The Socialist Party of Michigan encourages all working class voters of our state to reject the proposed new road-maintenance funding scheme in the May 5, 2015 statewide Special Election (Proposal 15-1). In response to rising corporate investment concerns over the crumbling state of Michigan’s road conditions, the state legislature’s Proposal asks voters to approve a constitutional amendment to authorize raising the state sales tax from six to seven percent, as well as an additional net increase in motor fuel taxes.
Without even considering any rollback to the state’s 86% corporate income tax cut, let alone any reduction to the 20% of general fund dollars allocated to the state’s prison system; the legislature has crafted Proposal 1 with the intent of further saddling the state’s working class and poor with an even greater disparate share of the state’s tax burden. According to current figures from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, the average cost of sales and excise taxes already amounts to 5.1% of household income for Michigan families in the lowest three-fifths of the income range — and 6.2% of household income for families with incomes in the bottom one-fifth. By contrast, the average percentage of household income paid in sales and excise taxes by Michigan families in the top one-percent of the income range amounts to a mere 0.8%.
In effort to wheedle support from low-income voters, the Proposal would also restore the state’s earned income tax credit to its pre-2011 percentage level. Yet, in at most providing an offset to the accompanying sales and fuel tax hike, the net effect of the state’s earned income tax credit reduction would still essentially remain unchanged. Thus, far from reflecting any intent to mitigate low-income workers’ disparate share of the state’s tax burden, the Proposal is truly aimed at adorning such an imbalance with the badge of state electorate approval.
The Socialist Party of Michigan’s Platform calls for a steeply graduated state income tax to fully replace the state’s regressive sales and fuel taxes, as well as the complete cessation of all private corporate tax breaks and subsidies. Ultimately, we further call for the creation of a massive social surplus to fund Michigan’s public service and community needs through the socialization of the state’s major industries under a democratically planned economic framework.
In order to move beyond the constantly recurring need for band-aid surface fixes, we also call for a significant enhancement to the durable quality of road repair surface-materials—distinctly specified to Michigan weather cycle conditions, as well as the development of ecologically sound alternatives to salt-based snow removal. Furthermore, we call for the wide scale expansion of viable alternatives to roadway-vehicle travel through the development of fully-funded high-speed rail transit systems connecting Michigan’s major cities.
There can be little doubt that the public message sent by Proposal 1’s approval would further embolden legislative efforts to push through other similarly regressive measures, if not also further attempts to leverage the status of public-benefit reductions as a means to elicit voter-acceptance of other future class-targeted attacks. In view of the Proposal’s main objective of shielding the rich from any felt share of the state’s infrastructural maintenance expenses, and correspondingly entailed ratification of the state’s regressively disparate tax burdens, Proposal 1 is altogether no less intolerable than the current conditions that it is framed to address.
by SPUSA Co-Chair Stephanie Cholensky
The political theater of a State of the Union Address, while certainly absurd in its disconnect with the struggle of the people, does serve as a reminder of our commitment to democratic socialism. While we are not insensitive to the impact, undoubtedly temporary in a two-party capitalist system, that incremental reform may have for the working class, the Socialist Party USA continues its fight for a revolutionary change impervious to market fluctuations and two-party politics. A question frequently asked is: “What would the United States look if the Socialist Party USA Platform was adopted?” Here is a small sample highlighting what the people could expect:
- A minimum wage of $15 per hour, indexed to the cost of living.
- A full employment policy and the provision of a livable guaranteed annual income.
- Comparable worth laws and affirmative action for women.
- A steeply graduated income tax and a steeply graduated estate tax, and a maximum income of no more than ten times the minimum as well as an end to regressive taxes such as payroll tax, sales tax, and property taxes.
- The restoration of the capital gains tax and luxury tax on a progressive, graduated scale.
- The closing of all U.S. military facilities at home and abroad that train foreign military and paramilitary personnel.
- An end to the U.S. occupation of the province of Guantanamo, Cuba.
- An end to all U.S. aid to Israel, as a precondition for peace.
- Reparations from the federal government for its role in the slave trade and the genocide of Native American nations, with the reparations programs administered by the oppressed communities themselves.
- The end of all anti-gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBTQ) restrictions in law and the work place, the repeal of all sodomy laws, and the legalization of same-sex marriage.
- The forgiveness of all outstanding federal student loans.
- Full and equal funding of public education; the restoration of a comprehensive K-12 curriculum, including art, music, world languages, and physical education; an end to all public funding of private schools; and free tuition and full-time teachers with full benefits (not “adjuncts”) at the post-secondary level.
- Public child care starting from infancy, and public education starting at age three, with caregivers and teachers of young children receiving training, wages, and benefits comparable to that of teachers at every other level of the educational system.
- A socialized health care system based on universal coverage, salaried doctors and health care workers, and revenues derived from a steeply graduated income tax.
- The prosecution of the criminal activities of politicians, corporate managers, and other privileged individuals, rather than the over-emphasis on minor infractions by working class people and for a sliding scale of fines based on income.
- The decriminalization of drug use and the regulation of narcotics by doctors through the use of prescriptions rather than by the criminal justice system.
- The development of alternative energy sources including solar, geothermal, wind, hydropower, and biomass to end dependence on fossil fuels.
President Obama is eloquent and articulate. He is well aware that a masterful spin job is vital to maintaining the capitalist status quo. Truth is the enemy of our elected officials, an enemy that is becoming increasingly apparent in the day of information-sharing. We stand to highlight that truth, and to use that truth to defeat the oppressive and brutal capitalist system and implement a humane system, a just system, a peaceful system, a democratic socialist system.
The next state membership meeting of the Socialist Party of Michigan will be held in Ypsilanti at the Whittaker Library at 2:00pm on Sunday, January 11th, 2015.
The library is located at at 5577 Whittaker Road.
SPMI members have full voting, motioning, and proposal-making rights at all SPMI state membership meetings.
The meeting is open to interested public observers, and members are encouraged to bring along guests.
Join us at the Tap Room after the meeting. Meet other socialists and radical leftists over a drink and a bite to eat.
The Tap Room is located just a few minutes away from the library at 201 West Michigan Avenue.
WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
Throughout the month of October drivers heading along northbound I-75 into Detroit will see the the Socialist Party of Michigan billboard pictured to the left. The billboard is located on the east side of the freeway between the Outer Dr. and M-39/Southfield Rd. exit points (42°15’38.1″N 83°10’41.2″W) . Many thanks to all those who contributed to putting this billboard on display!
The Socialist Party of Michigan has nominated SPMI State Chairperson Adam Adrianson for Michigan State University Board of Trustees in the November 6, 2014 General Election.
Due to the Michigan Secretary of State’s continuing exclusion of the Socialist Party from being listed on the Michigan ballot, Adam will be listed on the November ballot with the Green Party of Michigan ballot label, while running and campaigning on behalf of both dually nominating parties.