National attention has been drawn to Michigan lately, largely due to continuing coverage of the Emergency Financial Manager law by MSNBC news show host Rachel Maddow.
On Monday, that national attention got a boost when Stephen Colbert made Governor Snyder and the controversial EFM law the focus of his “The Word” segment.
Colbert focused on the recent application of the new EFM managers powers in Benton Harbor.
Colbert’s skit prompted Joyce Pines of the Kalamazoo Gazette to reflect on what it means to have businessmen trying to fix the debt problem, considering their personal stakes in the matter (a topic which has been covered previously by Michigan Radio’s Lester Graham, and whose reporting is referenced in the article).
From Pines’ article on MLive:
Sometimes comedians deliver serious things to think about through the laughs they generate. Colbert notes: "Benton Harbor's elected officials are incompetent. Therefore, by electing them, the voters are incompetent. So they should lose their democracy."
Colbert continued: "Certain people don't put enough thought into voting for their leaders" and then pointed out the debt owed by the nation overall — $14 trillion — and suggested the whole country could use an emergency financial manager.
From a business perspective, he may be on to something. It appears that businessmen are stepping up and offering to fix our sorry state of affairs because the massive debt we're piling up could sink their enterprises as well as this nation. Although Michigan legislators do not have to reveal what they do for a living, Michigan Radio reports that at least one-third of current Michigan legislators are business owners.
But their solutions are to fix the government by making sure that their personal and business funds are taxed as little as possible. In some cases, legislators in Michigan may be voting to eliminate taxes on their own businesses — conflict of interest?
If you haven’t seen the skit yet, here it is.