Republicans Rewriting Michigan History

Michigan RepublicansLast week my colleague at the Detroit News Joshua Pugh took aim at the Michigan House Republicans for their right wing agenda that runs counter to the interest of the people. He also called out Jase Bolger in his critique which unsurprisingly elicited a response from Representatives Bolger’s press secretary Ari Adler.

Outside of the campaign style personal attack on Joshua and his employer Progress Michigan which seemed below the standards we would expect from the office of the speaker of the house, Adler made a number of salient points that many Republicans would probably blindly accept as fact. Unfortunately these claims are more talking point than accurate portrayal of the Republican accomplishments over the past two years.

For instance Mr. Adler starts off his argument by pointing out that in Michigan since Republicans took control in 2011 there have been two budgets that passed four months early avoiding the government shut downs of the past. What he conveniently fails to mention is that those shut downs were the results of the two parties being forced to compromise. The quick budget resolutions are due to Democrats being shut out of the conversation which is not something the voters of a Democrat leaning state would see as something to celebrate like Mr. Adler does.

He goes one to suggest Republicans have eliminated $20 billion dollars in debt yet the data shows that Republicans just approved a budget that leaves Michigan with the largest debt in its history and that the per person debt in Michigan has gone up every year under Republicans and currently stands at record highs.

Next Mr. Adler touts Michigan Republicans efforts to restock the Rainy Day Fund (Budget Stabilization Fund) from $2 million to $500 million. Ironically this is a thorn in the sides to both parties since Republicans would prefer that taxes be cut instead of government savings while Democrats point out that Republicans cut $1 billion from education and increased taxes on the elderly by $300 million to achieve these gains in the Rainy Day Fund.

And of course no fallacious argument would be complete without a couple of unsubstantiated feel good anecdotal non-facts so Mr. Adler says “moving companies are reporting that people are returning to Michigan” and “we are hearing from many grandparents who are thrilled to see their kids returning, bringing their grandkids with them”.

But perhaps the worst argument Ari Adler makes is attributing all the job creation and other economic gains from January 2011 to Republicans. While unemployment has gone down since 2011 it was already on a steady decline before Republicans showed up. Similarly while there has been private sector job creation since January 2011 the Republicans self proclaimed job creating business tax cuts didn’t even take effect until 2012.

If you really wanted to understand Michigan’s economic performance over the past decade you need look no further than business to find the answers. For decades Michigan had put all of their eggs in the auto industry basket and as the big three lost ground so did Michigan. Ford for example lost more money in 2006 than at any point in the company’s history. Given these huge losses they cut staff, downsized facilities and invested in the next generation of products. Three years later they emerged a profitable company.

Michigan followed a very similar path of cutting, downsizing and investing. Now years late thanks to the resurgence of the automotive industry, a focus on diversification, and years of government cuts paired with tax increases which Republicans have mainly left unchanged – Michigan is making a comeback.

While Ari Adler is long on talking points meant to fool voters into thinking this is solely a Republican recovery he never once mentions a single piece of legislation passed by his boss when talking about these improvements. Make no mistake; this was not an oversight on his part. The reality is Mr. Adler knows Michigan Republicans are just the beneficiaries of hard choices made by the previous administration, smart decisions by the auto industry and a resurging US economy. But if Ari Adler wants to give the new wave a Republicans the credit they deserve he can thank than for setting up Jase Bolger to become the next Minority Leader starting in January 2015.

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