Now Waiting For All The New Jobs In Michigan

Michigan has passed so-called right to work legislation today. There’s already been a lot written about how right-to-work states wind up with lower wages for workers, which doesn’t sound like a good thing for the economy unless you are in the right wing bubble. I’m more interested in seeing data on the other question–whether right-to-work laws are really of any benefit to a state in terms of bringing in new jobs. Governor Rick Snyder says this is the case, playing the role of ventriloquist’s doll to the Koch brothers. Think Progress says this is false:

… the economic research isn’t on Snyder’s side. As Adam Hersh, Heather Boushey, and David Madland note:

“There is really no economic evidence showing “right-to-work” laws leading to more jobs or better outcomes for workers. This is seen plainly in analysis looking at the impact of such laws in Oklahoma, the only other state to adopt a right-to-work law in the past 25 years prior to Indiana doing so in 2011 and Michigan’s current legislative move. In fact, economists Sylvia Allegretto and Gordon Lafer of the University of California, Berkeley and University of Oregon, respectively, show that since Oklahoma’s law passed in 2001, manufacturing employment and business relocations to the state actually reversed their “pre-right-to-work” increases and began to fall—and this at a time when Oklahoma’s extractive industry economies were booming. To the contrary, these researchers show that right-to-work laws have failed to increase employment growth in the 22 states that have adopted them.”

Instead, right-to-work laws simply result in lower wages and fewer benefits for workers, union and non-union alike. In Michigan (and across the country), as unionization rates fall, so does middle-class income. President Obama yesterday blasted right-to-work as “giving you the right to work for less money.”

Unfortunately we can’t have a fully controlled experiment here since Michigan’s economy is recovering and new jobs might be come to Michigan regardless of the law. However, a drastic step such as adopting right-to-work laws, with their known detrimental effects, should show a clear increase in jobs coming to the state. Just something to keep in mind in two years when Snyder is up for reelection.

Incidentally, Greg Sargent describes one way in which this might be overturned.

Update: Conservatives have “right-to-work” the “death tax” “right to life” and other ways of renaming positions to affect public opinion. The mainstream media tries to make both sides sound equivalent. “Inheritance tax” and “pro-choice” sound like far more honest terms than those used by conservatives. Are there any liberal equivalents to the conservative renaming of viewpoints which I’m not thinking of? Does the lack of similar tactics by liberals mean that liberals are more honest or less skillful politically (or both)?

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Michigan Legislature Considering Bills To Limit Access To Abortion

After the midterm elections of 2010 I found myself living in a red state. This November the Republicans realized that the situation which placed them in power has changed. The Michigan legislature will still be controlled by Republicans in the next session, but their majority is shrinking, and they realize there is a chance they will be removed in another two years. They decided to suddenly push harder for their reactionary agenda in the lame duck session. By now most have heard how Michigan has passed a “right to work” law. This isn’t the only mischief that the legislature has been up to. The Detroit Free Press reports on new legislation to limit access to abortion:

Legislation that could limit access to abortion — several measures that shot through Thursday in a chaotic day in Lansing — drew sharp criticism Friday from Michigan residents who said the proposals run roughshod over women’s rights and could allow doctors to pick and choose patients based on religious or moral beliefs.

A package of three Senate bills would prevent insurers on the state’s health care exchange — a provision of health care reform that Michigan must still establish — from automatically including coverage for abortion in their policies offered on the exchange.

Rather, an employer or an individual purchaser of the plan would have to request and pay separately for abortion coverage.

As it stands now, nearly 80% of plans in Michigan cover abortion, according to Lori Lamerand, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan…

The bills need to pass the House and be signed by Gov. Rick Snyder before they would become law.

But a similar measure to make abortion coverage available only through a supplemental policy might be closer to law.

It was tucked inside legislation that would allow Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to change its business structure. That bill, with last-minute amendments tacked on that would apply to other insurers as well, is headed for Snyder’s desk. Snyder has pushed for legislation to allow the Blue Cross the change in its business plan.

