In his speech at Georgetown University on April 14th, Obama suggested that the old economic model of free market capitalism is dead. He likened it to building our house on sand. To build our economic house on rock, continued Obama, is to rely upon government, particularly on government spending to stimulate the economy. Elsewhere in his speech he glowingly talked of government “investment” in green industries to create jobs, for example.
Translation: it’s government’s job to pick economic winners and losers, rather than allowing free market forces to shape the economy.
If you want to know what that really looks like, where the government picks economic winners and losers, you only need take a look at Michigan.
Here are some of Michigan’s startling statistics:
Michigan has a 12.6% unemployment rate, the highest in the nation. (Michigan has achieved this dubious distinction of being “#1” in unemployment for the past 6 or more years.)
- Michigan’s per capita income ($34,342) has slipped 11.2% below the U.S. national average ($38,564), the lowest ranking since statistics were first kept in 1929.
- The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), a government agency charged with economic development, proclaimed it had created 40 new jobs from 2005 to 2007 (at the total cost of $116.3 million in taxpayer dollars. That’s roughly $3 million per job.) However, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Michigan had a net loss of 100,000 jobs from 2004/2005, even before taxes increased 11% on small businesses and 7% individuals.
These are but a few statistics. I could go on about how houses have sold in Detroit for $1; how Michigan’s poverty rate is growing; how Michigan has had a skyrocketing net loss of population since 2001 (mostly the college-educated.)
But you get the picture. Government has no business picking winners and losers in the economy. (Unless, of course, your goal is to impoverish the population, making them more dependent upon that very same government, as that government continues to grow through higher and higher taxes.)
And if I may remind all of you who do not live in Michigan that during these same 8+ years Michigan that has been in an economic depression, the rest of you in most of the other 49 states were seeing economic growth, especially in right-to-work states like Alabama or no-income tax states like Texas or states with foresight who diversified their economies 20 years ago, like North Carolina.
So the next time you hear someone parroting the line that it’s the free market’s fault that we’re in this economic mess, with all its greedy capitalists, and so we now need the government to run our economy – send them to Michigan.