Michigan Politics and Economy

In an attempt to put some of my thoughts into a space where it may have some value (instead of just my Facebook page), I thought it might be prudent to write a post on some of the realities of Michigan’s political atmosphere right now and some of my thoughts on it.

Credit: Huff Post
Credit: Huff Post

I wrote a post over a year ago on the emergency financial manager law that Republican governor Rick Snyder signed into law when coming into office.  More recently, the law found itself under review at the mercy of the citizens of the fine state of Michigan directly at the polls.  Indeed, Michigan repealed this law with a clear majority of voters against it.

Today, the Michigan House passed the bill again.

I cannot comprehend the logic behind the lame-duck legislature that believes that this bill somehow is in the interest of their constituents.  Indeed, I believe it’s very likely that they see it in their own interest and the interests of those lining their pockets.

Now, in a different direction, Michigan voters also denied the legislature a proposal which would have codified collective bargaining rights for private and public employees into the state constitution (prop 2).  And in record time, the Michigan legislature has turned this into a movement to create and pass a law which removes the ability for effective collective bargaining to occur.

Of course, one might think that just because doesn’t think collective bargaining should be in the state constitution DOESN’T mean that the individual also thinks collective bargaining should be undermined completely.  However, given the illogical, non-representative manner of the conservative lame-duck legislature, I’m completely unsurprised by their decision-making process.

The same legislature has also gone to the right on other bills as well, with policies that restrict abortion, deny rights to LGBT individuals, eliminate the power of local governments, and overhaul education (K-20) in manners which have made many well-informed individuals extremely concerned.

In what might be the largest move to the right in decades, Michigan has gone from a labor-focused, moderate state to what might be tantamount to Mississippi or West Virginia.  No bones about it – that’s what has happened.

I think it’s time to slow the train down.

First, there is no conservative place in this country, including Houston, that low regulation and low taxes have lead to the area becoming an economic powerhouse.  Indeed, the places that have the most capital are high-tax and high human services: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.  They are not Dallas, Houston, or Indianapolis.  There is no need to argue this; it’s already been done.

Second, why in the world would anyone move to Michigan now?  This constant race-to-the-bottom philosophy does little to create jobs; rather it poaches jobs from nearby states and encourages companies to be concerned with only their bottom line rather than a fair pay and their community.  Additionally, if you’re a person of color, a woman, LGBT, or non-Christian, chances are the state of Michigan legislature is going to have a law that directly affects you in a negative manner.  (And if you’re any kind of conscious CEO, you’re not going to locate your company in a state like that, either…)

Third, conservatives themselves know that the path to success does not lie with the current agenda.  Indeed, Michigan’s own conservative Grand Rapids (“a bastion of American conservativism”) is doing well due to their own moderate and progressive agenda.  So what gives?





5 thoughts on “Michigan Politics and Economy

  1. The migration from high tax states like California and New York to low tax states like Texas and Florida show that people want more freedom and less government.


    I will gladly work for less if it means I can choose where to spend my money. I would like to welcome the people of Michigan to the “right to work” family, you will find many opportunities for those willing to work for it.

    1. Question though, even though you’re posting the same claim as I am (right to work poaches jobs), how is this beneficial in the long run? Help me understand how this is better for the economy in 20 years if all we’re doing is becoming more like China, Bangladesh, etc.

    2. I don’t think it would lead to China or India like condition’s, what it should do is cause the high tax states to change their policies to mimic the more successful low tax states. That would then lead to more opportunities for everyone.

  2. thank you for an insightful post on the ramifications of policy. can we say “unintended consequences?” it is too late for anti-union legislation to have the effect desired by our conservative legislation. despite the long process of deindustrialization, we are a mature agglomeration economy, and the likelihood of Metro Detroit becoming a hub for module-of-production shops is nill. i think you are correct in your assessment that the effect of this legislation will be to further our decline into backwater-ish-ness. posts like this are an education for those who do not understand the repercussions of policy of this sort, and an encouragement to those of us who feel like we are shouting in the wilderness. i look forward to reading more. have a good day!

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