Voters sent a clear message in the 2012 election that we do not want Republican big government forcing the repugnant moral views of the religious right upon others. If younger and more liberal voters remain engaged in two years and do not stay home as they did four years ago, actions such as this could lead to Michigan becoming a fully blue state once again in 2014. The actions of the Michigan legislature also show why there is no safety in electing a moderate Republican such as Governor Rick Snyder if he is willing to sign most of the bills passed by the Republican legislature. If Jennifer Granholm was still in Lansing, we know she would be vetoing these measures.

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Turkeys Of The Day: The GOP Michigan Legislature For Proposing Tax Credit For Fetuses

In honor of Thanksgiving, the Turkeys of the Day are the Republicans in the Michigan legislature who are proposing an income tax credit for fetuses–despite having previously eliminated the tax credit for children. From the Guardian:

Republican lawmakers in Michigan, a state which eliminated tax credits for children last year, have proposed a tax credit for unborn foetuses of 12 weeks gestation.

If the measure, outlined in two bills heard by the house tax policy committee on Tuesday, becomes law it would be the first of its kind in the US.

Critics said the proposal was “absurd” and described it as a backdoor way of trying to pass “personhood” legislation which would give rights to an embryo and crack down on abortion.

The Michigan house of representatives this year passed part of a three-bill package that would restrict access to abortion and heavily regulate clinic that performs them. Republican leaders have come under fire for banning a Democrat from speaking after she said the word “vagina” in a debate on an abortion bill earlier this year.

The nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency has estimated that this tax credit would cost the state between $5 million and $10 million annually in lost tax revenue (via Think Progress).

More on the story at MLive.

Related:

Turkey of the Day: Georgia Businessman Blaming His Business Problems on Obama (2011)

Happy Thanksgiving (2012) Former president and turkey George Bush; Clips from Thanksgiving at the Bartlet White House

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West Wing Reunion For Michigan Candidate

Bridget Mary McCormack, a candidate for the Michigan Supreme Court, has received help from the cast of The West Wing to get voters to remember to vote on the non-partisan portion of the Michigan ballot even if voting a straight party ticket for other races.

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Mitt Romney Has Been A Phoney For A Long Time–Pretended To Be Police Officer When A Student But Avoided Being A Soldier

Mitt Romney loves to pretend to be a guy who knows something about the economy and creating jobs. When he was younger he would pretend to be a policeman. I don’t mean when he was six . While in college he would wear a Michigan State Police uniform obtained from his father (the former governor), and even pull people over:

When Mitt Romney was a college freshman, he told fellow residents of his Stanford University dormitory that he sometimes disguised himself as a police officer – a crime in many states, including Michigan and California, where he then lived. And he had the uniform on display as proof.

So recalls Robin Madden, who had also just arrived as a freshman, the startling incident began when Romney called him and two or three other residents into his room, saying, “Come up, I want to show you something.” When they entered Romney’s room, “and laid out on his bed was a Michigan State Trooper’s uniform.”

Madden, a native Texan who graduated from Stanford in 1970 and went on to become a successful television producer and writer, has never forgotten that strange moment, which he has recounted to friends over the years as he observed his former classmate’s political ascent. The National Memo learned of the incident from a longtime Madden friend to whom he had mentioned it years ago.

Said Madden in a recent interview, “He told us that he had gotten the uniform from his father,” George Romney, then the Governor of Michigan, whose security detail was staffed by uniformed troopers. “He told us that he was using it to pull over drivers on the road. He also had a red flashing light that he would attach to the top of his white Rambler.”

In Madden’s recollection, confirmed by his wife Susan, who also attended Stanford during those years, “we thought it was all pretty weird. We all thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty creepy.’ And after that, we didn’t have much interaction with him,” although both Madden and Romney were prep school boys living in the same dorm, called Rinconada.

Other eyewitnesses have previously recalled Romney’s alleged use of a police or trooper uniform in pranks during his high school years at the exclusive Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Phillip Maxwell, a prep school buddy, told the New Republic in 2008 that Romney had pulled over students from a girls school next door to Cranbrook while wearing a police uniform as a prank. Other former classmates described Mitt as a “happy-go-lucky guy known less for his achievements and more for his pranks.”

