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.
>>>>Michigan's corporate income-tax burden will be ranked the second heaviest in the Tax Foundation's forthcoming State Business Tax Climate Index.
Will should have moved these two sentences right next to one another. I don't really think you understand the true causes of the former, without having read the latter.
back in the 60s when I went to college in Flint we called it the "water, winter, welfare wonderland"
Socialism and jobs don't mix. Capital ALWAYS will find a home where it is treated well and welcomed.
Tough times for Ford.
Fix Or Repair Daily
To borrow a technique from the enemy (the left):
"Hey, hey, ho, ho, stupid union protectionism's got to go!"
Make Michigan a right-to-work state and people *might* come back.
``She's a really nice person.''
Sure would help if Dingell and the Levin boys would move on into the next world.
That's something a lot of people refuse to visualize. Also, it seems to work a bit like heat in a thermodynamics problem. It goes from large concentrations, to places of lower concentration, where it is more highly valued.
Fricking RINO praising a socialist like Granholm. Granholm will easily win re-election now.
Yep, if that's what Michigan wants more of. The only thing that may work is just letting Michigan p*** it all away and then start over.
Want to re-start Michigan? Simple, cut taxes - a lot.
I thought The Nuge was gonna make a run for Governor?
Thats about the percentage of the democrat base in MI. So how the hell does George Will claim she is well liked?
I disagree, at least in part. It's not a matter of nice vs. asshole; it's a matter of having your priorities straight.
Being an asshole is generally an impediment to getting anything done -- you end up with enemies that need to be fought at every turn, so that you end up so mired in trying to win those fights that nothing gets done.
If you look at the shambles that is today's Democrat party, you'll see that they're a party of assholes -- and as a result they get nothing done.
By contrast, the Republicans are generally a "nice" party, who get steamrolled because they can't seem to understand that one can be nice, and at the same time be principled -- and that, in fact, to be "nice" without being principled is to become an asshole.
Reagan was a nice man. He got things done because he was very clear about what was important. He was also clear on the fact that you actually need to do what's important. And as a result, he changed the world.
I'm afraid you're right. I'm just counting down these last few years so I can get the heck out of here....
"... the "water, winter, welfare wonderland"
Exactly. I lived in Michigan for 10 years, from l977 to l987, and it is the biggest tax and welfare state in the Union. Now, it' time to pay the piper. They love liberal Democrats in Michigan. They love taxes, they love abortions, they love big Labor Union thugs, they love welfare and they love "Ray Nagin-style" politicians in Detroit. So, TURN OUT THE LIGHTS ON THE ENTIRE CRAPPY STATE AND LET THEM HAVE A "LOVE FEST".
Sadly, Uncle Ted moved to Texas, so I'm pretty sure a gubernatorial run is no longer in the cards.
Nothing, unless you want to alienate your base and lose elections.
Remember, if you subtract a few counties (i.e. Detroit, Dearborn, Ann Arbor), Michigan is as red a state as you can find. Considering the substantial amount of alleged vote fraud in Detroit and Dearborn (currently under federal investigation), it's entirely possible for the state to go the other way. Union sentiment is also on the way out, and is pretty much a joke west of Jackson.
Our Canadian Trash governor can do just about anything she wants and get re-elected. Why? She panders to Detroit and the unions, who are still powerhouses here. Teachers are the only workers who haven't seen their health care benefits and prescription co-pays go up exponentially. They won't dare strike during the next election because they're the only ones who aren't financially hurting. Their "for the children!" screeches won't earn them a bit of sympathy from laid-off auto workers and retirees who are getting clobbered in the pocketbooks.
When Oakland County sneezes, the rest of the state catches a cold. In this case we've got pneumonia.
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.
A guy like John Engler
Ten years and we're gone (at least for the winter). Northern Michigan in the summer is one beautiful place. And aside from a few places in the north (Traverse City, unfortunately), it is pretty solid red.
Michigan has something called the single business tax, it accounts for about a third of its receipts. It is the same Valued Added Tax that is killing Europe. They will never get rid of it.
Guv Granholm mused how to create an environment that would nurture young entrepreneurs. My reply is the innovators create themselves, just worry if they want to pursue their dreams in your state or below the Mason-Dixon Line. The VAT kills startups and nothing is replacing the auto industry.
Tony Snow was on WLSAM the other morning, he just ripped on Detroit. Said it had the highest taxes of any city in the whole country. Except the favored businesses that are exempted from them. Basically, Tony said good bye and good riddance to the whole state.
Delphi has immediate problems, the UAW is planning to shut it down until it restores benefits, and they're going to make it an election issue. Just like Blanco said she's going to close oil leases in LA until she gets more rebuilding money.
Time to choose up sides RINO America.
The person with the backbone to 1). outlaw Unions in Michigan for 5 years, 2). Stop the "new welfare" ( disability for everything and anything). 3). Effectively counter the Michael Moore eternal victim, fat slob mentality...
I don't think he could be called a RINO, more like treating her nice until she is drawn and quartered in Nov.
There was an editorial in the Wall Street Journal some months ago about Michigan's punitive tax rates. If the legislature doesn't want to slash those rates, whether VAT design or not, then no one anywhere in the country should give a fig about what happens in that state.
Here in the peoples democratic republik of michigan, we enjoy lifetime welfare benefits, high taxes, poor roads, services, and the highest unemployment rate in the nation, along with business regulations that would choke a horse. Welcome to our state, comrade!!!
"If the legislature doesn't want to slash those rates, whether VAT design or not, then no one anywhere in the country should give a fig about what happens in that state."
The legislature passed a bill to cut the single business tax in half, Jenny Grandstand vetoed it.
Good for the legislature. They couldn't override? Sounds like the gov needs to be put out to pasture quickly.
Too bad they built factories and housing on the very best farmland. Dearborn-Inkster (H. Ford's names for white and black respectively worker towns) used to be spectacular Dutch pastured dairy farms.
By the way, State Senator Patterson, (a Republican) also worked overtime to reestablish DTE's Monopoly status. He should be voted out of office with Grandholm.
Every RAT and RINO in the state should be voted out of office.
Michigan didn't used to be a rat state.
How many remember that George Wallace won the state in the general election for POTUS when he ran?
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.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.