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News for Michiganders 7/25/2011


SPOTLIGHT: Michigan's leaders -- and many of its residents -- do not care about the state's children. And they do not care about poor people

DFP: Rochelle Riley: Welfare cutoff will be cruel to kids
But it has become abundantly apparent why our Michigan is in economic shambles. Michigan's leaders -- and many of its residents -- do not care about the state's children. And they do not care about poor people. . . . Consider Exhibit A: Last week, the Legislature passed -- and Gov. Rick Snyder signed -- a law that takes effect Oct. 1 and allows families on welfare to get benefits for 48 months. State benefits should be limited. But the Legislature made the measure retroactive, effectively giving some people who have nearly exhausted their benefits only about 10 weeks to find a job in a state where unemployment just jumped back up to 10.5%.


DN: State workers to rally today in Detroit over possible concessions
Layoffs possible if agreement can't be made on concessions from public employee unions
State employees are to rally outside Cadillac Place in Detroit at noon today amid talk of possible layoffs as negotiations begin Tuesday on $145 million in concessions sought by Gov. Rick Snyder's administration.

BTH: Q&A with former state treasurer Robert Kleine: Michigan's economic problems have 'nothing to do with taxes'
BTH: Q&A with Lt. Gov. Brian Calley: New business tax structure 'makes Michigan more competitive'

DN (AP): Higher individual taxes could slow Michigan's recovery
Michigan might be lucky to see much of an economic boost from new tax laws that take effect in 2012, according to a report evaluating the changes put into place by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and the GOP-controlled House and Senate during the first half of the year. . . . But that rationale might not help Michigan House members up for re-election in 2012. Many voters will have paid a collective $559 million more in income taxes by the time they go to the polls in November, and some might want to punish Republicans who voted for the plan, which drew protesters to the Capitol earlier this year. In addition to taxing more retirement income, the law also substantially reduces a tax credit for low-income workers, eliminates a $600 per-child exemption, shrinks the number eligible for a tax credit on property taxes paid and phases out exemptions for higher-income residents, among other changes. By fiscal 2012-13, Michigan residents will be paying $1.4 billion more in income taxes than they do now, even though the income tax rate will drop from 4.35 percent to 4.25 percent on Jan. 1, 2013.’s-recovery#


MLIVE: Rick Haglund: Now, it's personal: Individuals pick up freight as businesses shed tax burden
Former state treasurer Robert Kleine is doubtful businesses will pour the extra cash into hiring. He noted a raft of tax benefits for individuals are being eliminated or reduced. “This (business tax) money is less likely to end up back in the economy than the funds from the tax breaks for individuals that have been eliminated,” said Kleine, who served under former Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Even some business leaders are skeptical. “It might catch the attention of other businesses around the country and move us up a lot in the rankings of state business taxes, but I don’t think it will have that big of an impact” on job growth, said Charles Hadden, president of the 3,000-member Michigan Manufacturers Association. . . . The Snyder administration wants to take “a serious look” at the personal property tax later this year, spokesman Ken Silfven said. “Whether that results in a call for a reduction or an outright elimination of the tax remains to be seen,” Silfven said. “There is no proposal at this time.” Hadden said his members also want the personal property tax eliminated, calling the tax “the biggest detriment to investment in the state.”

LSJ: Editorial: Finally, progress at protecting children
Human Services leader Corrigan and her team are fixing a mess|newswell|text|Opinions|p

LSJ: Editorial: State must do the right thing by MSU
Beating up higher education has become a hobby of some at the Capitol. It's destructive. And, given the reprehensible drop in state funding to universities over the past decade, it's also ridiculous. Michigan's universities are essential to its future economic prosperity. Harming them only hurts the state in the long term. Fortunately, Nixon and his boss, Gov. Rick Snyder, know that. Michiganians will be counting on them to do the right thing.|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s


COL: Snyder recall effort has local support
FJ: ACLU, Genesee County Parks come to an agreement on free speech lawsuit

ROY: Activists circulate 70,000 petitions to erase emergency manager law

TCT: Scott’s vote on education spurs recall effort - Language on recall petition approved on Thursday
KZG: Julie Mack blog: MEA's battle on tenure moves to recall movement


