Diary

MI Morning Update: 11-22-08

710 Days Until Election Day

November 22, 2008

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"Once they’re in power, the Democrats will be reminding the voters that corruption is not limited to Republicans."

— Mark GREBNER, of Practical Political Consultants, in MIRS with one reason why Republican could do better in the 2010 election than they did this year.

MORNING UPDATE:

STATE COMMITTEE MEETING…our next State Committee meeting will be held in Lansing Radisson on December 5th & 6th.

UNEMPLOYMENT HITS 9.3%…Michigan once again is tied for the worst unemployment rate in the country with Rhode Island.

TOP 10 REPUBLICANS…Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza speculates who might be the top GOP leaders to watch in the years to come…not a bad list…but look at some of the other Governors as well.  See the article here

BUDGET CUTS…Governor Granholm has announced that she will issue an Executive Order starting with various budget cuts.  State estimates show a $250 to $300 million dollars budget deficit now…possibly higher.

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THE REST OF THE STORY:

No further commentary today

TODAY’S TOP STORIES

The following stories and more are available at my Articles of Interest online.

 

2 years of Michigan job losses expected
U-M economists give dismal state outlook

BY KATHERINE YUNG
November 22, 2008

Economic forecasters at the University of Michigan predicted Friday that the state is on track to reach a new milestone: 10 consecutive years of job losses. For the next two years, Michiganders can expect declining employment, with the economy expected to be particularly grim in 2009, said economist George Fulton. If General Motors Corp. files for bankruptcy, things could get even worse.

"The hard times in Michigan are here to stay for a while longer," Fulton said. The dismal outlook reflects Michigan’s dependence on the deteriorating U.S. auto industry. But as Detroit automakers rapidly shrink their operations and shed thousands of jobs, the state’s economy is accelerating its shift away from this sector, becoming more diversified in the process. Only a third of the auto manufacturing jobs Michigan had in 2000 will still be around by the end of 2010, according to Fulton and his colleagues.

 

Michigan braces for budget cuts
Granholm addresses grim jobs forecast

BY CHRIS CHRISTOFF
November 22, 2008

Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Friday that the University of Michigan’s forecast for 108,000 more lost Michigan jobs in 2009 and a weak economy will prompt a new round of state budget cuts in the next few weeks. Details of the cuts have yet to be determined, but the governor said that she would avoid reducing money to schools or making health care cuts.

The U-M forecast predicts unemployment in Michigan will reach 10.5% in each of the next two years. The forecast also predicts tax revenue for the state’s general fund will fall to $8.6 billon this year, compared with $9.4 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. Granholm appeared to quash the hopes of some lawmakers to reduce the Michigan Business Tax in the Legislature’s lame-duck session. Granholm said she won’t consider a lower tax until lawmakers agree to reduce prison costs. That can’t happen before a study of prison cost-savings by the Council on State Governments is issued early next year, Granholm said.

 

If Bankruptcy Hits Detroit

Congress has given Detroit’s flailing automakers less than two weeks to come up with a restructuring plan that would justify giving them tens of billions of taxpayer dollars and ensure that they have a reasonable path back to profitability. We hope it is a good plan, because the lame-duck Congress does not have a choice. Michigan’s three car manufacturers have said that they would go bankrupt this year without an infusion of taxpayers’ money. Failing to provide it would be a truly irresponsible act that could obliterate one or more companies, potentially causing other bankruptcies and costing many hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Unpalatable as it seems to underwrite the proven record of failure of Detroit’s automakers, Congress must provide sufficient money to shore them up until the Obama administration takes office. Then, the new president and new Congress can decide how to manage either a rescue package with tight strings attached or a bankruptcy process that ensures the fallen companies have a reasonable shot at picking up the pieces. Bankruptcy proceedings are designed to allow ailing companies to be restructured into profitable businesses, but that is by no means guaranteed – and it requires infusions of credit. In the current financial environment, where even the soundest companies are having trouble getting loans, the government would have to guarantee that financing is available so that any car company under bankruptcy protection could keep operating and paying its workers and suppliers while it is restructured.

 

Waxman warned to protect Big 3
Energy panel could limit emissions

Tom LoBianco
Saturday, November 22, 2008

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner congratulated Rep. Henry A. Waxman upon his election as the new chairman of the House energy panel, and then warned the California Democrat not to let his state stiffen car-emission standards because of the damage that it likely would do to the nation’s ailing carmakers.

"This change would effectively bar the American auto manufacturers from competing in the largest market in America, unless they make substantial changes in manufacturing that would increase costs to consumers, making the ‘Big 3’ even less competitive – and making their collapse even more likely," Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, wrote in his letter to Mr. Waxman. Mr. Boehner, who recently won another term as leader of the House Republicans, repeated a familiar point in his letter: Tougher environmental restrictions likely will cost jobs and further harm the nation’s economy.

