This ISN'T an economic tsunami?

Cross-posted on Right Michigan at www.RightMichigan.com.

Barack Obama has been the President-elect for over six days now.  Heck, he’s even got an extra large majority ballooning in the House and the Senate as of last Tuesday’s elections.  His transition team is living and breathing and working out of the White House and he has Jennifer freaking Granholm and David Bonior on his economic advisory panel.  (Remember?  They did a press conference last week to tell us they were on the job?)

So why are things only getting worse?  Seriously, is this the “change we need?”  Sorry… said “change.”  Won’t happen again.  But c’mon now, we were promised that the oceans would recede and global warming would end, and if the snow on the ground yesterday morning was any indication, that’s a promise the Democrats already delivered on in spades.  

Now if they’d stop playing meteorologist and start playing economist it’d be much appreciated because checking the headlines in Michigan these days is like reading the obituaries.  Grab the paper, flip to, oh, the front page, and you can read about another dozen jobs dead here and another hundred there.  Like in Livonia, for instance, where the Detroit News tells us one of the State’s marketing giants just took a swift boot to the teeth.

Shares of Valassis Communications Inc. fell to a record low Monday, as the Livonia-based direct marketing firm cut 100 jobs and reduced its profit forecast after posting a third-quarter loss of $5.2 million last week.

Valassis also was removed from the Standard & Poors MidCap 400 index at the close of trading Monday, a move announced by S&P after the company’s market value dropped to $90 million late last week, putting it dead last in the ranking of 400 mid-sized firms.

Dead last sounds rotten but let’s not forget, this is a Livonia, Michigan based company.  They’re used to competing in a global economy from a position of weakness and economic stagnation.  Dead last is something we’re all too painfully familiar with here in the Granholm – Cherry economy.  But isn’t that why the President-elect nabbed our Governor for his fancy little economic team?

No, no, no, that’s right, she’s just there as a tip of the cap to the Big 3.  That’s the national Democrats’ way of telling the domestic automakers that things’ll be OK because the big government liberals are on the job.  Someone might want to give those silly manufacturers a wake up call though because if today’s headlines are any indication, General Motors didn’t get the message.  The Associated Press reports they’re announcing another couple thousand jobs are going the way of the internal combustion engine in Al Gore’s utopia.

Read on…

The 1,900 additional layoffs will come in the first quarter of next year at parts stamping, engine and transmission factories in North America as GM cuts expenses to deal with a worsening cash crisis.

Spokesman Tony Sapienza said the cuts are in addition to 3,600 factory layoffs announced on Friday, bringing the total announced in the past week to 5,500.

Remember the good old days when the Big 3 would wait a week before they realized they’d low-balled their lay-off estimates and made another round of cuts?  Now they’re waiting ONE BUSINESS DAY?

That’s the trouble General Motors finds itself in, despite six years of Granholm – Cherry economic leadership here in Michigan.  But the woman is going to go to Washington, DC with Barack Obama and we’re supposed to expect results?

We GOT results.  THESE are the results:

GM lays off 5,500.

Jennifer Granholm is named to President-elect Barack Obama’s economic recovery team.

The NEXT DAY GM responds by laying off 1,900 more.  That’s what I call being effective.  

But, and this is a Sir-Mix-a-Lot sized but, not everyone in the state is as down on the prospects for a turnaround with the Gov working out of the White House.  The Ivory Tower reports that four mayors from metro-Detroit see their chance and they’re going for it, hoping to play on the advisory teams’ parochial interests to snare $100 million in federal bailout money to clean up closed auto plants in their cities.

The proposal calls for giving eligible cities the equivalent of 20% of the assessed valuation of a plant that closes. For example, if a facility and property is assessed at $20 million, the city would receive $4 million to be used for land acquisition, site remediation, demolition and development incentives, and other redevelopment costs.

“The concern is, right now, the cities are facing a lot of financial stress — loss from state revenue sharing funds, record number of layoffs, foreclosures. The financial assistance available to the cities has been drastically reduced,” (Warren Mayor Jim) Fouts said. “If there is a merger between Chrysler and GM or one of the automakers close down, we’re going to face an economic tsunami.”

Going to, Mr. Mayor?  

I’m down on (as opposed to down with) the whole bailout scheme as a principle but I can’t fault the mayors on this one.  The feds are talking about giving the Big 3 BILLIONS on top of a $25 billion loan they’ve already green-lit and yet the Big 3 continue to close up shops, talk contraction and show workers the door.  (If you saw Mark Perry’s blog yesterday you might have one clue as to the “why.”)

The good folks in Washington, DC are tossing our money around like it’s going out of style.  One could make the argument that it’d be irresponsible for the mayors NOT to reach their hands into the breeze to snag some of they fluttering green.  

What are the Democrats on Capitol Hill to do?  It’s either give the locals the cash to mask, for a time, the region’s economic devestation or, I don’t know, fix the underlying problems, and with Jennifer Granholm advising on economic policy and Obama set to carry Big Labor’s water we know that’s not going to happen.