Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Proposal 2: Mayor Heartwell and the U of M

The fallout from Proposal 2 continues. Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell has apparently decided that he wants the taxpayers of the city to pay for a federal lawsuit to stop the implementation of Proposal 2. Heartwell uses the same logical contortions of groups like BAMN to try and make an argument that banning racism and sexism somehow is discriminatory. The article linked above actually says that Prop 2 is a "civil rights violation." It's not clear if that's a Heartwell quote or summary of his position, but it's typical of the utter hypocrisy of the pro-racism lobby that Heartwell apparently belongs to.

But an even more interesting issue arises here. Mayor Heartwell, along with all the public officials in the state of Michigan, are required to take an oath of office. That oath reads as follows:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the
United States, and the Constitution of this State, and that I will faithfully perform the duties of the office of __________________ in and for the City of _________________, County of ____________ and the State of Michigan, according to the best of my ability, so help me God.

Mayor Heartwell has taken a similar oath to "support... the Constitution of this State..." Proposal 2 is an amendment to the state's constitution. The mayor is therefore looking at violating his oath and defying the state's constitution. Filing a lawsuit to try and stop a state constitutional amendment certainly cannot be defined as supporting the constitution.

Perhaps the University of Michigan's president, Mary Sue Coleman, has seen the legal light on this issue. She has decided to back off her earlier statements that she would fight Proposal 2 in court. When she addressed the university's Board of Regents this week, she didn't mention any lawsuit. In fact, she committed to working within the law:
"With last week's passage of Proposal 2, I want to again assure the campus community that we remain fully dedicated to a diverse university and that we will obey the laws of our state,'' said Coleman. "What will be essential is that all of us - students, faculty and staff and administrators - pursue all possible creative solutions to achieve diversity at the university within the boundaries of the law.''
We tried to find some statistics relating to minority enrollment at the U of M to compare with minority graduation, but we were unable to find that information. However, we did find some information on how California's Proposition 209, similar to Michigan's Proposal 2, affected universities in California.

The interesting outcome in California appears to be an increase in the number of minorities graduating from universities. That's right, an increase. Why? Because enrolling students who would not otherwise qualify for admission to a top-tier university actually does the student a disservice. Think about it this way: if you were a B-average student and a top university admitted you based on something other than your grades, chances are you wouldn't do so well, surrounded by A-average students in a very rigorous academic environment. Students not qualified to attend a top-tier university tend to drop out in higher rates. Therefore, it does them a disservice.

By admitting students to universities largely based on academic ability, students tend to apply for and attend the university that is closer to the academic rigor level they will succeed in. Therefore, the effect of Proposition 209 is that minority students tend to apply for admission at universities at the level of rigor they are more comfortable in. Therefore, instead of dropping out due to an inability to keep up, they tend to graduate at higher levels.

The reality of minority graduation rates bear this out. Rates stayed the same both before and after the passage of Proposition 209. That is, regardless of admissions levels of minority students, graduations rates were flat.

But of course, special interests to hate to see special favors melt away will do anything they can to preserve the status quo, as our mayor is demonstrating. Never mind the fact that the city is constantly complaining about a lack of funding and funds for critical services - apparently it's more important to use our taxpayer dollars to try and overturn the vote of a majority of Michiganders.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

State Budget Gnashing

The stage is already being set for a possible state (and probably local) tax increase. Today's Detroit News reports that state revenues for the just-completed fiscal year 2005-2006 are down by $170 million. That's about 0.85% less than they anticipated, yet we are already hearing that the world is going to end for schools and no more police will be on the streets.

But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let's take a quick look at the budget. We compiled the graph at left from data published by the Senate Fiscal Agency. It is a summary of the total state revenue and expenditures since the 1990-1991 fiscal year. The only year when the expenditures actually went down was 2002-2003, when they declined by 0.28%, or about $118 million. However, every single year, revenue has increased.

A couple of quotes will show you how bureaucrats and politicians are so good at making situations sound much worse than they are in order to scare us into being more accepting of tax increases. From the article above:

The governor and lawmakers have erased more than $3 billion in cumulative deficits over the past four years by making budget cuts, increasing cigarette taxes and fees, and shifting money from other accounts.

