An Object Lesson - Michigan

Do you want a preview of what's coming in California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and quite possibly the nation? Then all one need do is look at the mess that is Michigan.

Writes native Michigander Michael Barone:

Things are pretty bad in my native state of Michigan, which has the nation’s highest unemployment rate and is the headquarters of government- and union-owned General Motors and Chrysler. Conditions are so bad that they seen to have sent some Michiganians (we used to say Michiganders when I was growing up) over the bend.

Case in point: Democratic State Chairman Mark Brewer. Ordinarily a pretty savvy political operator, Brewer is now suggesting five ballot propositions for the 2010 ballot. Their aim apparently is to improve the lot of Michigan citizens. But the result, as anyone with an iota of sense can see, would be to inflict horrifying damage on an already staggering state economy. They include:

● Mandating all employers to provide affordable health care for all their employees and dependents or pay a penalty.

● Raising the minimum wage from $7.40 per hour to $10 per hour and covering all workers with no exceptions.

● Increasing unemployment benefits by $100 a week, making all workers eligible and adding six months to the time one can receive benefits.

●Cutting utility rates by 20%.

● Imposing a one-year moratorium on home foreclosures.

[O]verall this is a program to pillage the private sector and drive it out of Michigan.

It sounds almost like Directive 10-289 from Atlas Shrugged. It certainly contains some of the elements of the directive.

The state government seems totally disconnected from the facts of the economy. All their efforts have done nothing more than make things worse. It's as if no one in the legislature or the governor's office has ever taken an economics and/or sociology course. The proposed ballot initiatives are based on nothing more than the need to “Do something!” even if that something is wrong. It may make then feel better to propose it, but they clearly haven't thought out the consequences of those initiatives should they ever see the light of day.

Residents and businesses have been leaving Michigan at an increasing rate. The number of people leaving is greater than the number of people moving into the state. Cities like Detroit and Flint are emptying out. In the case of Flint, entire neighborhoods are being torn down and returned “to the wild” because no one lives there. It's not too often city populations shrink at the high rates being seen in Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, and a number of other cities and towns in Michigan.

If California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and a handful of other states don't get their fiscal houses in order by slashing all but necessary spending, get the nice-to-have social programs under control or even eliminated, and roll back confiscatory taxes and fees, they will suffer the same fate as Michigan. And should the federal government fail to do the same, the entire country could end up looking like Michigan.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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