Detroit, Mich. – Now we know why Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is on President-elect Barack Obama’s economic policy team. Judging by Obama’s Saturday economic address, he plans to address the nation’s ills with the same inept policies Granholm has championed for the last six years here in Michigan.
Granholm and Obama have much in common: They are both young Democratic party protégés, both are charismatic personalities, and both are left-wing, Harvard-educated lawyers with little experience running anything prior to assuming office. Like Granholm, Obama appears to have little grasp of market economics, but prefers showy public-works programs and utopian visions of bridging a carbon-addicted America to a new green economy that will employ millions.
“(My stimulus plan) will be a two-year, nationwide effort to jumpstart job creation in America and lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy. We’ll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels, fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead.”
“I’m proposing a Michigan economic stimulus package — nearly a billion dollars for needed infrastructure and building improvements, creating upwards of 28,000 construction and other jobs over the next two years. A billion dollars in economic stimulus from new construction. But let me talk for a moment about one sector that has blockbuster potential for Michigan: alternative energy . . . . Because of the need to reduce global warming and end our dependence on expensive foreign oil, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries will create millions of good paying jobs. I say we will win these jobs for Michigan and replace the lost manufacturing jobs with a whole new, growing sector.”
The echo is eerie (if Obama were Joe Biden, one might be suspicious of plagiarism).
And likely to get eerier still. How has Granholm gone about creating this new green economy? With mandates and targeted tax breaks – just as Obama will likely propose. Granholm spearheaded a state Renewable Power Standard that mandates 20 percent of Michigan’s energy come from wind power by 2020, and she has showered tax breaks on alternative energy companies. Watch for Obama to do both on the national level.
The result has been a Michigan economy that has drowned under Granholm’s watch, with unemployment tripling to a nation-leading 9.3 percent at the same time that Michigan’s debilitating economic fundamentals – high taxes and overgenerous concessions to organized labor — have gone unaddressed. Granholm, however, has missed few opportunities for photo ops touting the companies that have benefiited from her tax handouts or her road-construction spending.
And she has landed a key position in Obama’s transition team, where she and the president-elect apparently agree that Granholmnomics is America’s future.