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Who Can Restart Michigan's Engine?
RealClearPolitics.com ^ | February 9, 2006 | By George Will

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.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Michigan
KEYWORDS: devos; economics; granholm
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>>>>>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.

.....snip......

>>>>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.

1 posted on 02/09/2006 7:21:19 AM PST by .cnI redruM
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To: .cnI redruM

bttt


2 posted on 02/09/2006 7:25:26 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: .cnI redruM

back in the 60s when I went to college in Flint we called it the "water, winter, welfare wonderland"


3 posted on 02/09/2006 7:26:04 AM PST by nascarnation
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To: .cnI redruM

Socialism and jobs don't mix. Capital ALWAYS will find a home where it is treated well and welcomed.


4 posted on 02/09/2006 7:28:46 AM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - They want to die for Islam, and we want to kill them.)
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To: .cnI redruM

Tough times for Ford.
Fix Or Repair Daily


5 posted on 02/09/2006 7:29:26 AM PST by Andy from Beaverton (I only vote Republican to stop the Democrats)
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To: nascarnation

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.


6 posted on 02/09/2006 7:29:29 AM PST by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: .cnI redruM

``She's a really nice person.''




"Nice" people do not change the world. Well one did 2000 years ago but in politics, it generally takes an @$$hole to get things done.


7 posted on 02/09/2006 7:33:05 AM PST by trubluolyguy (Where did they get those ref's, the WWE?)
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To: .cnI redruM

Sure would help if Dingell and the Levin boys would move on into the next world.


8 posted on 02/09/2006 7:34:07 AM PST by D-Chivas
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To: 2banana

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.


9 posted on 02/09/2006 7:35:31 AM PST by .cnI redruM (a right is something that exists simultaneously among people and imposes no obligation on another.)
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To: D-Chivas
>>>>Dingell and the Levin boys would move on into the next world.

If even Augusto Pinochet eventually figured out that consumers should be given the freedom to make economic choices, I'm not so sure why the Dems are stumped on this issue.
10 posted on 02/09/2006 7:36:43 AM PST by .cnI redruM (a right is something that exists simultaneously among people and imposes no obligation on another.)
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To: .cnI redruM
As does DeVos: ``She's a really nice person.''

Fricking RINO praising a socialist like Granholm. Granholm will easily win re-election now.

11 posted on 02/09/2006 7:37:54 AM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist (None genuine without my signature)
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist

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.


12 posted on 02/09/2006 7:39:20 AM PST by .cnI redruM (a right is something that exists simultaneously among people and imposes no obligation on another.)
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To: .cnI redruM; ancient_geezer

Want to re-start Michigan? Simple, cut taxes - a lot.


13 posted on 02/09/2006 7:40:48 AM PST by groanup (Shred for Ian)
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To: .cnI redruM
As I have stated in previous posts, Granholm will win because the UAW lemmings, the teachers union and the inner city welfare rats will vote for a Democrat, period, end of discussion. And the fact that Dick DeVos is a "gentleman" is strike 3.
14 posted on 02/09/2006 7:43:09 AM PST by bella1
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To: bella1

I thought The Nuge was gonna make a run for Governor?


15 posted on 02/09/2006 7:44:06 AM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist (None genuine without my signature)
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To: .cnI redruM
Understandably, the percentage of voters disposed to re-elect Granholm is 35 percent.

Thats about the percentage of the democrat base in MI. So how the hell does George Will claim she is well liked?

16 posted on 02/09/2006 7:44:12 AM PST by KC_Conspirator
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To: trubluolyguy
"Nice" people do not change the world. Well one did 2000 years ago but in politics, it generally takes an @$$hole to get things done.

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.

17 posted on 02/09/2006 7:50:09 AM PST by r9etb
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist
Fricking RINO praising a socialist like Granholm. Granholm will easily win re-election now.

what's wrong with saying someone is nice? she can be a nice person, she just has socialist ideals and is taking MI in the wrong direction. that doesn't affect whether or not she's "nice"
18 posted on 02/09/2006 7:51:19 AM PST by absolootezer0 ("My God, why have you forsaken us.. no wait, its the liberals that have forsaken you... my bad")
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To: bella1
As I have stated in previous posts, Granholm will win because the UAW lemmings, the teachers union and the inner city welfare rats will vote for a Democrat, period, end of discussion. And the fact that Dick DeVos is a "gentleman" is strike 3.

I'm afraid you're right. I'm just counting down these last few years so I can get the heck out of here....

Mike

19 posted on 02/09/2006 7:51:54 AM PST by MichaelP ("Opportunities multiply as they are seized." Sun Tzu)
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To: nascarnation

"... 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".


20 posted on 02/09/2006 7:53:34 AM PST by no dems ("99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name." Steven Wright)
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist

Sadly, Uncle Ted moved to Texas, so I'm pretty sure a gubernatorial run is no longer in the cards.


21 posted on 02/09/2006 7:53:55 AM PST by leoncaruthers
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To: absolootezer0
what's wrong with saying someone is nice?

Nothing, unless you want to alienate your base and lose elections.

22 posted on 02/09/2006 7:55:46 AM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist (None genuine without my signature)
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To: no dems

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.


23 posted on 02/09/2006 7:57:49 AM PST by leoncaruthers
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To: absolootezer0

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.


24 posted on 02/09/2006 7:57:52 AM PST by Kieri (Midwestern Snark Claw and Feather Club Member)
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist
I was told on another post that he moved to Texas! Say it ain't so.
25 posted on 02/09/2006 8:13:23 AM PST by bella1
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To: trubluolyguy

A guy like John Engler


26 posted on 02/09/2006 8:14:26 AM PST by agsloss
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To: MichaelP

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.


