The backers of this effort to take a longtime public resource and turn it into a plutocrats’ preserve include a who’s who of wealthy right-wing “rugged individualists” and groups who owe their fortunes, in whole or in part, to taxpayers’ generosity. Among them: former Chrysler President Hal Sperlich, who went with Lee Iacocca to Washington, D.C. in 1979 to beg Jimmy Carter’s White House and the U.S. Congress for a government bailout of $1.5 billion, or nearly $4.8 billion in 2013 dollars; and Clark Durant, co-founder of Detroit’s Cornerstone Schools, a charter school system for students of upscale parents that receives lots of Michigan tax money.

Groups involved in the plan include the Koch-funded Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Walmart heirs (who might want to be saving their money instead, as their cash cow has suddenly gone into a tailspin — “total disaster” is the phrase one Walmart VP used in an internal email), Michigan Pyramid Marketing Pioneers, the VanAndel family and of course Lockwood, who is a board member of the Mackinac Center and gets tax subsidies and government loans for his many development projects.