In case you missed it, NPR had a bit on All Things Considered tonight about just how bad Michigan’s economy is:

  • 1 in 9 citizens receives food aid or other assistance
  • We’re now tied with Mississippi for worst over-all unemployment rate (Unemployment in Detroit is over 15%)
  • We’re ranked 50th in economic growth among the states
  • We’re 3rd in the nation for most home foreclosures (Detroit is 1st in the nation)
  • We still don’t have a state budget

You can listen to the NPR story here.

I switched jobs partly because I needed a change, but partly because I seriously think I need to be in a better place for an exit strategy.

BTW, if you’d like to buy a nice little house in the country with a kick-ass garden, I can give you such a deal!

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. As your blog’s lone (?) libertarian reader, I feel obliged to point out this Cato article, which argues that the worst enemy of Mighigan’s economy is its government.

  2. Actually, Shane also is a libertarian, and you guys can argue about who is more hardcore :)

    Mostly, our problem is that we put all of our eggs in one basket–cars. And the Big 4 were so bloated with hubris, they didn’t see any reason to change in the 70s. They still really aren’t changing direction to be competitive with Honda and Toyota–they are now just making huge Electric cars, which I have no interest in. Why pay to charge a car (on an iffy electric grid powered by coal) when my hybrid can make it’s own power from a little bit of gas?

    Granholm would be screwed no matter what she did, since she inherited 50 years of bad decisions. At this point, our corporate base has left, and the tax base is gone. That happened *before* the decision to raise taxes. (Which may not happen at all–we’ll see.)

    The other major corporations (Pfizer, insurance companies, etc.) left for a lot of reasons, but the death of Detroit is one, and the poor transport system is another. Compare our situation to North Carolina, which many years ago deliberately set out to be a hub of biotechnology and industry.

  3. this is off-topic but just wondering about your take on identifying the “bugs” swarms that hit the playoff game (clev-yankee game 2). the announcer on TBS called them Canadian Soldiers (“sort of a flying ant”) and then this morning the news reported that someone from Orkin said they were a midge. I’m just looking for some clarity here. the Orkin guy Ron Harrison is an expert (he apparently directs Orkin Pest Control’s training center) but i’m pretty sure he wasn’t there and didn’t personally identify the bugs. as for the TBS guy he was there (obviously) but didn’t say how he came up with the identification. the reason i’m so curious is because yesterday around 5 pm (4 hours before the incident) in rochester new york. i observed ant colony with about 100 flying ants intersperesed around my patio. now, i’m aware that rochester is a good 200 miles away but still the regions are both south of a great lake. anyway, any clarity on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

  4. Without a link or a photo, Paul, I can only guess. Sorry!

  5. When I went to Houston in 1981 I noticed a lot of bumper stickers that said the last one out of Michigan should turn out the light. So, I guess it’s a matter of perspective.

    Ohio’s economy surely seems to be in the toilet. One of the “red states” that have gotten screwed after the 2004 election.

  6. Yeah, having all your economic eggs in one basket will cause big problems sooner or later. Which is why it’s usually a bad idea for cities to try to promote a particular industry, or give tax breaks to specific companies (I’m not sure how much Detroit has done this for the auto makers, though). Better to just keep the tax and regulatory burden low all around, and thereby attract a diversity of businesses.

    Oh, and I’m not a very hard-core libertarian. This post describes where my views are in relation to the libertarian movement, in case anyone is curious (or very bored).

  7. Adding to the problem is that retired autoworkers take their generous pension and move to Florida.

  8. Kind of sad to see a skeptic letting Jennifer “Do Nothing” Granholm off the hook. She didn’t cause the problems, but she’s done little or nothing to make them less onerous, not even during a second and final term in which she has NOTHING to lose by doing things that might work but be unpopular with voters. Given that she explicitly promised to be much more active in her second term, one logical conclusion is that she has no ideas and/or no backbone to carry out any tough ones that she or her advisers come up with. I write this as a life-long Democrat who voted for her only considering the Republican alternatives when she ran. I supported her in neither primary and wouldn’t support her if she made a run for, say, the Senate. Luckily, she is not eligible to run for president.

  9. I think the problem is too complex for any one person, including Granholm, to have fixed it. The original source of the problem began many, many years ago.

  10. As a resident of Michigan for 38 years that left approximately 4 years ago I would say the problem with Michigan’s economy rest partly with a massive unwieldy government that is not responsive at all to Michigan’s economy. You can point the finger at the governor, past government etc…. but the reality is that the government of Michigan is unwilling to slash government spending and reduce the burden on taxpayers, instead they talk about raising taxes. What happened to the fiscal conservatives of the 70’s and 80’s. I know live in a state where the government is very small and last year we had a budget surplus of 9 million dollars. We all got a refund of $400.00 per person. They expect a budget surplus again this year even in the economic downturn. Wake up Michigan cut government spending now and reduce taxes and people and jobs might start returning. If your current government isn’t doing it elect a new one. Good luck though Michigan.

  11. That doesn’t make any sense. The problem is that people have no jobs. Paying less income tax, when you have no income…not terribly beneficial.

    Who, exactly, will provide services for the 1 in 9 Michiganders that are struggling, if the state budget goes down again?

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