Friday, April 03, 2009

Blast From The Past: The More Things Change...

Found a fun document in my digs. Can you guess who said this?

If we take our comeback for granted and go back to the old ways, we're going to be in deep trouble. When I say 'the old ways,' I mean the politics of confrontation, the politics of doom."

This person was speaking about the atmosphere in Lansing.

"People here [in Lansing] tend to focus on the past, fight old battles, tinker at the margins, and take a fairly parochial view," he says. "Elsewhere in the state, people focus on what will help put Michigan back on the map in the world as opposed to what will please a lobbyist on Tuesday afternoon."

This next refrain seems familiar.

We're in a global race for jobs and economic supremacy. Therefore we--as a state, as citizens with government as partner and catalyst--have to stimulate, encourage, and create jobs that produce goods and services that sell to the world. It's going to require a much greater amount of brain power and adaptability on the part of the citizens ... meaning things like education, job training, and innovative systems of production and cooperation. New economic combinations are going to be required. The notion that we can chase assembly plants or smokestacks or compete with Taiwan and Brazil for cheap labor is no wiser than the French building the Maginot Line in World War II.

This passage could have been uttered yesterday.

"Brain power is going to be the key (to continued recovery). Therefore education and public investment in education are going to be crucial. We need to diversify our economy along lines that require brain power not brawn power. I see our state as particularly blessed because we have tremendous natural resources in terms of water, fertile soil, beauty, and a history of intelligent public investment dealing with things like roads, bridges, universities, and we are now the national center of complex manufacturing. All this, side by side, provides the kind of quality of life that people want. But it requires public/private partnerships, strategic public investments, and a willingness to change, to become more adaptable."

Give up?

That was Jim Blanchard, from a Public Sector Consultants letter on Fiscal Awareness, dated Sept. 17th, 1986.

Then we went on to elect John Engler four years later...