The ripple effect of a healthy auto manufacturing sector is apparent in those parts of the state that have auto-related facilities and businesses. All shifts running full bore and Ford’s summer changeover being cut in half because cars are speed-selling.
It can’t be said often enough that the GOP’s candidate for President in 2012, Mitt Romney, said he would have let the auto industry fail. Fact: It was President Obama who laid the ground work for Michigan’s survival and recovery which were underway before Rick Snyder took office in 2011, as pointed out in GOPfriendly 2015 ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index. And where Michigan was 50th in competitiveness. (ALEC and Laffer are Snyder’s guys, so that’s got to hurt.)
Governor Snyder has done a lot of traveling, tinkering along the edges of state finance, and publicly patting himself on the back, but he has lured very few businesses into the state. (Note Michigan’s population loss of over 620,000 cited by ALEC-Laffer.) We likely will never see those companies the Governor said were “poised and ready” to land here if we’d only become a Right to Work state. (Well, we did, and they didn’t.) Yes, there has been an increase in small business start-ups, many mom-and-pop operations begun by those who ultimately had to hire themselves because they were unable to find jobs. Lawn services, snow removal, beauty shops, day care services, specialty food shops, nail salons, etc., all low paying with half of them statistically doomed to failure.
This reality may have been a factor in Snyder’s decision not to run for President because he would have had to run on Obama’s record and the foresight of Alan Mulally at Ford. Snyder can call Michigan “the Comeback State” because it certainly is for the automotive world, but it roared back on wheels — not on GOP policies. To see the full effect of GOP policies look at Kansas, a state that rhapsodized over its total GOP dominion and which now must face the reality that bestowing tax cuts on business does not inspire companies to pack up all their operations, cares, and woes and move to Wichita. What you get is an under-served citizenry that’s slowly seeing that massive tax cuts and trickle down theories do not get the job done. Reluctantly some of those legislators are considering the dreaded reinstatement of taxes in a state that was not highly taxed to begin with.
Governor Snyder should take a hard look at the market and know that another bubble may be developing. To get ahead of a possible 50% drop in the market, the GOP and Snyder must get those road projects going ASAP. No more legislative heel dragging after the ridiculous tactic of putting a Rube Goldberg funding plan up to the voters, an evasion and delaying tactic. It’s time to press on while money is available at relatively low rates. If a substantial roads project generates enough jobs and cushions Michigan’s economy against future market dips, then the governor and legislature can take the bows they will have earned, but not a moment before. The automakers did their part and deserve to have good roads beneath their good new cars.