In The Real Romney, a biography published by Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman this year, another former friend recalled how Romney had “put a siren on top of his car and chased two of his friends who were driving around with their dates.” The two friends were in on the scheme, but the girls were not. There was beer in the car trunk, according to a prearranged plan. Mitt told his two counterparts to get out of their vehicle and into his car. Then they drove off, leaving the girls behind.

“It was a terrible thing to do,” said one of his accomplices, a Cranbrook classmate named Graham McDonald.

To some observers, Romney’s alleged masquerading as a cop to intimidate innocent drivers shows a character defect that is also revealed by other bullying incidents during his youth. When those incidents were disclosed in the Washington Post earlier this year, Romney issued an apology of sorts, stating that he had done “stupid” things and was sorry if he had harmed anyone.

While he may have believed that his cop antics were harmless, Romney may well have been breaking the law merely by donning a police uniform, committing a crime if he pretended to be a cop and a felony if he did so more than once. In both California and Michigan, any person convicted of fraudulently impersonating a police officer may be sentenced to up to one year in prison. (The National Memohas collected some other examples of police impersonators.)

The Romney campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Following his sophomore year at Stanford, young Mitt left and never went back. For more than two years he served as a Mormon missionary in France — thus avoiding the obligation to wear a very different  uniform in Vietnam.

I doubt that incidents which occurred so many years ago will have much influence on the election, but it is hard not to question if these were early signs of the character flaws which have been seen whenever Romney has run for office. The evidence that he was a chicken-hawk, along with contradictory statements over the years about Viet Nam, might further harm his credibility. From AP:

Though an early supporter of the Vietnam War, Romney avoided military service at the height of the fighting after high school by seeking and receiving four draft deferments, according to Selective Service records. They included college deferments and a 31-month stretch as a “minister of religion” in France, a classification for Mormon missionaries that the church at the time feared was being overused. The country was cutting troop levels by the time he became eligible for the draft, and his lottery number was not called…

As a presidential candidate in 2007, Romney told The Boston Globe he was frustrated, as a Mormon missionary, not to be fighting alongside his countrymen.

“I was supportive of my country,” Romney said. “I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there, and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.”

However, as on so many topics, Romney said the opposite in 1994:

But the frustration he recalled in 2007 does not match a sentiment he shared as a Massachusetts Senate candidate in 1994, when he told The Boston Herald, “I was not planning on signing up for the military.”

“It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft,” Romney told the newspaper.

 

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Jennifer Granholm Tells Mitt Romney To Stop Lying About The Recovery of the Auto Industry

Jennifer Granholm, who was Governor of Michigan at the time of the auto bailout, responded to Mitt Romney’s lies as to where he stood:

Dear Mitt Romney:

There are politics, there are lies, and then there’s you. You take it to a whole ‘nother level.

OK, I admit that I have a particular animus toward you, as a guy that knifed us in the back when Michigan was on its knees, but you simply cannot be our president. It cannot happen.

As you know, Mitt, I was governor of Michigan during that horrible time, when the financial industry was melting down and the auto industry was in free fall. And you were running for president. You saw the polls about the unpopularity of bailouts and you lumped the auto industry in with the bank industry — the auto industry, where your father and so many of your family members had worked.

You raised your finger into the air, saw which way the wind was blowing, and followed it. Way to lead, Mitt.

You weren’t looking into the eyes of autoworkers getting laid off as factory after factory closed.

In the six month period surrounding the president’s inauguration, more than 1,018 Michigan companies had announced mass layoffs in response to the crash.

Our unemployment office was receiving more than 800,000 calls per day from people desperate for help. The auto industry was heading over the cliff, we were begging for help, and you were coolly standing behind us giving your home state a shove over the ledge. And now you have the nerve to claim credit for the auto industry’s rebound? It’s a joke, right?

Steve Rattner, who headed the president’s auto task force said it succinctly today when he said, “Mitt Romney is nuts.” If only that’s all it was.
So Mitt, here’s my request: Just stop it. Stop denying that you were pandering to a national audience when you wrote that Detroit should “go bankrupt” and then stop taking credit for the success of the Obama administration’s intervention to save the auto industry and more than a million jobs that went with it.