You'll see, that even though one reduction in the budget from 2002 to 2003 occurred, a grand total of $118 million, bureaucrats seem to be able to conjure up at least $3 billion in "cuts" over the last several years. How do they do this? Here's how:

If a government budget is $100 million this year and it is budgeted to increase to $110 million next year, but the actual increase is to $102 million, it is called an $8 million cut, even though more real money is being spent. Our Grand Rapids city politicians are very good at making this sort of obfuscationary budget argument. You see, the "cut" isn't a real reduction in spending, it's a reduction in the anticipated increase in spending.

Now, of course, the bureaucrats' special interest groups are crying foul. Justin King, executive director of the Michigan Association of Schools Boards, the lobbyist organization for school districts, claims that any cut in school funding this year would be "devastating." He says that 50 school districts are approaching bankruptcy, even though schools have received a 35% increase in funding, after adjusting for inflation, over the last ten years. One presumes that he is including our own Grand Rapids Public Schools when he says that districts are on the verge of bankruptcy, even though GRPS spends $10,770 per student. You see, a reduction in the state budget of 0.85% is billed as devastating to schools.

But the sky doesn't stop falling there. Dan Gilmartin, executive director of the Michigan Municipal League (the lobbyist organization for Michigan cities), says, "Any additional cuts would be suicidal for communities," and, We're laying off cops, not paving roads and not attracting new jobs."

This is all attributed to a state payment to cities called revenue sharing. Basically it's a redistribution of state-collected taxes to city governments. Our city bureaucrats and politicians are fond of stating that the city government has "lost" $30 million in revenue sharing. However, we again look at the real numbers. Annual city revenue from revenue sharing has declined from a high of about $27 million a year to about $23 million this year. Yes, that's a real reduction of $4 million, but instead of saying that they have had to cut $4 million out of the budget (that doesn't sound too sexy), they add up what they would have gotten each year if the state continued to boost revenue sharing. Presto - they've "cut" $30 million out of the city budget!

The cry from cities is now that they will have to cut police and fire to make up the difference of any additional "cuts."

Never underestimate a bureaucrat whose job is on the line. They will obfuscate the budget numbers as much as possible to scare us. Instead of cities and schools engaging in simple and small (0.85%) wage cuts to preserve jobs, they will lay off teachers, policemen, and firemen, all the while still maintaining extremely generous benefits packages for those who remain.

While the rest of us have had to tighten our belts and deal with the still-stagnant and even declining economy in Michigan, government will continue to expand. Government never will have "enough" - don't forget that.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Contortionist Logic and Proposal 2

An article from the Daily Californian today has some more detail on the lawsuit(s) filed to try and stop the adoption of the anti-racism Proposal 2, which was passed by a 58% to 42% margin last week. We don't even know what to call the lack of logic detailed in the article, but here are a couple of telling quotes:

“For minority students on these campuses without affirmative action, it’s a degrading experience and that cannot be a reality for any more students,”

What? In other words, minority students who do not receive preferential treatment just because of the color of their skin are somehow feeling degraded? Do they understand the contortion of logic it requires for that to make sense? The person who is quoted is an alum of the University of Berkeley and someone who has joined the lawsuit. She is implicitly stating that minorities are incapable of succeeding without preferential treatment, and that by not receiving that preferential treatment, they are humiliated. That is racism!

What we're seeing here is the true color of those who have been supporting affirmative action. They are the latent racists because it is clear that they do not think minorities can succeed without preferential treatment. They want people treated differently, based solely on their skin color - a little bit of DNA.

Another gem of lunacy:
“Prohibiting affirmative action in Michigan means that people all over this country are subjected to discrimination that comes into play.”

That's according to Luke Massey, a co-chair of By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), the violent and racist organization which is trying to block the implementation of Proposal 2. So ending affirmative action, which is in itself a form of racism and discrimination, results in discrimination? Proposal 2 makes it illegal to engage in race discrimination! What planet do these people come from? Do they have a grasp of the meaning of words in the English language?

