Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday Weekend Update

Coming to you from Seoul, South Korea, President Obama ties in a strong pitch for job creation here in America...

Michigan Weekend Update:

  • Uh oh. It looks like the Asian carp are closer to invading the Great Lakes, which led one local news anchor to proclaim that it may be the "end of Great Lakes fishing as we know it". DNA evidence shows that they are near the electric barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. No bodies have been found yet, but it's probably just a matter of time....

  • U of M economists are predicting that job growth won't return to Michigan until 2011, and, by the time this is over, "auto manufacturing in Michigan is forecast to employ just over a quarter of the workers it had on its rolls in mid-2000". That, in a nutshell, is the story of this past decade; the loss of almost 1 million jobs total, which translates into 1 in every 5 jobs lost over an 11 year period. 2009 shows the biggest loss in one year since the Depression. And, as with the national economy, job recovery is going to take time, but at least we seem to have finally hit bottom. There's nowhere to go but up, right?

  • Shocker! FOX News used misleading footage when they were covering Palin's GR book signing this week. Seems we have a trend on our hands. Grand Rapids Palin fans are looking like they were the lucky ones, as Sarah seems to be quickly tiring of the celebrity life. Some people in Indiana who had a wristband were turned away when Palin left early, and now the number of signings in Columbus, OH have been cut in half. Follow this link to see video of angry wingnuts find out just what the people of Alaska had to go through when Sarah decides she wants to quit.

  • Pennsylvania officials are taking a look at both the Muskegon and Standish prisons as the place(s) to transfer almost 2000 inmates. Rumor has it that it is between us and Virginia. C'mon Ed, you owe us for sneaking in that Great Lakes Compact before we did.

  • Republicans are still attacking the film credits. That's how you know they are a smashing success; the Republicans can't stand to have anything be successful in this state. Doesn't fit their campaign rhetoric. The industry fought back this week in testimony before the House. Will the Democrats hold the line for a business that is bringing in millions of dollars spending and investmentand keeping the young, creative class here at the same time? Stay tuned.

  • As Seth points out, Ken Sikkema has chimed in on making state employees and teachers cough up more money for their health benefits. Question: Can we make it retroactive to previous employees, like Ken for example, who now enjoy lifetime benefits? Someone needs to look at that, perhaps as part of... oh, say, a ballot proposal or something. It's only fair.

    It's interesting to note that Sikkema also joins the parade of people that say we need to "broaden the sales tax and lower the rates" to shore up our tax base. He then goes on to conveniently forget that Governor Granholm called for this very same thing a couple years ago, only to have it shot down by the Republicans and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Sikkema says we "haven't seen" the political leadership to do this yet - was he referring to the leadership of the Republican Party? Because they are the ones who stopped it from happening. Maybe someone should get him to clarify for us.

  • I don't know who is writing the Gongwer weekly update for Dome, but they are great essays. This week looks at the conference sponsored by the Center of Michigan that brought business and public service leaders together for a brain-storming session, and they basically said the same things that we have heard before; change the tax structure, invest in the things that truly matter, such as education.

    The audience expressed itself, too, saying the state was headed in the wrong direction, that if only one tax could be raised or expanded it should be the sales tax, and if only one tax should be cut it should be business taxes.

    And everyone is right. In so many ways all those actions need to be taken to turn the state around. A growing economy does provide more tax revenues, and the state does need more taxpayers. Some taxes those taxpayers pay may be less than they are now, some may be more, and some may be in areas not now taxed. To help get those additional taxpayers the state needs to become smarter, the answer is to get more students through technical training or college, put more into schools. And those smarter people have to help determine what the state should look like, how it should act, what services it needs to provide and what things it cannot do.

    So if everyone is right, what’s the problem?

    The problem really is very simple to those who watch from the outside, but for some reason, the press is always reluctant to call it out. Here is the problem: You have one side of this equation always saying "no" to compromise, insisting that we proceed down their path only, or they will do something crazy, such as, shut down the government. Or hold budgets for weeks for no apparent reason. Or make threats that they won't restore funding. So forth and so on and this has been going on for the past three years.

    Sorry folks. I am not being totally partisan here, I am just speaking the truth. Democrats and the governor are willing to compromise on these issues, the Republicans are not. Phil Power finally stepped up to the plate and told it like it is this week. Why is it the rest of the press is so reluctant to point out what everyone else can clearly see?