Sunday, October 22, 2006

Digging Deeper in a Hole Just Gets You More Buried

Last night I saw a Republican ad lambasting Governor Granholm and it really got me thinking. Is Jennifer really responsible for the jobs leaving Michigan? She never supported NAFTA, as far as I know, like DeVos did, and NAFTA is the main culprit behind the mass exodus of manufacturing jobs in this state, oh Hell, why don't I just say the whole country.
In the ad, it featured a young woman, younger than me anyway, complaining about the conditions in Michigan, all the foreclosures, all the people who are going to lose money when they sell their house.
Which got me to thinking. Is it Granholm's fault these people ran up large debts on their credit card bills? Such large bills that these people felt compelled to bite the bait of refinancing? Did Granholm leave them to believe that the only way out of debt was to crawl deeper in to it? Didn't these people realize that what goes up (in this case, housing prices) must come down?
Now, the Republicans are all about personal responsibility, yet here they are running and ad where the people disavow any personal responsibility at all. I know people who have gone down the refinance road and now are stuck with a house they paid too much for, but I don't se where it's the governor's fault. And, lord knows, I've made some really stupid financial decisions in the last two and a half years, but in the end, they were my bad decisions, and while I may have at one time tried to blame someone else, I realize now it was my own pigheaded stubbornness that caused them and nothing else. I don't blame Jennifer Granholm, or Dick DeVos.
I can kind of see DeVos' argument for building a plant in China, they have protectionist policies in place there that require all goods sold there be made there. But why did he lobby Congress for MFN status for China if that is the case? If protectionist policies are bad for the US to have, then isn't just as bad for the US to continue to do business with other countries that have them?
And exactly what is DeVos' plan to change things in Michigan? Cutting the single business tax may help some, but the revenue would have to made up somewhere else, and DeVos hasn't clued anybody in to where they would come from. Unless, he continues to run deficits like Granholm's predecessor, John "Fat-Boy" Engler did. And if you ask someone who is paying more money for a house that was refinanced at the rate houses were going for before the housing bubble popped, getting deeped in debt won't get you anywhere but deeper in a hole. Is that where Michigan needs to be?


sumo said...

I was in Michigan when I was 9...can't help you there.

azgoddess said...

not in michigan myself...

but i can say...that 'personal responsibilty' are just words thrown around now-a-days...people say we need to do it

but they don't haffta...

for me -- if an ad is slaming another person -- i don't vote for that matter what...and i send them an email as to why i'm not voting for them...

Kathy said...

The ad you're referring to omits the fact that foreclosures are up across the country. I read that one county in eastern Ohio (near Youngstown) had the highest number of foreclosures of any county in the country.

I'll grant you that we have problems here, but as this article points out, "The share of Michigan's employment in motor vehicles is over seven times the national average. Furthermore, each job lost in the Michigan motor vehicle industry causes a loss of more than five other jobs in other industries in the long run."

The article also mentions the results of NAFTA on auto jobs: Overall in America, more than 1 million manufacturing jobs were lost in our nation due to NAFTA. George W. Bush's administration has promoted 14 more free trade agreements, including one for Central America.

This is not just a Michigan problem.

Since 2000, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York each have lost between 170,000 and 200,000 jobs (Michigan lost about 220,000). While our state saw 24 percent of our manufacturing jobs lost, these four states all saw a loss of more than 20 percent each.

Ross Perot warned us about that sucking sound but most of us didn't listen.

Also, the number of foreclosures is high, but so are the number of bankruptcies as a result of higher medical expenses. It's just one thing after another for the struggling middle-class.

One final comment, I'm not against outsourcing and helping to raise the standard of living in other countries, but the playing field has to be more equal. The middle-class is bearing the brunt of NAFTA, CAFTA and all the other trade policies while rich businessmen like DeVos get even richer. Amway's revenue was taking a steep decline when DeVos decided to take the company international. That decision may have saved a couple hundred jobs in Michigan, but it also resulted in the elimination of 1400 jobs that will never come back. This helped DeVos' bottom line more than it did those people who lost jobs.

glenda said...

We are seeing the worst parts of NAFTA here as the jobs in Mexico are going to China and the instability along he border increases. The problem with outsourcing is that there is fierce competition to pay the foreign workes the lowest possible wages, so they have barely a subsistence level wage.

Tina said...

As an Ohioan, I feel Michigan's similar pain. Hubby and I have managed to hold onto our home that we purchased in 2001 despite Hubby very unexpected losing his Teamster job (along with nearly 100 co-workers) in 2004, but any hope of building a nest egg is only a memory now. We used every bit of it up while Hubby searched for a new job-- as tiny as it was. Personal responsibility comes into play when people buy luxury items and cannot afford them or cannot afford to finance them. Food, shelter, heat and a winter coat are NOT luxury items. And plenty of financially responsible folks in Ohio can't afford those things right now.