Nevertheless, these lawsuits will fail because they always have in other states. They are just trying to save their old ways of set-asides and preferential treatment. We know that whenever the status-quo is threatened, we'll be subjected to threats of doom and a falling sky by those who benefited from such a system. But, it's no more. We finally have a color blind government in Michigan.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Who Paid for Proposal 5? You Did!

We did some reseach on who backed Proposal 5 and, to our complete and utter lack of surprise, the far majority of the money came from the National Education Association, aka, the teachers union. How much? $3.4 million. If you're a teacher, I hope you rest well knowing that so much of your dues money was wasted.

The Michigan Education Association contributed $496,000. All told, the teachers union funded Proposal 5 to the tune of about $4 million. That's out of about $4.1 million total that was raised. There is no question as to who wanted this proposal to pass and who it would benefit.

But another interesting side note is how two publically-funded organizations, the Michigan Association of School Boards and the Middle Cities Education Association also contributed money. Both these organizations charge dues to school boards across the state. In other words, the taxpayer dollars we contribute to pay for schools are then paid to these two organizations as "dues," and then those dollars were spent to back a proposal to extract even more dollars from us. Our own tax money was used against us. This should be criminal.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

GR Pundit Election Wrap-Up

GR Pundit would like to express contentment with the outcome of the elections in Michigan this year. We have been in favor in a split government, that's why we weren't very big fans of a DeVos election. The re-election of Jennifer Granholm will ensure that continued split, with the addition of a Democrat-controlled State House. We just hope that the legislature and governor can get together and see the light about really turning Michigan around. Pet economic development plans won't work - and when government picks economic winners and losers, we all lose. It's time to make Michigan friendly to all businesses, not just a few that the governor likes.

As for the proposals, we are very pleased about how they turned out.

Proposal 1 - Ensuring that state park funds are actually spent on state parks - Passed

Proposal 2 - Banning racist hiring, admissions, and contracting practices by any unit of government in Michigan - Passed

Proposal 3 - Allowing morning doves to be hunted - Failed

Proposal 4 - Banning eminiment domain for economic development purposes - Passed

Proposal 5 - Setting up mandatory funding levels for K-16 education - Failed

We were most worried about Proposal 5 passing because it would have caused the most economic damage and would have done nothing but protect the bloated public education bureacuracy and continue the lack of accountability of education in Michigan. Now it's time to lift the cap on charter schools - which cost less than traditional public schools and do a better job. Parents desperately want and need the choice.

Proposal 2, which we were also hopeful would pass, did so handily. Michigan, and any unit of government in Michgian, will no longer be able to engage in racist hiring, admissions, and contracting practices. We now have true equality in Michigan. Of course, groups such as By Any Mean Necessay (BAMN) have filed lawsuits trying to overturn the passage of Proposal 2. This just shows their complete contempt for the will of the people. In addition, their lawsuit invokes the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment in trying to argue that creating a color-blind government somehow creates unequal treatment.

Let the gnashing of teeth begin.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

End State-Sponsored Racism - Vote YES on Michigan’s Proposal 2

Proposal 2 (the Michigan Civil Rights Iniative), which will be on the ballot next week, will end racist hiring, contracting, and admissions practices in Michigan if it passes. In short, it will end all state-sponsored racism and sexism. Equal means equal, so we're voting YES on 2!

Don’t Bankrupt Michigan - Vote NO on Proposal 5

Proposal five, which will be on Michigan's ballot on Tuesday, is a union-sponsored and funded campaign to dramatically boost funding for teacher pensions. The proposal basically creates a madatory annual increase for school funding, based on the rate of inflation. However, what the proposal's backers don't tell you is that the majority of this money ($700 million in the first year alone) will go to teacher pensions, not the classroom. That money will either have to come from cutting other government services or raising taxes, because there certainly isn't that much extra money in the state's general fund. Voting yes on five does nothing more than line the pockets of the teacher's union - none of the money is mandated to go to the calssroom. That's why at GR Pundit, we're voting NO on Proposal 5.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Granholm Campaign has Jumped the Shark

It's official, the Granholm campaign has jumped the shark. In their desperation to find one thing that Amway manufactures in China, they've found it - tissues.

