This evening will witness a debate hosted by Oakland University for the GOP presidential hopefuls sponsored by CNBC and the theme of the evening, appropriately, particularly given the location and the prevailing economic trends, will be the economy. Many, if not most of us, know the economic history of Michigan to a degree. But I’ve found that most Americans are unaware of the extent of the economic decline that my home state has experienced. Michigan never truly emerged from the recession we experienced in 2001. Following 9/11 and the bursting of the tech bubble, Michigan went through a period of economic free fall, losing jobs year in and year out. Michigan didn’t add jobs at all until this year. No other state in the Union had such a dismal economic record.
And so it’s appropriate that the suburbs of Detroit will be the site of an articulation of what the Republican party hopes to do to resuscitate the economy. In a phrase: more of the same, and no Obama policies. Not one of the GOP candidates supported the President’s plan to rescue the Big Three. It’s been a resounding success. The Big Three are leading the Great Lakes state in job creation. It was a bridge loan (and not a bailout) and that General Motors and Chrysler did go through an expedited bankruptcy process, forcing the companies to realign the cost structures that put them into financial trouble to begin with. And the fact that it was President Bush who initiated the process of assisting Detroit is conveniently forgotten.
None of this seems to register with any of the GOP pack. They pick the facts that suit them and formulate policy on this fairy tale of what they imagine to be true. Their economic prescriptions consist of basically more tax cuts, cutting government spending and eliminating government regulations. Ignoring the fact that tax cuts have no real bearing on the economy, that reducing government spending will harm the economy in the short term and that regulations seem to have little, if any, impact on stunting jobs growth. Looking at these conservative nincompoops it strikes me that these individuals live in an alternate universe, one in which they’re immune from the truth.
These are people who’s economic plans are about to be unfolded in what is the economic Ground Zero of this country. And those plans are about as impressive as the emperor’s new clothes. There is, in fact and in theory, absolutely nothing to them, and they’re just a tired rehashing of failed policies that don’t work. We need something that actually works (like the President’s plans) precisely for the reason so that we can get more Americans working as well. Expect to hear nothing constructive this evening, other than a few references to 9-9-9 and some sex-tinged gossip. Anything more would be a pleasant surprise. But I’m not holding my breath.