I have long wished for a report to be aired on TSR regarding how bad things are economically in Michigan. Imagine my surprise on Thursday when I came home from work, turned on my dvr and got all set to watch John King’s report for the day. It was entitled “The Blight Battleground” and behind him on the video wall was Michigan!
With all that my state has to offer, the beauty of the Great Lakes, the Upper Peninsula, Mackinac Island, the Michigan Wolverines (Go Blue!), I feel very proud to call this my home state.
Yet I’ve watched for the last six years as the growing economy, slowly at first, and then at a terrifying rate, sank to lower and lower depths. A “blight” indeed! My dad is a blue collar worker in construction which is one of the hardest hit areas in Michigan. It’s hard to watch a man who’s used to working everyday to provide for his family being laid off and having to call unemployment. He has to go around to all the sheet metal shops asking for work and is turned away because there’s no work to be had. Yet this has been his story off and on for the past five years. And millions more just like my dad are doing the same thing everyday. My dad is lucky – right now there’s work for him. But there’s no guarantee how long it will last, especially with winter coming.
I haven’t crunched the numbers or done the research on how bad things truly are here in Michigan. But I know enough to know that when Mr. Bush looks into the camera and tells us that things are better economically in America, he’s obviously ignorant about the state that Michigan is in. As John reported Thursday, in most states the big issue this presidental election is the Iraq war. But in Michigan it is one thing: Jobs.
John interviewed Saul Anuzis, the Michigan GOP Chairperson who stated that Michigan’s the only state to lose jobs six years in a row. Then the report cut to John interviewing a Detroit UAW worker who wondered where has the middle class gone to? I think a lot of people are wondering the same thing. The rich get richer as the poor get poorer. It’s getting harder and harder to make ends meet anymore.
John goes on to report that unemployment in Michigan is at 7.4% compared to only 4.7% nationally. 5.7 million jobs have been added nationally in the last six years, while Michigan has lost 332,000 – 100,000 of those in the last year alone. People like to point fingers. Is it our 2-term Democratic Governor that’s the cause of this massive economic slide? Or could it be the country’s 2-term Republican President, who’s very non-friendly towards unions and this is a state that thrives on union work and needs it to survive?
Since Michigan broke the DNC’s rules by moving its primary up to January 15th, and with the Democratic candidates stating they won’t be doing any “stumping” around my neck of the woods because of it, does this mean that the Republican candidates have a better shot at winning such a “key battleground state?” Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure. Michigan is in need of major help from whoever is elected President. Mere campaign promises or “band-aids” will not fix this blight. On a 2005 Oprah show, Anderson Cooper did a special report that shocked me. Out of all the cities in the United States, the city that had the most homeless in it was Detroit. That hits a little too close to home. Lansing has auto plants closing and jobs are leaving. My hope is that the economy can start to climb before Lansing becomes the next Detroit.
John, anytime you’d like to do a follow-up on your report, Lansing would welcome you! I think it’s important to let people know that things are not the rosey picture that’s portrayed by the government. I realize that some states are booming economically, but others are in desperate need of help. I work at a firm where someone helped draft the legislation for the Michigan Chamber which became the new Michigan Business Tax. I also work for someone who’s the Editor of a booklet our firm published about doing business in Michigan and the tax incentives you can gain from it. So it’s given me a bit of an inside glimpse into how hard Michigan is working to get businesses to move here.
So thanks again from Michigan, John! We appreciate the acknowledgement that things are indeed tough economically right now for our beautiful State.