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Hills Protestors: "Defend the American Dream"

More than 60 people attended the rally in front of the Jon Grant Community Center Monday.

Despite cold temperatures and a steady drizzle, dozens of people showed up in Farmington Hills Tuesday to protest cuts to emergency services, education and veteran services in the federal and state budgets.

Those in attendance were part of the "Defend the American Dream" movement, organized by Moveon.org, a non-profit progressive/liberal advocacy group.

The local event, held in front of the at Grand River and Middlebelt, is one of 270 across the country; another will be held Wednesday at the State Capitol in Lansing, he said.

"Right now Congress is poised to strike a horrible deal on the federal budget," said Carlos Whitmore, a Farmington Hills resident. "We want to make it clear, particularly to our counterparts in Lansing, that by supporting the Republicans' dangerous budget proposals, they are launching an assualt on families of Michigan and the American dream, and destroying jobs."

Organizers said just six of the 69 people who signed up to protest did not show, despite the cold weather and rain.

Protestors lined up along the sidewalk on Grand River often pumped their umbrellas when passing cars honked. Those who attended ranged in age from retirees to young children.

Paul Pardee and his daughter, Sheri, both of Farmington Hills, came out because they're both concerned about the power held by billionaires like the Koch brothers, owners of Koch Refining, a multi-billion dollar energy congolmorate.

"The only equalizer we have is, there's only one vote per person," Paul Pardee said. "Our only hope is to make sure in every election we get out and use our vote. I think a lot of people didn't do that in the last election, and that's why we're in the situation we're in now."

Kurt Riebling of Redford, who joined the Pardees, attended for a simple reason: "So the little guys don't get screwed," he said.

Kelli Carpenter-Crawford of Farmington Hills brought her children Maddy, 10 and Nathan, 5 to the event, with signs that urged support for schools, public health and safety. She said the family came out because of concerns over "the things that matter in our community."

"I'm here to support education," Maddi said. This was her first protest rally, and despite the weather, she said, "It's cool."

Mark Traficant of Redford said he attended because "I despise greed and selfishness, and unfortunately, many people have been convinced to vote against their own self-interests." He said he worked more than a decade for Ford Motor Company and in company management. He stepped down "because ethics and compassion for my fellow man was more important to me."

"The profit motive doesn't serve people," he said.

Bruce Carr of Farmington Hills is a retired Detroit Public Schools teacher. He said cuts to education proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder will nearly double class sizes in Michigan.

"I had 35 students in a class when I was teaching," he said. "There's no way we could have put that many in a classroom, there wasn't the space."

Jan Cartwright March 16, 2011 at 09:00 PM
I'm so glad Patch covered this event! The more press coverage we can give to grass roots efforts to stand strong against the craziness that's going on in Lansing and Washington, the better.
Bryce March 17, 2011 at 02:02 AM
I must disagree Jan. To my way of thinking, "craziness" is what we have had in Lansing for the past many years. It cannot be sustained and is foolish to think so.
RB March 17, 2011 at 03:44 AM
My american dream is for government to quit spending money. We are out of cash. "Craziness" is not to see that reality.
DCC March 17, 2011 at 01:38 PM
We have a responsibility to our community to demand a more constructive approach to building Michigan's future than what King Richard is inflicting upon us. His tax increases place more burden on most of us, while at the same time giving tax bonuses to businesses. The very idea that Americans would grant such dictatorial powers to people as the GOP has done in the first quarter of this year is beyond belief. If we are going to protect our community, we must insist upon measures and policies that enhance it. Snyder and the GOP could care less that our property values have been dragged downward and that to stabilize our communities we need better schools, not more crowded ones; more nurses, not less; a sense of shared sacrifice, not demonization of the middle class, or unions, or the poor, or the old, while businesses reap unfair tax benefits. Nothing about the edicts of King Richard and his fellow travelers in the legislature bodes well for our community, and most of the people in the state do not support them. Thanks to the group that made that fact visible at the Defend the American Dream rally.
Bryce March 17, 2011 at 02:50 PM
Darryl: Would you care to point out how exactly Gov. Snyder's plan demonizes the middle class, unions, poor people or old people? At present, Michigan's tax on business is among the highest in the nation. Might you explain how exactly reducing that tax burden to be more in line with our neighboring states, in order to stimulate growth and job creation, is unfair to anyone?
DCC March 17, 2011 at 04:27 PM
Looking at Snyder 's policies, the implication is that the poor and middle class isn't paying enough. He's raising those taxes. Upper income levels, not so much. This is unfair and regressive. The tax rate on lowest 20% goes up from 8.9% to 10%; on the upper 1% it goes from 5.3% to 5.4%. His plan ends our Earned Income Tax Credit, cuts a $600 per child tax credit, reduce credits for seniors, and cut funding for school districts by 8% to 10%. Why? To pay for a 86% biz tax bonus. None of this was on his campaign lit. In fact, he was mum and the press allowed him to sail through as a stealth candidate. It also pulls money out of the economy, slowing demand, a sure jobs killer. Revising the state's business tax and exempting huge sections of businesses is unfair and inefficient. Snyder's plan is for a 6% corporate income tax. However, it applies only to large corporations that are publicly traded. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors would be taxed, while Chrysler, which is a limited liability corporation, would not. There are better ways, ways that would protect and preserve the quality of life in our community. However, when it comes to protecting our schools, our property values, and the health and welfare of our neighbors, Snyder's plan is not the way. It is unfair to Michigan, save for those who love the idea of being ruled by an oligarchy.
Bryce March 17, 2011 at 07:30 PM
Quick fact check. According to the Michigan Department of Treasury, Office of Revenue and Tax Analysis, retirees that earn under 42,000.00 per year in total income under the new plan, pensions included, would pay no state tax. That seems like a pretty fair deal to me. Private pensions have always been taxed in this state, it was only public service pensions that were exempt from taxation. Logic would dictate that if you tax one, you should tax both. Again, according to figures supplied by the Michigan Department of Treasury, single parents earning less than 25,000 per year also would pay no state income tax. Yet a married couple with three kids earning 110,000 per year would pay 1840.00 in state taxes. I fail to see how this plan can be said to put the burden on the poor. Opponents also fail to mention that under the new proposal, Michigan will be able to maintain its current Medicaid benefit levels which in fact helps the poorest in our state. Under the old system, I as a small business owner in the State of Michigan was rewarded for my efforts by having the opportunity to pay taxes twice. First, my business paid the MBT, then after that was paid, any income I took for myself was also taxed. Evidently you think that is equitable. Darryl, it's rather obvious to me that your agenda here has more to do with Rick Snyder than the budget plan. You wouldn't happen to have a position with the MDP would you?

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