According to the Detroit News, the Chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, Mark Brewer, says that he is in possession of a packet of facial tissue from Amway, manufactured in China. The only problem is that it was manufactured in 1989. That's the best they can do.

The governor's campaign is in serious trouble if this is all they can come up with to counter DeVos' campaign. It seems as though the issues aren't really part of the discussion. Both candidates need to answer these questions:

Granholm - What have you done for the last four years? No one we ask seems to know.

DeVos - What will you do that's better?

So far, even though we're not DeVos fans, DeVos seems to be answering the necessary questions better than the governor.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Some Still Do Care About Freedom

This past weekend, the Libertarian Party of West Michigan gave a Guardian of Liberty Award to Mark London, owner of Showgirls Galleria in downtown Grand Rapids. London has been in a fight with City Hall over opening his strip club because they passed an ordinance prohibiting nudity (where it had been legal for years) and the strippers must stay six feet away from the patrons (no more putting dollar bills in thongs).

The reason the City passed the ordinance is that someone put up $100,000 to pay the City's legal bills. The last time the City tried this, they were sued and lost, costing us (the taxpayers) several hundred thousand dollars in legal bills.

The City's old rules, which allowed nudity, worked just fine. The City has been unable to show any adverse consequences of strip clubs. The prudes, however, think that they have the right to tell people they can't enjoy going to a strip club because it offends their sensibilities.

The quote at the end of the article is telling:

"I don't believe Mr. London is involved in any esoteric fight for personal
liberty," said Dar VanderArk, director of the Michigan Decency Action Council.
"I think he's trying to maximize his profits by selling nudity."

And what's wrong with selling nudity? Just because Mr. VanderArk doesn't like it, does that give him the right to impose his vision of the world on everyone else? Mr. VanderArk is using the force of government to attempt to put a man out of business - a business that has been completely legal up until now - but the busybodies can't have something in their back yard they don't like. I don't see Mr. VanderArk complaining about selling food or booze or lawnmowers. Those are all sold for a profit. It's only nudity that Mr. VanderArk doesn't like. Perhaps if he doesn't like it, he shouldn't go to strip clubs.

Ah, but in the current mentality of government these days, we shouldn't treat each other as adults who can make their own mature decisions, we need Mr. VanderArk and the government nannies to slap our hands and tell us what we can and cannot do.

Kudos to the Libertarian Party of West Michigan. They appear to be the only ones who stand up for the small business man and the mature world view that we can make our own decisions without the heavy hand of puritanical government to make our decisions for us.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Detroit Schools Disaster

The Detroit Federation of Teachers (the Detroit teachers' union) is reaping what they sewed. Their nearly two-week strike has apparently resulted in a loss of about 25,000 students, according to the Detroit News.

If the numbers hold next week Wednesday, which is the official state student count day, the district is set to lose about $230 million in funding, out of last year's $1.5 billion budget. That's a reduction of about 19% in students and 15% in funding.

The teachers' union was upset over the district's request for across the board pay cuts of about 5% to balance the budget, and they decided to engage in an illegal strike. The district capitulated, but now it looks like the district will be laying off hundreds more teachers and closing more buildings. It's clear the union would rather have teachers out of work than getting a pay cut. Those teachers that will soon be out of a job have their own union to thank.

It's time to lift the cap on charter schools. The Detroit School system is a disaster and it should be abolished. The children of Detroit are getting screwed in life because bureaucrats and unions can't put the status-quo aside. The adults that run the system are acting like children, while the real kids are going to be doomed to a lifetime of continued poverty due to an utterly failed school system.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

DeVos: Intelligent Design is a "viable alternative theory."

The pandering has begun in the Michigan gubernatorial race. Dick DeVos, as reported in the Detroit News, has stated that he thinks schools should have the choice of teaching Intelligent Design (creationism) as an alternative to evolution.