The Obama team wasn’t taking advice from you. So just. Stop. Talking. Just stop.

And to you, reading this in The Huffington Post — let’s be honest, most Democrats aren’t going to vote for Mitt Romney anyway. This latest example of his deception and distortion is just that, the latest example.

But to the Republicans and Independents who are reading this: Could you honestly see George H.W. Bush, or John McCain or Bob Dole, or even George W. Bush, demeaning the intelligence of the American people like this? Acting in a way so devoid of integrity?

It’s ironic that on a day in which we focus on the auto industry, we’re debating the merits of a guy who exhibits all the clichés we unfairly assign to used car salesmen.

America is not a business. It’s not about ROI. It’s not a trophy to mount on your wall.

America is an idea. And it’s the solemn responsibility of each “temporary” president to protect and nurture that noblest of all ideas — with integrity.

This man, Mitt Romney, has shown — not through his experience, but through his actions and words — that he is unqualified to carry out that responsibility.

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Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Might Provide A Preview Of A Romney Presidency

Now that we know that the election should come down to a choice between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney we can speculate on what will happen after next January 20, 2013. If Obama is reelected it seems a safe prediction that he will continue on a moderate course. He will continue to frustrate those on the left at times, but he will be far more rational than the extremist policies now supported by most Republicans. Economic realities will further frustrate many on the left as the fiscal conservative side of Obama is likely to dominate, but if there are to be cuts to spending I would much rather that Barack Obama as opposed to any current Republican be influencing matters from the White House.

Mitt Romeny is a little more difficult to predict considering that on any given day he is likely to have taken any position on virtually any issue. Although he has campaigned as a liberal in Massachusetts, most likely he will at best be a moderate in office, and there is the very real risk he will feel obligated to prove that he is as “severely conservative” as he now says he is.

The outcome of a Romney presidency is likely to be influenced to a considerable degree by the type of Congress which is elected. If, as has often occurred in the post-war era, he is a Republican facing a Democratic Congress, it is possible that he might govern as a moderate, figuring that it is better to get something meaningful done rather than spending his time in gridlock. On the other hand, he might be so indebted to the far right, and fearful of a primary challenge, that he might push a far right wing agenda regardless of whether it could pass in Congress.

Should Romney win, for at least the first two years it is more likely that he would also bring in a Republican Congress with him. It would be difficult for the Democrats to hold enough seats to maintain control of the Senate considering that the Democrats are defending twenty-three seats while the Republicans are only defending ten in a year going the Republican’s way. The Republicans would also only need a tie to control the Senate should Romney win. The Democrats now have a real shot to take control of the House if everything goes their way in 2012, but this becomes a very long shot if we are facing a fall in which Romney is able to take the swing states which as of now are leaning Democratic.

Ezra Klein sees a scenario such as this leading to Romney becoming a transformational president–and not in a good way:

If Romney wins the election, it’s almost a sure bet that Republicans win control of both the House and the Senate. And that matters. Right now, the GOP’s agenda is the Ryan budget, and that’s entirely fiscal: It’s a premium support plan for Medicare, and tax cuts, and deep cuts to Medicaid, food stamps and other domestic programs. All that can be passed through budget reconciliation — which is to say, all that can be made immune to the filibuster.

I would take this a step further. A Romney victory could lead to a move to the far right even if Romneyy preferred more moderate policies. A model for a Romney presidency might be seen in Michigan, where moderates and many Democrats backed Rick Snyder. Snyder is a moderate who is certainly preferable to other GOP choices such as the extremely far right-wing Pete Hoekstra, who has not been on speaking terms with reality for several years. Many Democrats supported Snyder because it was clear that there would be a Republican landslide in 2010 and wanted the lesser evil.

