Traveling with Dick DeVos during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign I heard him sound what became a familiar caution again and again. At the time the national economy was (and in many ways still is) going gangbusters in it’s post-Clinton recession / 9/11 recovery. Expansion was good. Job growth was steady and new jobs numbered in the millions. Revenues to the US Treasury were at record levels. But Michigan lagged painfully behind. Heck, we were headed in the exact opposite direction.
Many Michiganders had the perception that what was happening in Michigan was happening nationwide. That everyone was in recession. DeVos’s caution? What passed for leadership in Lansing was doing far more harm than good and Michigan was in danger of missing an entire national recovery. And nothing good could come from that.
That warning shot immediately to mind when I read the headlines in almost every news outlet this morning. `Jobless rate jumped to 5.5%,’ they screamed. `Increase biggest rise since ’86, payrolls cut by 49,000.’
Here in Michigan we look at 5.5% and laugh. Not a little snicker but a full, hearty, deep-from-the-gut sort of laugh. Five point five? Child’s play.
Sadly, we’re not unlike Monty Python’s Black Knight. So used to being rendered by Lansing the nation’s official economic backwater we’ve become accustomed to lunacy. Go ahead, sever a leg. "That’s just a flesh wound!"
But with the left political opportunism trumps reality a thousand times out of a hundred. I’ll go out on a limb here and make a daring prediction. Both the regressisphere and the MSM will attempt to use these new national unemployment numbers to hammer the Bush administration and John McCain. They will simultaneously ignore the Democrat controlled Congress. And here in Michigan? They’ll continue to ignore the legacy being built by "leaders" like Jennifer Granholm, John Cherry, Mark Schauer and Andy Dillon.
So how do you respond without pulling out your hair in frustration? The facts, ma’am. Just the facts. Today’s MSM reports cite Bureau of Labor Statistics data based on seasonally adjusted non-farm payroll. So where do we stand here in the land of long-standing Dem leadership?
National unemployment (May): 5.5%
Michigan Unemployment (April, latest): 6.9%
Jobs lost nationally in May: 49,000
Jobs lost in Michigan (January-April): 30,400
National population: 304,267,395
Michigan population: 10,071,822
That’s 3.3% of the nation’s population. Three point three percent suffered in four months time more than 3/5ths the number of job losses inflicted on the other 97% of the nation during this sudden, fearsome, ballyhooed economic collapse.
But things get much scarier when you look at the broader track record during Granholm and Cherry’s time in the Executive Office. Since taking their oaths on the Capitol steps in early 2003 Michigan has lost 272,000 jobs.
One state. Pure Dem controlled Michigan.
The broader United States during the same period of time? From 130,183,000 to 137,754,000 for an overall gain of 7,571,000 jobs.
Is that giant-sized national recovery over? We Michiganders had better hope not. Democratic leadership lost a quarter of a million jobs here at home while things were going so well beyond our borders… I’d rather not imagine what things might look like if the storm clouds gather nationally. But suddenly, frighteningly Dick DeVos looks that much more like a prophet.