Simply giving schools the choice, it could be argued, isn't a bad thing. After all, 99.999% of science teachers would ignore Intelligent Design for what it is, a mess of ludicrous "theories," with no scientific backing whatsoever. However, he divulges his personal view, one based on ignorance.

From the article:
"I would like to see the ideas of intelligent design that many scientists are now suggesting is a very viable alternative theory," DeVos told the Associated Press during a taped telephone interview on education. "That theory and others that would be considered credible would expose our students to more ideas, not
Oh boy. The fact that no serious scientist with any credibility considers ID as "very viable" or even slightly viable not withstanding, advocating the teaching of anything non-scientific in science class is reckless and ignorant.

May we suggest to the possible Governor DeVos, in addition to Intelligent Design, that the theory of the Flying Spaghetti Monster also be taught in the classrooms? After all, who determines what is credible when it comes to pure conjecture?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

GR Pundit is back

We have moved from Movable Type for our blog software to Blogger, which allows for better spam protection and easier adminsitration. We'll be re-uploading all the previous articles over the next several days, but beware, the old links probably won't work any more.

So, sit back, and pay attention. The silly season (election time) is upon us. Let the fun begin.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Racism on the Ballot

Well, it's finally official, the Michigan Supreme Court turned down the appeal to a lawsuit brought on by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) to stop the anti-racist Michigan Civil Rights Initiative from appearing on the ballot in November.

It comes down to this - the MCRI will prohibit any unit of government in Michigan from engaging in racist hiring, bidding, and admissions. It's as simple as that. Anyone who opposes MCRI implicitly agrees that racism is acceptable.

  • Michigan Civil Rights Initiative
  • Friday, March 3, 2006

    Oh boy

    We just got a preview of the Grand Rapids City Commission's upcoming agenda. The resignation of Robert Dean from the commission created an opening which the commission needs to fill. Candidates were interviewed yesterday for the appointment.

    The interesting thing is that Mayor Heartwell says that the second round of interviews for the three finalists will include more hard-hitting topics, such as:

    He believes they will be asked about their stand on whether to ask voters for an increase in city property or income taxes.

    He also expects they will be quizzed on whether they support a living wage ordinance that could raise minimum wages in the city.

    Oh boy. In other words, the litmus test will likely be something along the lines of, "do you think city government should be bigger and more invasive?" The response of "yes" will work in the candidate's favor.

    If both those issues pass in the city, get ready for making a bad economic situation even worse.

    Wednesday, March 1, 2006

    Time to Repeal SBT

    L. Brooks Patterson, the executive of Oakland County, announced during his state of the county speech last month that he was initiating a fundraising drive to get a repeal of the Single Business Tax on the ballot in November.

    It was announced today that he had raised enough money to begin the drive. The Detroit News has an article on it here. A web site on the ballot initiative has been set up at

    This is great news. The SBT is the most onerous business tax in the nation. It is one reason why businesses will not locate here. The tax needs to be repealed, with nothing to replace it, in order to get businesses looking at our state again. We have the worst economy in the nation and one-off tax breaks and state speculative investments won't fix this long term, structural problem. It is one step in the direction of making Michigan attractive to business again.

    Friday, February 17, 2006

    Is Free Trade Killing Michigan?

    Even though this article isn't Michigan-specific, it relates to the current economic situation in Michigan and the reaction that some are having to the decline of the domestic auto industry.

    Is free trade killing Detroit? The answer is simply no. This article explains why. To quote a few important lines:

    After 2000, as the economy fell into recession, US exports fell. We estimate that more than 3.4 million manufacturing workers were producing goods for export in 2000; by 2003, this number had fallen below 2.7 million. All told, the export slump destroyed 742,000 US manufacturing jobs.

    On the import side, though, the picture was very different. It isn't true that manufactured goods flooded into the U.S. after 2000. In fact, growth in manufactured imports was quite sluggish from 2000 to 2003. And as we will explain, this weakness in imports actually boosted manufacturing employment in 2003 by some 428,000 jobs.

