This column originally appeared in The Detroit News.
Families across Michigan are facing one crisis after another, and they’re still looking for leadership in the governor’s office.
It looks like they’ll have to keep on waiting. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her allies in the state House and Senate just plain aren’t interested in making the tough calls. They’re not willing to tackle the problems. They’re not even willing to talk about them.
Whitmer claims this is the “best recovery” in state history. Scroll through the governor’s Twitter feed and you’d never even know families are hurting.
Last week, Whitmer called for a repeal of the “retirement tax” but failed to mention that just weeks before she vetoed serious tax relief for all Michigan seniors and families since the proposed legislation would have restored the child tax credit, too.
Earlier this month, when everyday moms and dads were worrying about how they were going to afford to fill up the gas tank before work, Whitmer was tweeting about National Pet Day.
Whitmer says there are a lot of signs that Michigan is on the right track, but inflation is decimating families. Small businesses that managed to survive Whitmer’s lockdowns are now being forced out of business by rising prices.
Politics boils down to so-called kitchen table issues. Consumer prices are up 8.5% over last year. That’s the biggest jump in four decades. The cost of gas is up 48%. Rent is up more than 15%. Overall grocery prices are up 10%. It gets worse.
Inflation alone is costing Michigan households almost $300 a month. Then there are the lost jobs.
University of Michigan economist Richard Curtin says personal finances are expected to worsen over the next year by the largest proportion since surveys started in the mid-1940s.
A report this month from the Michigan Association of United Ways found that nearly half of the children in Michigan were living in households that experienced financial hardship as of 2019.
Now families of small children are traveling from city to city looking for baby formula and coming up empty because of inflation and supply chain challenges. If they can find it at all, they face purchase limits that force them to make long treks again and again just to keep their children fed.
Inflation doesn’t just happen. Incompetent politicians create it, and it hurts real people.
As more Michigan residents feel the sting of rising prices every day, Whitmer will soon wish she had done more to address the real problems in our state.
Tori Sachs is executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund.