounting change puts more money in the education budget, but it doesn’t get to the classroom, it funds retirement accounts! Funding a retirement plan and calling it education spending may be technically accurate, but your kid and your schools aren’t benefiting from it.

7.) He apparently considers pensions unearned luxuries. As long as we’re talking about pensions, let’s continue. The Nerd doesn’t like pensions; the 1% never do. While constitutionally obligated to protect the guaranteed pensions of public service employees, one of his first moves was to unconstitutionally tax them.

The constitution states, “The accrued financial benefits of each pension plan and retirement system of the state and its political subdivisions shall be a contractual obligation thereof which shall not be diminished or impaired thereby.” Our Attorney General Bill Schuette is not going to side with the citizens on this so I won’t be voting for him either.

Not being satisfied with that sleight of hand, after Michigan voters overwhelmingly voted (53% to 47%) against state appointed emergency managers to take over local governments, Snyder and his GOP cronies thumbed their nose at the voters and started appointing snyder-orr-smiling1emergency managers. And when Kevyn Orr came to Detroit as an emergency manager, what was the first thing out of his mouth? “We have to cut pension benefits.” The Nerd had hired a hit man to take the heat off himself.

State employees had better hunker down if the Nerd is re-elected. Just guess what his solution will be to fix Michigan’s underfunded (13th worst in the US) pension account.

8.) Marie Antoinette was beheaded for saying the starving in Paris should just eat some cake. Snyder says, “Let them eat maggots.” And if you think he dislikes pensions, wait until you hear how he feels about unions! In an effort to break the union that provided food services to the state’s incarcerated, he negotiated a contract with Aramark to take over those jobs from the state employees. In short order it was discovered that Aramark was feeding prisoners spoiled food to the point of maggot infestations, Aramark employees were enjoying sex acts with the prisoners, and smuggling drugs into the prisons. the Nerd didn’t see any problem, however, and when the state fined Aramark, the Nerd told them he was the boss and they didn’t really, actually, legally have to pay the fine. (Michigan was proud to contribute to Aramark CEO Eric J. Foss over $18,000,000 compensation in 2013).

9.) He perfected electioneering without specifics 4 years ago but demands specifics from his opponent. In a new set of ads, Mark Schauer is attacked for envisioning a better Michigan without spreadsheets spread out in front of him. But this is exactly how the Nerd got elected in 2008…he stood for change without going into any detail! If he’d said, I’m going to shift taxes, break unions, and fatally wound the pension system, he never would have been elected. He’s not providing much detail this election either (transportation funding?) so somehow only one candidate gets to run on their vision, the other needs to have mapped out his daily schedule for the next 4 years.

10.) He punished the victims during the Great Recession. While the Federal government bailed out the very bankers that precipitated the Great Recession and found money to ensure the continued operations of the multi-national auto makers that had been poorly managed, those unfortunate enough to be jobless when the state’s unemployment rate was the highest in 70 years found themselves SOL when the Nerd cut unemployment benefits to (again) save money for corporations.

There are a ton of other reasons not to vote for him of course. His transparency pledge ended with the revelation his 2010 campaign received “dark money”, money of undisclosed origins, except to the group that’s getting it of course. He’s given a few no bid contracts, some of which benefited family members, others to supporters. I consider these character flaws, not uncommon to many who hold power.

In the same way that Snyder’s election was a repudiation of the Granholm years, my vote will be a repudiation of the Snyder era, where bad policies that failed in other states have been blindly implemented here in Michigan.

Michigan didn’t need a Nerd to represent the 1%. As George W. Bush showed us, that doesn’t work. You simply can’t crush the middle class and expect a thriving economy.

Michigan needed a Nerd to fight for the middle class. We got a rich politician instead.

About Wayne Johnson 69 Articles
I've worked in book manufacturing for over 30 years, closing my company Baker Johnson, Inc. in 2005. Currently I work freelance with a large group of publishers, advising them on the printing options available to them as the book industry endures major restructuring. My wife Cathy is a retired psychologist and spent most of her career working with the youth at Maxey Boys Training School. She is a small mammal rehabilitator with Friends of Wildlife. Our daughter Whitney is a PharmD working in the Denver area evaluating the pharmaceutical requirements of nursing homes. Our son Eliot lives in Waterloo and is an editor at Mathematical Reviews in Ann Arbor.