Thursday, March 3, 2011

People Finally Getting a Peek at Snyder

What does it mean that Rick Snyder's popularity is dropping like a rock?

That's what the polls say. Snyder's approval rating plunged from 59 percent in January to 44 percent in February. His disapproval rating went from 8 percent in January to 27 percent in February. In other words, his approval rating dropped by 25 percent and his disapproval rating went up 300 percent.

One possible reading is that Michigan voters don't like his interpretation of "shared sacrifice" in which the people do the sacrificing and businesses divy up the rewards. And the polls bear that out, with his big tax increases for poor and working people being extremely unpopular. People don't see fairness in what he is proposing.

They also don't see any long-term gain. People will sacrifice if it means better schools for their kids, better police and fire protection, and so on. But Snyder's tax increases won't give people that. Schools and local communities are getting millions less.

People will sacrifice if they think it will improve the economy. That's why people like the film incentives. A company gets an incentive, they show up in your community to make a movie and they hire people and spend money and you can see it. But Snyder can't demonstrate that forcing working people and poor people to pay more taxes will mean anything more than bigger profits for businesses. He can't offer a single estimate of the number of jobs that will be created because we know from decades of cutting taxes for business that there is no guarantee lower taxes will mean more jobs.

Furthermore, people don't like surprises, and most of Snyder's proposals amount to a big nasty surprise. During the campaign, Snyder never said he was going to raise taxes on working people and poor people and senior citizens. He said he was going to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax but he never was pressed to say how he would make up the revenue.

In fact, he was never pressed to say much of anything. He only did one debate during the general election campaign. Most of what people knew about him came from his own commercials. Even his State of the State message was mostly vague generalities. Snyder's budget message was the first chance people had to learn what Snyder believed in.

And they don't like it.

1 comment:

Jordan G said...

Has Gov. Snyder had to answer to his "shared sacrifice" claim yet? I understand that someone making a million-dollar income may have to pay a couple hundred dollars more in taxes because of the elimination of a few tax deductions, but I would love to hear the governor explain if that is what he means by "shared sacrifice".

Or what about the very straight-forward question: if tax raises are required to balance the budget, does he believe that raising taxes on the poor is economically more efficient than raising taxes on the wealthy?

I wanted to give the governor the benefit of the doubt, and trust that he would make policy decisions based on intelligence rather than philosophy, but it is quite clear that I was wrong to trust such a thing. So I am now someone who is represented by the jump from 8% to 27% disapproval.