Takeaways from Snyder’s final budget

Flashback to Jan. 1981. President Ronald Reagan brought the House down, at least on the GOP side of the Congress with his infamous line, “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

Apparently Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder wasn’t listening or it appears more likely, he was not buying the assertion and all you have to do is wade through his final state budget that he uncorked to prove the point.

This former CEO and CPA semi-moderate chief executive has a kinder and gentler attitude, to borrow another president’s favorite line, about government as reflected in his spending priorities.

There’s more money for the schools.

There’s more money for the roads.

There’s more money to replaced all the pipes in the lead infested city of Flint.

There’s more money for state cops.

And the phase “there’s more money” was repeated over and over again.

Other governors presented a budget where the lead story was, governor slashes state spending. GOP governors did that on purpose to reduce the size of government, ala Mr. Reagan, while Democratic governors had to do it because state coffers were depleted.

A stunning admission of how government can do better than the GOP mantra that the private sector can always do it cheaper and better is the ill-fated and headline producing privatization of prison meals.

How’d that work out boys and girls?

After four long years of hiring not one but two private sector vendors to produce the grub on the chow line for 40,000 inmates, this governor cried uncle. Note that it was never his idea in the first place as he was basically ordered by his GOP legislature to do it or else.

Reporters had a field day with the experiment as you will recall stories about maggots in the food, inmate protests due to the lousy food and private sector employees having sex with inmates inside the kitchen cooler. When the movie of that comes out the title will be: Getting Hot in the Prison Ice Box.

To his credit Mr. Snyder confessed this did not work. He left out the line, “I told ya so.”

To the amazement of some, some Republicans, hinted they might not kill the program regardless of what the boss says while Democrats cheered the GOP governor for getting it right.

In fact that was the sub-plot buried inside this budget. Sure Democratic leaders griped that it was “to little too late” on the spending side, but in their private moments, they were more overjoyed with the Snyder blueprint than many of the more conservative R’s in the joint.

And that’s not a new theme either over these last eight years. The governor wanted to build a bridge to Canada, the Democrats give it a standing ovation while the Republicans sat on their hands. The governor wanted to provide health care to needy families, every Democrat was there and some Republicans were too but the bulk of them hated it. Etc. Etc. Etc.

So the governor’s pro-government budget is in the hopper to be sliced and diced by those who disagree, and that whirling sound you hear? Mr. Reagan spinning in his grave.