I often feel like a loner in Michigan when it comes to discussions of what’s wrong with Michigan. Mainly because I don’t subscribe to any particular political lines of thought. This article about the Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Conference, reminds that I’m not way off base.

One day when I went to the Post Office, a man outside asked me to sign something regarding lowering taxes. When I said no he became angry, saying, “what…you don’t want lower taxes!” Of course that’s not it at all. I do want lower taxes. Who doesn’t? He followed me to the door of the Post Office ranting about our economy. On the way back to the car he accosted me again, stating, “This state’s in big trouble because of people like you!” Wow! I didn’t realize it was me… I thought perhaps it had something to do with our over reliance on one dying industry, or perhaps our refusal to build a decent transit system. Or could it be our lack of a decent city center…or maybe our refusal to put a high priority higher education (heck, many in Michigan look upon higher education with disdain). It could have been many things, but I didn’t think it was me.

Not one to accept responsibility for the state of the economy, I pointed out that the top states have arguably higher, and less pro business tax structures. How did he respond. Well, he mentioned something about socialism, which meant he’d been listening to a little too much talk radio. I suggested he do a little research on his own and left it at that.

I had the same argument with someone who over borrowed for their business, and moved it to a poor location, just as the economy took a downturn. This person used the same, old, tired, “Michigan has too high a tax rate” argument, that simply holds no water, but that’s the danger of letting others do the thinking for you. No, immigrants are the problem. It’s not Michigan’s tax structure, and neither are “liberals” to blame, as the forum posters on Freep.com are fond of saying. No it’s a fairly simple issue. Michigan has ignored the rest of the world, and often times, the rest of the country. Times are changing. Always have been, and always will. I know, from experience, that Michigan breeds a certain type of personality. One that is adverse to change. “If it ain’t broke…” the saying goes. Well, if you can’t change ahead of time, to keep up with the times, you’re going to be left behind. And guess what happened to Michigan?

May 30, 2008