DFP: Arrest location could determine the outcome for a drunken-driving penalty
DFP: Oakland County judge among toughest in nation on 1st-time drunken driving offenders

South of 8 Mile in Detroit, there's almost no chance a driver will go to jail on a first offense. North of 14 Mile Road in Birmingham and Bloomfield, the same driver can count on a visit to the slammer, a Free Press analysis of local court records shows. . . . The reason: Michigan law doesn't set guidelines for judges in such cases, beyond limiting the maximum penalty. That gives judges broad discretion to decide the penalty for a crime that led to about 39 arrests a day in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties in 2010.|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

DOME: Pole Position
Katie Carey, as she’s now known, has worked during her six-year career for some of the most powerful Democrats in Michigan — former Gov. Jennifer Granholm and former Lt. Gov. John Cherry among them. Carey now serves as press secretary for the first female Senate caucus leader, Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing). After spending almost two years with Cherry’s ill-fated gubernatorial campaign and the Granholm administration, Carey said she lobbied hard for a spot with Whitmer last year. “I’ve worked for really strong women, so it really wasn’t much of a transition,” she says. “The real difference is being in the minority, after working for the top elected official in Michigan.”

NH: Michigan Supreme Court Justice Mary Beth Kelly relies on principles, intuition
“By conservative principles, I really mean that my view is that the role of the Supreme Court (is) to interpret the laws that our Legislature passes and to interpret the Constitution and not to make law by bringing policies or deciding policy as opposed to interpreting law,” Kelly said. “It was necessary that our court have a conservative, judicial philosophy restored, so to speak, on the court. And that’s what a conservative judicial philosophy is, as opposed to a more liberal policy, which believes that policy plays a greater role in deciding the outcome of judicial cases. That’s really a more liberal judicial philosophy.” . . . She is looking forward to the next seven years of her first term, but she doesn’t expect to stop then. “I’m really enjoying this, so I see myself doing this for a while,” Kelly said. “I was elected to an eight-year term, and I suspect there will be several more eight- year terms in my future.”

DFP: Headline: Few homeowners benefiting from federal short sale program|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

DFP: Guest commentary by Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association: Don't waver from energy goals|topnews|text|Opinion

MID: Schuette files petition to recover Kilpatrick incarceration costs


DFP: Editorial: Detroit police and city deal with realities
Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature recently amended PA 312, though, to require that arbiters first consider ability to pay. No doubt, that had some influence on the current police negotiations in Detroit. The resulting agreement, should it stick with members, better recognizes the city's financial condition.|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p


DN: Daniel Howes: New route needed for auto talks - UAW, Big 3 seeking new solutions to old issues
DFP: Expected $4 billion in automaker 2Q profits likely to influence UAW contract talks

DFP: Guest commentary by Union of Concerned Scientists' Clean Vehicles Program: New m.p.g. rules can push U.S. autos|topnews|text|Opinion


DFP: Politically Speaking: Digital media open new era for campaigns
JILL ALPER: No question. Tactically, 2012 could be the first cycle in which campaigns put digital on a level playing field alongside TV and print. Gone are the days of the 24-hour news cycle; we live on a minute-to-minute news curve where stories break on Twitter. It's positive that everyday citizens are more engaged in politics, yet there's no barrier to entry and anyone can publish anything at any time. The right resources can make something go viral. Yesterday's reporter is today's blogger.|topnews|text|Opinion

DN: Editorial: States need flexibility in using federal school funds
Local officials are best able to decide which programs meet the needs of their students

DN: Nolan Finley: Flatter tax code fairer, doesn't pick winners and losers’t-pick-winners-and-losers#ixzz1T7X2xs4g

DFP: Poli-bites: History is not on Pete Hoekstra's side
The Smart Politics team at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota has delivered again on the issue of electoral esoterica. They note that with former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra forming a committee as a prelude to challenging U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2012, that it's been more than 150 years since an ex-House member from Michigan has won a U.S. Senate seat. And the winner? Republican Jacob Howard in 1860. (He was a Whig congressman from Detroit in 1840-41.) Hoekstra of Holland announced his plans to seek the Republican nomination to take on the Democratic Stabenow last week. Stabenow, by the way, went directly from the House to the Senate when she beat incumbent Republican Sen. Spencer Abraham in 2000.

