Skip to comments.Who Can Restart Michigan's Engine?
Posted on 02/09/2006 7:21:15 AM PST by .cnI redruM
DETROIT -- Michigan has a problem: Its prosperity is withering as America's automobile industry withers. So Gov. Jennifer Granholm has a problem: She is seeking re-election in this cold economic climate. Her likely Republican opponent, Dick DeVos, has a problem: People are appalled by the state's condition, but they like Granholm. As does DeVos: ``She's a really nice person.''
The result may be a rarity -- an outbreak of gentility in politics. Debates about economic policies involve splittable differences, so civility might actually be served by the seriousness of Michigan's crisis. The focus on traditional economic issues may preclude any preoccupation with the cultural questions -- abortion, guns, gay marriage, etc. -- that tend to embitter politics.
DeVos, son of the co-founder of Amway, is a gentlemanly businessman from Grand Rapids. Recently he passed through this city's airport, dressed for wintery campaigning in the Upper Peninsula, where only 3 percent of the state's population lives. His full-court-press campaigning is fueled by the daily drizzle of terrible economic news.
Ford's announcement that it is cutting at least 25,000 jobs and closing 14 manufacturing plants in North America was preceded by GM's announcement that it is cutting 30,000 jobs and closing 12 plants. Soon the largest North American maker of auto parts -- Delphi, based in Troy, Mich. -- might ask a bankruptcy judge to shred labor contracts covering 33,000 workers. This would trigger a showdown with the United Auto Workers union. The UAW cannot strike Delphi without causing ripple effects that could inundate GM, which used to own Delphi and might, under the terms of the spin-off agreement, be responsible for anywhere from $3.5 billion to $12 billion of Delphi's ``legacy'' costs -- pensions, medical care -- for retirees.
Last year, Michigan was the only state other than Mississippi and Louisiana -- that is, the only state not hit by Hurricane Katrina -- that had a net job loss. It has lost one in four auto manufacturing jobs since 2001. Republicans have paid for billboards proclaiming that Michigan has lost one job for every 10 minutes Granholm has been governor. Understandably, the percentage of voters disposed to re-elect Granholm is 35 percent.
Michigan's corporate income-tax burden will be ranked the second heaviest in the Tax Foundation's forthcoming State Business Tax Climate Index. DeVos especially objects, as almost any conservative would, to heavy reliance on the Single Business Tax -- basically, a payroll tax -- particularly as applied to service industries that can, and do, leave the state.
Granholm has a recognizably liberal recovery plan: The state has borrowed $2 billion to be invested by people her administration calls ``independent job- creation experts.'' Translation: The $2 billion is a politically useful fund to be distributed to favored business executives.
DeVos is being attacked because, the chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party says, ``He supports free trade which has devastated the Michigan economy.'' So this race will preview what might be the highest stake in the 2008 presidential race -- repudiation of the basis of America's post-1945 prosperity. That basis was a bipartisan consensus in favor of free trade. That consensus has frayed, and by 2008 the Democratic Party probably will fully and formally embrace protectionism.
With 17 electoral votes, Michigan has recently been -- and in 2008 will again be -- a presidential election battleground state. In 2000, when Republican John Engler was governor, Al Gore defeated George W. Bush, 51-46. In 2004, when Granholm was governor, John Kerry defeated Bush, 51-48.
Another close presidential contest could turn on this state, in which the biggest city may be the nation's saddest, other than New Orleans -- and Detroit's condition is not the result of a natural disaster. Detroit's crime rate makes it second only to Camden, N.J., as America's most dangerous city. (Flint, Mich., is fourth.) Detroit has an adult functional illiteracy rate of 47 percent. A passionate advocate of school choice where schools are failing, DeVos knows he will be the object of passionate opposition from the teachers unions. But he says he operates on the assumption that this will be a close race, so if he wins, ``48 percent will have voted against me.''
United Van Lines, a winner from Michigan's losses, reports that last year the ratio of outbound to inbound moves was the state's highest since 1982, when Michigan's unemployment rate was 16.4 percent. DeVos tells audiences, ``I don't want to have to get on a plane to visit my grandchildren.'' He wants them to have to go to Lansing to visit grandpa.
Tough times for Ford.
Fix Or Repair Daily
...or Found On Road Dead
Brooks Patterson announced plans to have the voters decide whether or not to get rid of the SBT. He needs $800,000 and several thousand signatures to have it on the ballot in November.
