Thursday, September 22, 2011

Government Intervention Saves Manistique Papers

Manistique. Seriously beautiful. You need to visit sometime. 1000 px here.

First of all, let's review the philosophy that Tom Casperson ran with last year to win the seat in Michigan's 38th Senate District. Besides claiming that he "does not believe in government bailouts for a new State Police Headquarters, Detroit's Cobo Hall, or any other special interest project" on one page of his campaign website, he lists the following on another page that was basically filled with the typical rantings of an anti-government Republican. Among other things, Tom suggests that we need to...

* Downsize the government, and rise against those who believe government is the universal solution.

* Instill a real, conservative sense of fiscal responsibility. That includes reminding members of his own party to live by the ideals of Reagan who said, "the closest thing to immortality is a government program."

Uh oh. Looks like we have a problem here.

For those who don't know, Manistique is a beautiful little town situated along US 2 on Lake Michigan in the UP. Formed in the 1800s around the abundant white pine and the river that could carry that lumber to the ships on the lake, its main industry these days is a paper mill that had been in business for over 90 years. Prior to its bankruptcy shutdown in August, Manistique Papers employed 156 workers and was "the largest private employer in Schoolcraft County and one of the largest generators of economic activity in the U.P." The town faced devastation with the loss of the mill and those jobs, and, even though the company had a good financial history, its private lender was going to force them into liquidation.

Who stepped up to save the day? That's right, the immoral government. Federal AND state. Look at all the sinners involved...

The Michigan Strategic Fund Wednesday approved a loan of up to $5 million for Manistique Papers through the Michigan Business Growth Fund – Loan Participation Program, averting bankruptcy and savings 135 jobs.

“Less than two months after its shutdown and bankruptcy, Manistique Papers will soon be fully operational with more than 130 people back on the job, thanks to the company’s management, their bankers at mBank, the MEDC, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.P. legislators, especially Sen. Tom Casperson, and local partners, who all worked together to make this possible,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “This is what we mean by economic gardening, leveraging state resources to foster private sector solutions for businesses of all sizes and industry sectors.”


Under a financing agreement reached in late August, Manistique-based mBank bought the company’s existing loans from RBS for $6.8 million and sold $2.5 million to the MEDC’s Michigan Business Growth Fund – Loan Participation Program. Under terms of MEDC’s participation, MPI would hire back 100 employees in addition to the 35 it then employed, over the next six months.

Awesome. So glad we could leverage the power of the government to save these jobs and the town after the "free market" was willing to let them fail.

Tom, care to restate your position on government solutions? After all, there are probably those that would say this is a "special interest", just like Cobo or any of the other downstate projects you ran against. We will give you time to think it over. Or scrub the website, whichever you want.

Congratulations to Manistique. And let's remember this next time someone suggests that government is the problem. In this case, it obviously was the answer.