DN: Hoekstra's lobbying firm tied to Democrat donations - GOP group's letter questions financial links to Dems
DFP: Poli-bites: C'mon, guys, that's a stretch

More on Pete Hoekstra: The Michigan Democratic Party noted last week that when the Republican left Congress in January after nine terms, he took a job at Dickstein Shapiro, "a lobbying shop in Washington that had recently finished defending Bernie Madoff in his Ponzi-scheme trial." This is true, but there's nothing to suggest Hoekstra has anything to do with Madoff, and Dickstein Shapiro, as a legal services firm, has lots of clients -- including dozens of Fortune 500 companies (whether that's good or bad is up to the reader) -- and offices around the country.’s-lobbying-firm-tied-to-Democrat-donations#ixzz1T7d1r8yb

ROY: Patterson throws support to Hoekstra in race against Stabenow WITH VIDEO
"I understand that John will be withdrawing and throwing his support to Hoekstra," Patterson said Friday. "I don't know if I'm letting the cat out of the bag early but that decision, I think, has been made and so I will be supporting Pete Hoekstra from this day forward.

JCP: Guest column by Tim Walberg: Republican agenda aims to create much-needed jobs

MM: Michigan Reps. vote to weaken consumer protections
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved HR 1315, also called the Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act. The vote was 241-173, with all Michigan Republicans in the House voting for the bill.

SPOTLIGHT: Notice how the Det News ignores the Bush tax cuts as a major cause of the debt/deficit.

NYT: Editorial: How the Deficit Got This Big
With President Obama and Republican leaders calling for cutting the budget by trillions over the next 10 years, it is worth asking how we got here — from healthy surpluses at the end of the Clinton era, and the promise of future surpluses, to nine straight years of deficits, including the $1.3 trillion shortfall in 2010. The answer is largely the Bush-era tax cuts, war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recessions. . . . The second graph shows that under Mr. Bush, tax cuts and war spending were the biggest policy drivers of the swing from projected surpluses to deficits from 2002 to 2009.

LIV: Editorial: Debt fix will take politically painful steps
The Republican vote last week to seek a balanced-budget amendment was political posturing. Republicans know the bill has no chance to get through the Senate or past a presidential veto. Their theatrics were not at all about the debt; they were mostly about the 2012 elections. . . . Meanwhile, if Congress did nothing — which is certainly within its skill set — the Bush tax cuts could expire, which alone would cut the debt by about $4 trillion over the next decade or so. Between those two areas — gradual, measured cuts in entitlement programs and modest tax hikes — is a solution. This is not news. It's been endorsed by two presidential commissions and the so-called "Gang of Six" in the U.S. Senate. But neither political party seems interested in a solution. Republicans want to starve government by massive spending cuts, using the debt as a political tool. Democrats want to use entitlement spending as their own political cudgel.

DN: Editorial: Debt talks must reach for a grander deal
Proposals for deficit reduction fall well short of what's needed to alter the nation's fiscal fate
The reckless spending binge that began with a Democratic congress and a Republican president in 2007 and accelerated under President Barack Obama, taking the deficit to $1.6 trillion from $161 billion, will continue even if the most ambitious of the proposed deficit reduction plans is adopted.


MSNBC: Headline: Lawmakers pursue rival budget plans, markets uneasy - US moves closer to ratings downgrade and default that could send shockwaves through markets

REU: Congress "nutters" risk global finance: UK minister
Right-wing "nutters" in the United States Congress holding up a deal to prevent a catastrophic debt default are a greater risk to the global financial system than problems in the euro zone, a British minister said Sunday.