    Overall, then, trade accounted for a net loss of no more than 314,000 jobs (a reduction of 742,000 because of weak exports and an increase of 428,000 owing to weak imports), representing only 11% of the total manufacturing job loss of 2.85 million. The other 2.54 million jobs disappeared because of the economy's cyclical downturn, which dampened domestic demand for manufactured goods.

    The important idea here is that international competition forces domestic industry to improve the product and reduce the price. If domestic companies are shielded from that competition by trade barriers, their products will fall farther and farther behind on the international market, ultimately greatly reducing the number of exports. Blocking trade will hurt us more in the long run.

    Detroit will need to compete or die. No amount of protection will prevent that. Free trade raises the standard of living for both trading partners because of the benefits of international division of labor.

    Friday, February 10, 2006

    Grand Rapids State of the City 2006

    Mayor George Heartwell starts his State of the City 2006 Speech by summarizing past state of the city speeches and reviewing accomplishments pertaining thereto.

    First, he starts with cooperation between the city schools and the city government. Nevermind that his 2004 state of the city touted cost savings as a primary goal of collaboration between the two entities, now he says that they’re working together just great in building new schools. You know, bureaucrats are holding hands around the table. Wonderful news.

    Second, the mayor reviews his commitment to reduce illiteracy in Grand Rapids. It’s a good and important goal. He says he wants to reduce illiteracy by 50% over the next 10 years.

    The mayor then skips everything else he proposed in the 2004 state of the city, preferring not to review the things he did not accomplish, such as the education renewal zones. He also skips over his desire to strengthen the unaccountable Grand Valley Metro Council’s central-planning powers when it comes to land use, as well as his intense desire to expand wasteful and expensive mass transit systems, such as light rail.

    He then moves on to a review of his second state of the city, in 2005, which was essentially a blabber-fest about pollution and saving the world’s environment, all from City Hall. He touts all the wonderful things the city government is doing without mentioning much in the way of specific end points. He does mention, however, the new hybrid electric busses which the ITP will be purchasing at the bargain basement price of $500,000 each.

    The next portion of the speech focuses on the Grand Rapids economy and its growth. This is certainly good news. Several anecdotal items are cited as examples of local companies which are expanding.

    However, the following section is where the mayor goes completely wrong. He makes the following statement:

    Before I talk about our course of action for economic development, I want to address our “ship’s” fuel reserves and our prospects for refueling on our way to our destination of economic health. I want to talk about the city’s budget.

    Does anyone notice something wrong? We’ll tell you if you haven’t figured it out. As we’ve previously pointed out, the mayor doesn’t distinguish between the health of the city and the revenue of city government. He says in his speech that City Hall is what keeps the “ship” of Grand Rapids moving forward. He doesn’t understand that city government is usually the road block to further economic growth, not the reason for growth.

    However, Mayor Heartwell does go on to explain the Lean Thinking initiative the city government is using to improve operating efficiency. It’s good to see that they are working on making the government operate better within its means.

    Then comes the big stink bomb. More taxes. Heartwell goes on, complaining about lost “state revenue sharing,” which has been reduced over the last several years. It’s the usual complaint from city governments. As the Michigan economy limps along, the politicians and bureaucrats want more money. Well, it’s not coming down the pike. Perhaps they haven’t looked at the unemployment rates in Michigan lately.

    The point of this speech:

    [W]e are rapidly approaching the time at which we must bring a tax increase question before the voters.

    Yes, that’s right. Hang on to your wallets, again.

    But! Here comes the logical fallacy that the mayor is so wonderful at espousing. Out of one side of his mouth he says that taxes need to be raised. But lo and behold, he then goes on to propose tax abatements for industrial facilities. Nevermind that manufacturing is going the way of the telephone operator, the real point is that he implicitly recognizes that tax reductions help economic development. If tax abatements didn’t spur growth, why would they use them? But, at the same time, he proposes a general tax increase to prop up the bureaucracy. Which one is it, Mr. Mayor? Growth of government or growth of the economy?