27 posted on 02/09/2006 8:17:45 AM PST by bella1
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To: groanup
Want to re-start Michigan? Simple, cut taxes - a lot.

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.

28 posted on 02/09/2006 8:20:28 AM PST by spudsmaki
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To: .cnI redruM
Who Can Restart Michigan's Engine?

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...

29 posted on 02/09/2006 8:28:10 AM PST by GOPJ (Radical Muslims want women covered. Will cowardly newspapers drop lingerie ads?)
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist

I don't think he could be called a RINO, more like treating her nice until she is drawn and quartered in Nov.


30 posted on 02/09/2006 8:39:41 AM PST by Beagle8U (An "Earth First" kinda guy ( when we finish logging here, we'll start on the other planets.)
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To: spudsmaki

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.


31 posted on 02/09/2006 8:46:42 AM PST by groanup (Shred for Ian)
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To: .cnI redruM

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!!!


32 posted on 02/09/2006 8:51:19 AM PST by joe fonebone (Woodstock defined the current crop of libs, but who cleaned up the mess they left?)
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To: groanup

"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.


33 posted on 02/09/2006 8:52:52 AM PST by Beagle8U (An "Earth First" kinda guy ( when we finish logging here, we'll start on the other planets.)
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To: Beagle8U
Jenny Grandstand vetoed it.

Good for the legislature. They couldn't override? Sounds like the gov needs to be put out to pasture quickly.

34 posted on 02/09/2006 8:57:06 AM PST by groanup (Shred for Ian)
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To: groanup
Reps control the state house/senate but enough Rats to prevent an override.
35 posted on 02/09/2006 9:01:28 AM PST by Beagle8U (An "Earth First" kinda guy ( when we finish logging here, we'll start on the other planets.)
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To: .cnI redruM

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.


36 posted on 02/09/2006 9:02:03 AM PST by Poincare
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To: .cnI redruM
It should also be noted that businesses who take power from Detroit Edison pay some of the highest electric rates in the Midwest. Under Grandholm, the Michigan Public Service Commission was allowed to completely destroy any competition in the electric market. The MPSC put DTE's competition out of business while allowing DTE to raise rates. The result has been akin to a tax increase for Michigan businesses. Energy intensive businesses now have no choice but to pay inflated rates.
37 posted on 02/09/2006 9:11:03 AM PST by FightThePower!
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To: FightThePower!

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.


38 posted on 02/09/2006 9:17:36 AM PST by FightThePower!
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To: FightThePower!

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?


39 posted on 02/09/2006 9:28:09 AM PST by Beagle8U (An "Earth First" kinda guy ( when we finish logging here, we'll start on the other planets.)
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To: FightThePower!
>>>>>businesses who take power from Detroit Edison pay some of the highest electric rates in the Midwest

No wonder you named yourself "FightThePower!" All joking aside, the Law of Unintended Consequences works more consistently in Macroeconomics than anywhere else. There is more Sensitive Dependence On Initial Conditions in Macro than perhaps even Meteorology. Help one company or industry and you unwittingly take down five others.
40 posted on 02/09/2006 9:47:15 AM PST by .cnI redruM (a right is something that exists simultaneously among people and imposes no obligation on another.)
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To: Beagle8U
Oops I had a brainfart, Wallace didn't win Mi. in 68, he did make a strong showing.

Humphrey won...my bad.
41 posted on 02/09/2006 9:47:36 AM PST by Beagle8U (An "Earth First" kinda guy ( when we finish logging here, we'll start on the other planets.)
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To: Andy from Beaverton

Tough times for Ford.
Fix Or Repair Daily


...or Found On Road Dead


42 posted on 02/09/2006 9:51:33 AM PST by OldBlondBabe
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To: .cnI redruM

http://www.repealsbt.com/

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.


43 posted on 02/09/2006 9:55:45 AM PST by OldBlondBabe
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To: OldBlondBabe

Sometimes referendum is the only effective course. I wish him luck.


44 posted on 02/09/2006 9:56:30 AM PST by .cnI redruM (a right is something that exists simultaneously among people and imposes no obligation on another.)
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To: OldBlondBabe
I don't think any business tax cuts could pass on a ballot vote.
People that can't balance a check book can't understand that business taxes are what causes the jobs to leave the state.

The unions would trash that as a give away for the rich, and the mental midgets will believe it.
45 posted on 02/09/2006 10:05:06 AM PST by Beagle8U (An "Earth First" kinda guy ( when we finish logging here, we'll start on the other planets.)
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To: Beagle8U
Oops I had a brainfart, Wallace didn't win Mi. in 68, he did make a strong showing.

Wallace won the democrat primary. (72?)

46 posted on 02/09/2006 10:48:27 AM PST by Dan from Michigan ("What does a guy have to do to get fired around here?" - Darryl Rogers, former Lions Coach)
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To: OldBlondBabe

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.


47 posted on 02/09/2006 10:49:14 AM PST by Dan from Michigan ("What does a guy have to do to get fired around here?" - Darryl Rogers, former Lions Coach)
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To: agsloss

"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.


48 posted on 02/09/2006 11:13:09 AM PST by Oystir
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To: OldBlondBabe

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.


49 posted on 02/09/2006 12:37:35 PM PST by steve8714 (Burn Peugeot, burn.)
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To: .cnI redruM

...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.


50 posted on 02/09/2006 12:58:56 PM PST by Kenny500c
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