Sunday, December 12, 2010

Was the Michigan Economy Bad Early in Last Decade?

Democratic candidates for Livingston County Commission rightly made this county's $100 million debt for overbuilding subdivisions an issue in the last campaign. But defenders of the Republican regime insisted that the multiple special assessment districts that were approved by townships, and then backed by county taxpayers, were not foolish investments. Nobody could see economic problems coming in Michigan, taxpayers were told over and over, so it was perfectly logical to keep approving more and more subdivisions that remain unfilled.

But now, when it comes time to assess the performance of Gov. Jennifer Granholm, people have changed their tune. Turns out, the economy was lousy all through the last decade and Granholm should have recognized it.

According to a Livingston Press and Argus editorial on Sunday (Dec. 12, 2010):

"While Michigan's economy has long bounced up and down with the domestic auto industry, there was no reason to believe that was going to be the case with the slump that greeted Granholm. There was plenty of reason to think otherwise.

"Michigan, as Comerica Bank economist Dana Johnson said early in the decade, had the most to lose because it, by far, had the highest percentage of manufacturing jobs. The state was not enduring a cyclical fluctuation, but instead enduring a fundamental shift.

"Over the last decade, Michigan has been suffering greatly while the rest of the country was doing well or at least limping by. That all changed by the end of 2008, when the rest of the nation's fortunes crashed. But Michigan had been in those economic throes for up to eight years by then."

So, according to the editorial, Granholm should have recognized the state's fundamental economic problems earlier, but county leaders like Maggie Jones, Dave Domas, Carol Griffith, and Jack LaBelle, (and state Rep. Cindy Denby) could not be expected to have reached the same conclusions and stopped putting taxpayers on the hook for subdivisions that are near ghost towns.

Granholm should have seen it coming, but Republicans here in Livingston County shouldn't be held to the same standard.

That's a double standard if there ever was one.

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