    Finally, Heartwell closes his speech with a promise to build a sustainable business park. He want to provide everything anyone ever wanted for development: high-speed internet, wireless internet, rail transportation, green space, on-site recycling, storm water capturing, and even a chicken in every pot. Wait, he didn’t say the chicken part, but the mayor promises everything else. Perhaps he’s never heard of what the free market is. Should city government be in the internet service business? How about rail transportation? Is your wallet getting lighter?

    Essentially, the speech was, once again, about further government expansion and tax increases, although this year the tax increase part was explicit. The mayor only proposed one item which reduces government – the lean thinking initiative. Hopefully, one day, the mayor will realize that the size of city government is inversely related to the economic health of the city.

    Thursday, February 9, 2006

    UAW Kills More Jobs?

    WOOD TV 8 is reporting that Toyota has decided not to build a new factory in West Michigan because of militant UAW members who participated in an unauthorized protest at the Detroit Auto show, where Toyota Executives were in attendance.

    From the article:

    The rally wasn't an authorized union gathering. UAW member Greg Shotwell of Coopersville, a worker at the Delphi plant there, organized it. Shotwell calls his group SOS, or Soldiers For Solidarity.

    Cole told 24 Hour News 8 that upon learning Shotwell was from West Michigan the group from Toyota dropped West Michigan from the list.

    "The message is that the UAW can't control its own people," Cole said.

    The UAW is doing its best to ensure that Michigan economy continues to rank as the nation's worst.

    Tuesday, January 31, 2006

    State of the City Annual Follow-up

    Each year we've looked at past State of the City speeches to see what was proposed and what was actually accomplished. See last year's analysis, as well as 2004's.

    A quick recap: Two years ago, the mayor trumped more money for schools, city-school partnerships in administration, and more environmental education. He accomplished essentially nothing of what he promised in 2004.

    Last year, the mayor focused on more government intervention in development, a personal crusade against global warming, and a promise to keep pressing for wasteful and espensive mass transit systems. Once again, not much accomplished here.

    The interesting thing is that he has focused very little on actual operations of city government. What does city government do? Or, rather, what should a city government do? Provide police and fire, run a water and sewer system, provide for decent roads, and create an environment where business and people want to move to.

    But what, if anything, has the mayor proposed to ensure that these things are provided? Nothing. The mayor confuses the health of the city with the growth of city government. A constant theme in his speeches is that state revenue-sharing has been reduced. City government should remain small and relatively non-interventionist in the economy. Less money for city government means fewer busybody bureaucrats, and that's like kryptonite to politicians.

    It's most important that the city stick to core city functions. However, this mayor and city commission continue to insist that it is their role to practice social engineering. When government picks the winners and losers, we all lose.

    Monday, January 30, 2006

    State of the Statist

    Governor Granholm's State of the State speech was a surprising call for expansion of government, even for our current governor.

    According to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the governor called for 20 expansions of state government and only one reduction in state government. Apparently our governor has yet to take Economics 101. Michigan has been competing to be the worst economy in the nation, and the governor is doing a great job of proposing greater bureaucracy, government, and taxation to make sure things stay that way.

    Among the highlights of the governor's proposed expansion of government, and consequently, increased taxation, are:

  • Throw more money at poorly-performing, bloated, public schools
  • A state-run 401(k)-like retirement program
  • More regulation and taxation of the industries in Michigan that are actually creating jobs
  • Expand state-provided health care

    We all know there's no such thing as a free lunch. Our governor apparently thinks that regulation and taxation are appropriate methods for lifting Michigan out of the economic toilet. In the mean time, the auto industry is booming in the southern US, where jobs are being created, factories are expanding, and economies are growing. It's time to take a look at the root of the problems in Michigan and address them.

    Once again, we offer our suggestions on how to fix Michigan's economy:

    - Lift the cap on charter schools so competition, not bureaucracy, drives improvement in public education
    - Make Michigan a Right to Work state so that those who don't wish to join a union have a choice not to
    - Eliminate the Single Business Tax, the most onerous business tax in the nation
    - Reduce the state income tax
    - Dramatically reduce state and local government red tape