Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thank You, Jenny No Jobs Left Behind Granholm

I wish I could take credit for that title but I can't. I got it from a friend this past week. I found this editorial in The Detroit News and thought I would share it with you.

Maybe global warming is the best hope Michigan has for an economic revival.

Michigan has 3,288 miles of stunningly beautiful coastline -- more than any other state except Alaska -- but for half the year uncomfortably cool weather leaves the beaches empty.

But raise Michigan's average annual temperature, which ranges between 40 and 50 degrees depending on where you're standing, by five to 10 degrees and our state would be climate competitive.

It's not hard to imagine Florida's sun and surf worshippers packing up and relocating along Michigan's newly balmy shoreline to escape the sizzling heat that will scorch the Sunshine State if the earth continues to warm. Or retirees migrating back home from a parched Arizona to Michigan's lush golf courses.

The Great Lakes could become the new Gulf Coast, but without the hurricanes.

What other chance do we have?

Michigan has been sliding sharply downhill for most of this decade, and now there is the very strong sense that we're about to fall off the cliff.

The possibility is real that one of the Big Three automakers -- most likely Chrysler -- won't be around this time next year, at least not in its current form, and the remaining two may well be in bankruptcy.

Decades ago, this state decided to ride the domestic auto industry to the bitter end. In deference to the United Auto Workers, it chose not to do the things necessary to court the foreign automakers, who instead took their automotive jobs to the business-friendly South. In deference to the Big Three, it chose tax policies that favor dying manufacturers at the expense of the industries fueling growth in other states.

For six years, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and state lawmakers responded to Michigan's single-state meltdown by choosing inaction over doing anything that might ruffle anyone's feathers.

You can almost hear the sigh of relief from Lansing as the rest of the world joins our recession. With everyone sinking in the same boat, the pressure is off of them to fix the gaping holes in the S.S. Michigan.

There was a time not long ago when this state had prosperity, and plenty of it. But we chose not to use it to educate our children, leaving Michigan near the bottom in educational attainment and with a work force unprepared to capture the high-tech and green industry jobs we insist will be the foundation of our comeback.

We've got nothing to offer, because at every turn we've made bad choices.

Granholm told an interviewer recently that Michigan's hopes rest with the election of Sen. Barack Obama as president because he'll spend billions of dollars on public works projects that will create jobs here. That's a scrawny string for a rapidly plunging state to grab hold of.

A recovery is not automatic or inevitable. If one or more of the domestic automakers disappear, a true economic comeback easily could be 20 years off, and only then if we do the things we must to help ourselves.

Unless by then global warming has bailed us out. In the meantime, we may want to stop building windmills.

Nolan Finley is editorial page editor of The News.

I think this picture says it all. (Just in case you are curious. I am not in favor of bailing out the automakers. They are where they are after 26 years of poor business decisions. That should not be rewarded.)


2 comments....porters always have something to say!:

Jock said...

Billions of dollars for public works programs what a joke. Sounds like the old depression era program called CCC. Why would anybody invest money into a state that is as good as dead? Oh that's right it's the democrats and the federal government and they will do it because they owe the unions.

Michigan lived with the auto industry and failed to diversify its economy for the last 5 decades and they will die without the auto industry. I feel sorry for all the innocent suppliers to the auto industry. Hopefully they will be able to pick up contracts from the foreign auto makers because they certainly will be busy.

Peej said...

The first thing that needs to go in Michigan is the auto industry. We need to really diversify the economy. The second thing that needs to go is the Teacher's Union. For far too long we've wasted millions in taxpayer money on terrible teachers protected by a tenure rather than work habits and practicality.

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