Lame duck federal legislators are now engaged in a daffy duck session, perhaps to prove in the last light of the year just why American voters so overwhelmingly turned them out and demanded compromise. Meanwhile, the earnest Michigan Gov.-elect Rick Snyder walked Capitol hallways to establish the conversation even before his term begins, providing examples of their missing leadership while eschewing the national spotlight.
Once again the Democratic U.S. Senate leaders last week played and threw sand, even while the sands of time for unemployment benefits were fast sifting through the hourglass. For those who could not hear the rational debate for all the shouting meant to grab headlines instead of progress, perhaps Michigan Republican Dave Camp said it best. He emphasized he supports extension of federal unemployment benefits but Democrats were not allowing Republicans to introduce a measure that extended those benefits while also providing some method of payment for them with unused federal stimulus funding.
Democrats meanwhile attempted to tie together their distaste for the expiring Bush tax cuts and the benefit extension as their “compromise” to approve both. It is safe to say that those middle-class Americans they purport to selectively worry over would benefit from those tax cuts and the included relief of the inheritance tax.
Surely it makes one wonder if the Democrats read the headlines of Nov. 3. Time is running out for them to prove they support the voters’ decree for compromise, which will surely have additional consequence.
At the same time, Snyder stayed focused on a looming Michigan issue he inherits the day he takes office: that of repayment of Michigan’s $3.8 billion in borrowed unemployment compensation. Snyder succinctly told members of Congress that loan repayment will result in higher Michigan business unemployment taxes, and assigns Michigan’s debt loan to business, creating even greater challenges for Michigan competitiveness to maintain and create jobs.
To his credit, Snyder did not become embroiled in the benefit/tax cut fight, but stayed centered on his mission. California is the only other state with more borrowed unemployment benefit debt. Even Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, pledged to work with the incoming governor.
Sound bites from his conversations in the halls of Congress give Michigan business owners reason for hope as this state’s economy teeters on spotty recovery. Snyder indicated he is focused on those businesses currently calling Michigan home, and less on “hunting” for new — even commenting to the Detroit News, “Let’s let business work in our state. The best marketing you can have is the word of mouth from happy customers — or successful business in your state.”
Stay centered, stay focused. It’s not something federal legislators have yet learned but Snyder is already making himself — and this state — the example of accomplishment.