Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to Senate Bill 806 which is another in a long line of bills that have been rushed through this chamber which are supposedly intended to create jobs, but in reality, will serve only to pad the profits of businesses.
I certainly support making changes that will build a strong economy and foster a business friendly climate in Michigan. However, I do not believe we can do so, Mr. Speaker, by turning the entire system against the vast majority of the citizens we are sworn to represent. Let me be clear: while we are passing bill after bill to assist businesses so that they will supposedly create more jobs, we have hurt the very people they need to hire — our wealth creators. When I say “wealth creators” I’m referring to the working men and women of this state who are by all measures the driving force behind the local, state and national economies.
This bill Mr. Speaker, once again, expects us to accept the premise, that if only we let business owners make a little more money, if only we use the power of this legislature—the power of the people— to help pad their profit margins just a little more by cutting back workers’ rights, pay and benefits, then we’ll all be better off. Well I reject that premise. It is a symptom of a fundamentally flawed economic theory which has failed our state and our nation for the last thirty years. It has failed because, as everyone in this chamber should know, there is no commerce and there are no businesses and there is no wealth created without the labor of those folks who show up and punch the clock every single day.
I oppose this bill because to support it would require that I accept the premise that Michigan businesses have been victimized by a system that in reality, has served us well for generations. I oppose this bill because to support it would require that I accept the premise that our workers are nothing more than con artists and leeches who are bilking the system. This basically was the line used in committee to help pass this bill which ultimately strips working class citizens—our wealth creators— of the protections afforded their parents and grandparents while putting their fates entirely in the hands of insurance companies and businesses that have an overwhelming financial incentive to deny just claims and force Michigan families into a cycle of underemployment and poverty.
I urge my colleagues to vote no on this bill and to recognize that we must slow down, find the middle ground to reform outdated laws with respect for both business owners and the fine men and women who go to work every day actually building the products and providing the services. When we do that, Mr. Speaker, Michigan’s economic engine will begin to hum again.