WH: WEEKLY ADDRESS: A Bipartisan Approach to Strengthening the Economy
WH: Some Republicans in Congress Once Argued Against Short-Term Solutions - They Were Right

So that means, yes, we have to make serious budget cuts; but that it’s not right to ask middle class families to pay more for college before we ask the biggest corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.  It means that before we stop funding clean energy, we should ask oil companies and corporate jet owners to give up the tax breaks that other companies don’t get.  Before we cut medical research, we should ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries.  Before we ask seniors to pay more for Medicare, we should ask the wealthiest taxpayers to give up tax breaks we simply cannot afford under these circumstances. That’s the heart of this approach: serious cuts, balanced by some new revenues.  And it’s been the position of every Democratic and Republican leader who has worked to reduce the deficit, from Bill Clinton to Ronald Reagan.  I

THE HILL: DCCC launches robo calls against GOP members for 'gamble' on debt ceiling
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Saturday it will hit Republican members of Congress in 60 districts with robo calls on their positions regarding the debt ceiling. Calling it the “We Don’t Quit” campaign, the DCCC said in a statement that the campaign aims “to hold Republicans accountable for playing games with the debt ceiling.” . . . The DCCC's new campaign is targeting the following GOP House members: . . . Dan Benishek (Mich.), Justin Amash (Mich.), Dave Camp (Mich.), Fred Upton (Mich.), Tim Walberg (Mich.), Mike Rogers (Mich.), Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.).
NYT: Nicholas Kristoff: Republicans, Zealots and Our Security
IF China or Iran threatened our national credit rating and tried to drive up our interest rates, or if they sought to damage our education system, we would erupt in outrage. Well, wake up to the national security threat. Only it’s not coming from abroad, but from our own domestic extremists. . . . “The attack on literacy programs reflects a broader assault on education programs,” said Rosa DeLauro, a Democratic member of Congress from Connecticut. She notes that Republicans want to cut everything from early childhood programs to Pell grants for college students. Republican proposals have singled out some 43 education programs for elimination, but it’s not seen as equally essential to end tax loopholes on hedge fund managers. So let’s remember not only the national security risks posed by Iran and Al Qaeda. Let’s also focus on the risks, however unintentional, from domestic zealots.

NYT: Krugman: Messing With Medicare
At the time of writing, President Obama’s hoped-for “Grand Bargain” with Republicans is apparently dead. And I say good riddance. I’m no more eager than other rational people (a category that fails to include many Congressional Republicans) to see what happens if the debt limit isn’t raised. But what the president was offering to the G.O.P., especially on Medicare, was a very bad deal for America. Specifically, according to many reports, the president offered both means-testing of Medicare benefits and a rise in the age of Medicare eligibility. The first would be bad policy; the second would be terrible policy. And it would almost surely be terrible politics, too. . . . Of course, it’s possible that the reason the president is offering to undermine Medicare is that he genuinely believes that this would be a good idea. And that possibility, I have to say, is what really scares me.


DNC: Video: Our first ad of the 2012 campaign
In our first political ad of the 2012 election cycle, we’re running a Spanish-language TV ad that corrects any mistruths out there and underscores the President’s commitment to the Hispanic community. Here's our message:

POLITICO: Op-Ed by Rep. Steve Rothman: Obama's pro-Israel record


RC: Headline: McCotter Goes It Alone
Quirky 2012 Bid Latest Head-Scratching Move
Back home in Michigan, McCotter could have bigger problems on his hands than a fledgling presidential bid. Local press have skewered his national campaign, and a Republican state Senator is already running for his seat. All of this prompts speculation that this could be the Congressman’s last term in the House, and even McCotter won’t commit to running again for re-election. “I’m not entertaining that. I’m focused on the presidency,” he said. “That’s my No. 1 goal.”


CNN: Norway terror suspect claims to have worked with 2 other cells

NYT: Conservative column: A Right-Wing Monster
MMFA: [Fox News'] Carlson Complains Media "Quick To Paint Norway Terror Suspect As A Right-Wing Operative"

For decades, Europe’s governing classes insisted that only racists worried about immigration, only bigots doubted the success of multiculturalism and only fascists cared about national identity. Now that a true far-right radical has perpetrated a terrible atrocity, it will be easy to return to those comforting illusions. But extremists only grow stronger when a political system pretends that problems don’t exist. Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic have an obligation to acknowledge that Anders Behring Breivik is a distinctively right-wing kind of monster. But they also have an obligation to the realities that this monster’s terrible atrocity threatens to obscure.

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