Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dick DeVos: The Top Ten

Behind Dick DeVos's multi-million-dollar whine-about-Granholm ad campaign is a man whose business dealings and behind-the-scenes politicking reflect an excess of greed and contempt for working people that makes George W. Bush and John Engler look like sensible progressives.

But just what makes DeVos so bad? After all, isn’t our economy so bad that we need a wealthy businessman as governor instead of someone who has actually worked her way to where she is?

In this article, Joel Wendland gives us a rather indicting (excuse the pun) perspective of DeVos. I suggest you pass this on to everyone you know who lives in Michigan.

The entire article is good, but here are some of the highlights:

2. DeVos believes in cutting jobs. As head of Amway, Dick DeVos laid off nearly 1,400 people in Michigan between 1998 and 2000. Three years later, DeVos' company announced plans to increase investments by more than $200 million in its manufacturing and distribution facilities overseas. DeVos has helped Michigan lose 180,000 manufacturing jobs since 1999. Meanwhile companies with huge investments overseas, like DeVos,' have seen their profits grow (Detroit Free Press, Grand Rapids Business Journal).


5. DeVos despises Michigan's public schools. This is no exaggeration. DeVos was the main financial backer and chair of a failed 2000 anti-public school voucher ballot initiative in Michigan that was basically a scheme to cut funding for public education. He is a staunch advocate for privatization and in a 2002 speech to the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation declared, "When the time comes, we will bring the fight back to Michigan again." Furthermore, DeVos, while serving on the State Board of Education (before abruptly quitting after two years of an 8-year term), advocated handing over public education resources to private corporations, thereby undermining Michigan's public schools. He personally financed the Education Freedom Fund, an organization of anti-public school advocates, by lavishing hundreds of thousands of dollars on it in the 1990s. Undoubtedly DeVos' investments in K12 Inc., an educational corporation that provides materials for private schools, would see solid returns if he could successfully undermine Michigan's public schools. (Booth Newspapers, Center for
Media and Democracy, AP)


7. DeVos thinks large corporations shouldn't have to pay their fair share of Michigan's tax burden.
DeVos wants to eliminate Michigan's Single Business Tax to benefit large companies like his own and shift an additional tax burden of $800 per year onto working families.


While DeVos tries to hide his record on cutting jobs and gutting schools, it is eminently "appropriate" that the voters of Michigan and the US in general know the truth about Dick DeVos. People have called Michigan's gubernatorial race a bellwether for the 2008 presidential race. Indeed, this is our chance to stop a candidate that poses a grave danger to working people in Michigan. If this race is a sign of things to come on the national political scene, it is also our chance to make a bold statement to the country that the anti-people politics of Republicans like DeVos, DeLay, Bush, and their cronies are now done for.


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