How to Justify Violating Bedrock Principles

Lesson one:

“Local control? I’ll tell you what, I think that in a lot of these places there is no control.”–Small-government conservative Sen. Jack Brandenburg, GOP-Harrison Township, Mich.

Michigan state Sen. Jack Brandenburg

Michigan bears as much scrutiny as the higher profile labor fight in Madison, Wis.

In Lansing, Republicans are on the verge of allowing the state treasuer to appoint “emergency financial managers” (EMFs). The ostensible point is to have someone swoop in and spot local fiscal crises and figure out a way to fix them before they blow up into catastrophe.

A notable, even laudable goal, given that fiscal stressors mean that catastrophe is imminent in many local governments.

But these “emergency managers” might better be labeled “fiscal czars”–in the old-fashioned Russian sense. Or maybe Cossacks. The treasurer in effect would–will?–be the actual Czar.

Democrats [assert] that the bill will destroy Michigan’s long history of local control by allowing the EMF to remove top administrators and elected officials, put millage increases on the ballot, lay off employees, slash services, and merge the city or school district with a neighboring government entity.

The loquacious Brandenburg, who at least deserves credit for talking turkey, denies that. But he also tells the Oakland County (Mich.) Daily Tribune that “the EMFs will be deployed in communities that need ‘financial martial law.’”


Michael Moore–not a guy I generally listen to with both ears–responds passionately to both Michigan and Wisconsin on last night’s “The Rachel Maddow Show:”

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  1. Thanks for posting this. “Financial martial law”! And here I thought conservatives advocated small government. At the end of the video above, you can click on Naomi Klein, “GOP strategy: Disaster Capitalism” for more about the Michigan bill. Amazing. Highly recommend Klein’s book, “The Shock Doctrine.”

  2. Thanks for checking in, Kirk. And thanks for the recommendation.

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