Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Conservatives to Troy, Michigan: Here’s Some Nice Higher Unemployment for the Holidays, Courtesy of the Tea Party

No Need to Thank Them – Your Misery is Thanks Enough

It is not a secret that the communities in the state of Michigan are in difficult economic shape (It’s not a secret because nobody is trying to keep it a secret).  So as part of the plan to help the economy and help the people severely affected by the weak economy, the Federal government had enacted a stimulus program that in part consisted of supporting construction in communities where the construction was needed and where the project itself would help the local economy.

In Troy, Michigan this resulted in the Federal government approving a $8.5 million project to upgrade the local rail terminal, a project that would create construction jobs and further the economy of the local area by improving services it could provide on the Detroit to Chicago rail link.  But this project was an affront to the radical political philosophy of the Troy Tea Party major and her colleagues on the city council.

The terminal, which would help Troy become a transportation node on an upgraded Detroit-to-Chicago Amtrak line, was hailed by supporters as a way to create jobs and to spur economic development. But federal money is federal money, so with the urging of the new mayor, who helped found the local Tea Party chapter, the City Council cast a 4-to-3 vote this week against granting a crucial contract, sending the project into limbo.

“There’s nothing free about government money,” Mayor Janice Daniels said in an interview. “It’s never free, and it’s crippling our way of life.”

The major did not detail exactly how improving a rail terminal would be a loss of freedom and cripple the way of life, although to be fair the fact that the British wanted to build a rail terminal and improve the economic lifes of the colonists was a major factor in the writing of the Declaration of Independence.  Presumably she meant the project would reduce the freedom of the citizens of her community to be poor and unemployed, and destroy a way of life that has resulted in destitution for many.

Michigan now has a Conservative Governor, but even he and the typically conservative Chamber of Commerce objected to what the city was doing.

Taking Tea Party reasoning to the local level has outraged supporters of the transit center, which has been in the works for a decade. Michele Hodges, the president of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, which supports the transit project, said that her organization “will be a pit bull for what’s best for this community.” . . .

Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, a Republican, said through a spokeswoman that he was “disappointed” in the city’s decision and would be “reviewing our options for utilizing the grant, including the potential transfer of the grant to another applicant.” Mr. Snyder had sent a letter to Mayor Daniels before the vote saying that the project would have “significant, positive economic development on your community and the state.”

The report does not say so, but one can reasonably assume that neither the Mayor nor the Council members who voted against the project will affected directly or indirectly by the loss of the jobs and the negative economic impact.  After all, it is a lot easier to be ideologically pure when someone else is suffering from the imposition of your beliefs.  And besides, to these Conservatives the poor and unemployed are (take your pick), lazy, indolent, leeches, stupid, or parasites. 
And before anyone suggests that characterizing the Mayor as a mean, partisan, bigoted person is unfair, there is this to consider

The transit fight is not Mayor Daniels’s first brush with controversy. Earlier this month, it was revealed that she posted a message to her Facebook page last June, after New York State approved same-sex marriage, stating, “I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there.”

And while Mayor Daniels later said she regretted that comment, the expression in the comment is far more telling than her expression of regret.

There are countries in the world where ideological purity is imposed at great cost to the citizenry.  North Korea comes to mind.  Maybe now that there is an opening in the leadership in that country Mayor Daniels and her allies on the city council might want to consider re-locating there and running for public office in that nation.  Their attitudes towards governing would fit right in.

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