Sometimes referendum is the only effective course. I wish him luck.
Wallace won the democrat primary. (72?)
I don't agree with Brooks on much since he's turned RINO in recent years, but I'll sign that petition in a minute.
"A guy like John Engler"
"On a bright note, Oakland County exec L. Brooks Patterson is looking at a petition drive to finally end the SBT, which taxes all businesses on their profits AND payroll. It automatically puts the state at a disadvantage when it comes to luring business here, and existing companies are leaving because of it. Granholm is, of course, against it, but she's fiddling while the state burns."
Engler and boys could have eliminated the Single Business Tax up to the time Jenny was elected. Every business owner could tell you how unfair a tax it is/was(even the party government realized it and promised to eliminate it)but the Rebulicans held on to the SBT teet like a starving baby. Canadian/socialist Jenny is not the party to blame...she has only held the stage for 3 years and both houses have been republican her entire 3 years. Ever wonder why GWB didn't give Johnny boy a cabinet seat (which was all but promised by the Michigan press) President Bush recognized the incompetence of the Michigan Republican party and its main stooge.
My Lincoln runs just great..rear drive V-8, 26+5000 miles. However, I did own a 1984 Tempo which was put on the road two years before design was complete.
...But he says he operates on the assumption that this will be a close race, so if he wins, ``48 percent will have voted against me.''
Smart man. He knows that if he gets less than 52% of the vote the 'rats will use the judiciary to overturn the will of the people.
DeVos has made his enormous fortune scamming people with multi-level marketing scams, which are nothing but pyramid schemes.
They're basically nothing but a structured chain letter. I oppose Granholm's politics, but this is a question of character. I am shocked that anyone could support the amoral, immoral, corrupt DeVos, let alone George Will.
But then, a lot of columnists are for sale, and DeVos has nothing if not money. And Will may not need the money -- he is the sort of guy who is such a policy wonk -- and such a shill for business -- that if Ted Bundy rose from the grave speaking up for corporate welfare, Will would write a column saying that murdering girls was not that big a deal.
DeVos talks the freedom for business game, but if you look at his business, which is built on lying to suppposed "independent business operators," what he wants is the sort of freedom from government harrassment that other organized crime figures, like the fictional Tony Soprano, want. Amway and the many other pyramid scams modeled on it have bankrupted scores, possibly hundreds, of thousands of Americans -- more than the ongoing correction in the auto industry imaginably can. And Dick DeVos is in it up to his lying eyes.
Criminal Number 18F
Are the thermometers in Hell on the centigrade scale? In that case, they will have to indicate below zero for Delphi to restore benefits, particularly to the lavish UAW level. There's no money there to do it with.
Great Caesar's ghost, having to choose between DeVos (a crook) and Granholm (a typical lib with a six-year-old's grasp of economics), leaves the embattled people of Michigan with no option but departure.
And the ones that leave are the most productive and youthful, leaving behind the dependent, old and sickly. Basically, what they have built is East Germany, which was unsustainable without the Berlin Wall. There's even a parallel in the Hobson's choice for the governor's office -- it's like Politburo maneuverings. It determines which branch of the elite lines its pockets fastest, but the average family is screwed regardless.
Criminal Number 18F
Ford deserves to fail. Most of my cars have been Fords and I've been happy enough with the machinery. But the company is a different story.
I was ready to replace my 60,000 mile Ranger (nearly trouble-free) with a new one, till I heard that Ford was a "platinum sponsor" of a Jesse Jackson wall street shakedown where Jackson, Belafonte and their ilk made a bunch of antisemitic statements. (At least there they are carring on old Henry's legacy, eh? He used to give money to the Nazis when they were broke and out of power).
When that was pointed out to Ford Chairman Edsel B. Ford recently, VP Steven Hamp (Edsel's Waylon Smithers, apparently) reported that Ford "did not plan to reconsider support" for Jackson's projects.
Ford spends millions on Jesse's shakedown, which is a higher priority for them than their employees or products, they sure don't need my money from a single lousy truck.
Remember, a dollar spent on any Ford product is part of how Jesse and his mini-me shakedown sons finance their empire.
Here are a couple of links on it:
Let Jesse buy their damn cars.
Criminal Number 18F
or: Found On Road Dead
I don't know about that - the unions are royally pissed at Gov. Graftholm. A Democrat can't win in Michigan without the unions behind them.
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