Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm has yet to start teaching her new Cal-Berkeley course on green governing — but she already has a devoted student in the White House.
President Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night was eerily similar to the failed economic vision that Granholm laid out in her State of the State address exactly five years ago: It even included her rhetorical ruse substituting “investments” for “spending.”
“If the states are the laboratories of democracy,” Granholm wrote in the Huffington Post last December, “Washington can take a lesson from what is happening in Michigan.” Sadly for the nation, Obama listened to his teacher.
“We need a moon shot,” said Granholm in the Huffington Post. “This is our Sputnik moment,” echoed the president on Tuesday. Granholm envisioned a transformation of Michigan from “Rust Belt to Green Belt” with massive, European-style public investments in infrastructure and alternative energy. “In five years, you’ll be blown away,” she predicted, in what would become her signature line.
It was, in fact, thousands of state jobs that were blown away, as Granholm’s vision diverted pols’ attention from much-needed reforms to the state’s budget and business climate. Since her speech in 2006, the state’s unemployment rate has exploded from 7.4 percent to 11.4.
Now Obama wants to take the Granholm model national. “The 21st Century Jobs Fund [is] the largest investment in diversifying our economy this state has ever seen,” said Granholm in her 2006 SOS. “It’ll create tens of thousands of new jobs. We’ll invest more than $2 billion in public and private funds to develop new sectors of our economy: Advanced manufacturing. Homeland security and defense. Life sciences. Alternative energy.”
“We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean-energy technology — an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people,” mimicked Obama in this year’s SOTU.
Like Granholmnomics, Obamanomics is not only unsustainable — it diverts important investment dollars from the private sector. Welcome to Michigan, America.