Unfortunately, while we were spared four years of Pete Hoekstra as governor, which would certainly have  left us in a far worse situation than we are now in, the GOP wave in 2010 brought in a far-right Republican-controlled legislature. Rick Snyder might prefer to concentrate on the economy and avoid controversial social issues, but the legislature does not feel the same. MLive showed how this has moved Snyder’s agenda to the right, despite his personal views:

Snyder has surprised some insiders by signing some bills that strayed from the economic agenda that he pledged to pursue, or perhaps leaned more to the right than the centrist governor tends to lean.

Snyder talked of staying clear of divisive social issues, but signed bills prohibiting public employers from extending domestic partner benefits.

He has said picking a fight with unions was not part of his agenda, but gave his approval to bills prohibiting school districts from collecting dues for unions.

Last week, Snyder added his signature to the bill repealing the law requiring most motorcycle riders to wear helmets – something Granholm rejected twice.

“Gov. Snyder can keep saying ‘This is not the agenda I want,’ but if he’s going to keep signing these bills it’s certainly the agenda he has,” said Doug Pratt, public affairs director for the Michigan Education Association.

“The governor says he’s a moderate guy, but when it comes to putting pen to paper it sure looks like he’s rubber stamping the extremist policies that he rejected as a candidate.”

Romney, like Synder, might prefer to campaign on economic issues, but he will not be able to avoid conservative social issues. Mitt Romney says we should leave contraception alone, but would anyone trust him to block Republican legislation which restricts it? Rick Snyder has two things between his legs which Mitt Romney lacks. There is little doubt that Romney would not be the political equivalent of a eunuch, showing no ability to stand up to the far right, regardless of how extreme. Democrats might have a better shot of blocking social as opposed to economic issues by filibustering in the Senate, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Republicans rewrite the Senate rules to prevent this if they control both Houses of Congress and the White House.

This could lead to a situation where the far right wing of the Republican Party could push their extremist agenda on social as well as economic issues, with no way to block them. In Michigan, Rick Snyder has on occasion stood up to the far right, such as backing stem cell research at the University of Michigan despite Republican opposition. What chance is there that Romney has the cojones to do the same?

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Mitt Romney’s Victory in Michigan, As Covered by Saturday Night Live

Mitt Romney’s victory in the Michigan primary, as covered by Saturday Night Live (video above). Romney was interviewed by Shepard Smith.

Romney on the victory: “We fee great. Michigan was just another case of voters taking a look at Mitt Romney and saying, ‘eh, I guess.’”

On the support of Kid Rock: “I just won my home state by less than three percentage points, Shepard. I’m not turning away anyone.”

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David Letterman: Top Ten Other Things Mitt Romney Says He Likes About Michigan’s Trees

David Letterman: Top Ten Other Things Mitt Romney Says He Likes About Michigan’s Trees

10. “I seem less wooden standing next to one”
9. “In a pinch, sap makes a great hair gel”
8. “They’re also just the right width”
7. “It’s fun hiring illegal immigrants to rake up their leaves”
6. “They’re not gay, like palm trees”
5. “They don’t shed their foliage as quickly as those slutty Rhode Island trees”
4. “They look great next to my wife’s Cadillacs”
3. “Trees don’t whine when strapped to your car roof”
2. “They’re not afraid to stand up to the auto industry”
1. “Like me, they lean whichever way the wind blows”

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Santorum Falling

A few updates on the primary race since the recent post on the Michigan primary:

Michigan has awarded both of the at-large delegates to Mitt Romney contrary to earlier reports that both Santorum and Romney would receive the same number of delegates. There certainly seems to be a lot of reversals of decisions in the Republican primaries and caucuses this year. I guess we shouldn’t expect a consistent and fair system from the party which used their party’s Supreme Court appointees to steal the 2000 election.

You.gov has Santorum leading in three states on Super Tuesday: Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. A Quinnipiac poll has Santorum leading 35 percent to 31 percent in Ohio with the race too close to call. While he might remain in the race, and might even have an outside chance of winning, I find it unlikely that Santorum can stop Romney unless a has a major win such as in Ohio on Super Tuesday. He made a lot of serious mistakes in Michigan, where he once led, and this interview in Cincinnati doesn’t help matters for him.

Obama’s approval is improving in Ohio. A few more days of seeing the Republican candidates should send his approval even higher.

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