 

Put Iacocca in ad campaign, follow his lead, to get bailout 

By Gerry Mason 
11/19/08
 
It seems to me that the Big Three and their suppliers need to get organized and take a few plays from former Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee Iacocca. This campaign will be won in the press. The Chrysler loans in the ’80s went through because Iacocca was the pitchman. I would bring Lee back for an ad campaign, TV appearances and op-ed pieces. I would evoke the photos of Iacocca with former President Reagan as the business leader repaid the loan.

The one thing Lee Iacocca did that I will never forget is that he did not take any pay until the company was turned around – he took a dollar a year. All the Big Three chairmen should do that. Now to take accusations of greed and failed leadership off the table and put the focus where it should be:

 

A Way Out of the Wilderness
We’ve been walloped in consecutive elections, but we can’t just dwell on the past. The future is already here.

By Karl Rove | NEWSWEEK
Published Nov 15, 2008

Yes, we lost the election. But in a year when all currents were running against Republicans and our campaign was lackluster and erratic, Barack Obama received only 3.1 points more than Al Gore in 2000 and only 4.6 points more than John Kerry in 2004. The Democratic victory becomes durable only if Republicans make it so with the wrong moves.

Losing the election has led to a debate about whether the GOP should return to its Reaganite tradition or embark on a new reform course. This pundit-driven shoutfest presents a sterile, unnecessary choice. The party should embrace both tradition and reform; grass-roots Republicans want to apply timeless conservative principles to the new circumstances facing America.

In the coming year, we will be defined more by what we oppose than what we are for; the president-elect and the Democrats in Congress will control the agenda. We must pick fights carefully and center them around principle. The goal is to have the sharp differences that emerge make the GOP look like the more reasonable, hopeful and inviting party-which is easier said than done. A road map:

 

Obama’s First Fumble

By BRYAN CURTIS

BARACK OBAMA went on "60 Minutes" this week and unveiled his first policy proposal as president-elect – a college football playoff. After detailing his preferred system, in which eight teams would meet in a three-week-long tournament at the end of the season, Mr. Obama said, "I don’t know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this." Well, here’s one. To borrow Mr. Obama’s infelicitous phrase, I cling to college football in its current form. This is my first major philosophical break with the candidate I voted for. Mr. Obama floated the playoff idea on "Monday Night Football" the night before the election, but I didn’t take him seriously. The remark seemed like a cheap campaign stunt, to be discarded 24 hours after the streamers came down. Now it sits uncomfortably alongside an economic stimulus and withdrawal from Iraq.

Bashing the Bowl Championship Series – which uses an arcane system of computer and human rankings to pit two college football teams against each other for the national championship in a single game of brutal finality – is politically astute: Only 16 percent of college fans oppose replacing the B.C.S. with a playoff, according to a poll conducted earlier this year. But if Mr. Obama is willing to listen to the appeals of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chávez during his first year in office, surely he can make time for the argument of a sports fan who opposes the talk-radio consensus. Yes, Mr. Obama’s proposal would spread the wealth around. Instead of one game that matches two upper-crust contenders like Alabama and Oklahoma, a playoff could include teams from football’s neglected working class, like Utah and Boise State. Unfortunately, it would also ruin what is great about college football.

 

Clinton Is Said to Opt for Secretary of State Position

By Peter Baker

Hillary Rodham Clinton has decided to give up her Senate seat and accept the position of secretary of state, making her the public face around the world for the administration of the man who beat her for the Democratic presidential nomination, two confidants said Friday.

Mrs. Clinton came to her decision after additional discussion with President-elect Barack Obama about the nature of her role and his plans for foreign policy, said one of the confidants, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the situation. Mr. Obama’s office told reporters Thursday that the nomination is "on track" but Clinton associates only confirmed Friday afternoon that she has decided.

 

Russian leader embarks on defiant Latin America tour 
 
Nov 21 05:53 PM US/Eastern
 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday embarked on a four-nation Latin American tour seen as sending a defiant message to the United States at the close of the George W. Bush presidency. The tour, including talks with the outgoing US leader, naval exercises off Venezuela and a visit to arch US foe Cuba, has evoked fears of renewed Cold War-style rivalry in Latin America, while attracting some ridicule from sceptics.

"The current level of cooperation could be broader than in the Soviet era. Latin America has already ceased to be the United States’ backyard," a Russian diplomatic source told the Russian daily Kommersant. "Now the region is following its own line, which gives Russia an opportunity to strengthen our position," said the official. Medvedev starts his tour in Peru, meeting Bush at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, where Russia’s anti-US stance and failure to join the World Trade Organization contrasts with the views of most members.

 

China ‘using cyberwarfare to challenge US power’
China is using cyberwarfare to challenge American power and distorting economic policy to exert political influence over other countries, according to a hostile congressional report.
 
By Richard Spencer in Beijing
21 Nov 2008

The report accuses China of using its foreign exchange reserves, built up through "heavy-handed government control" to buy influence. In one recent example, a government sovereign wealth fund agreed to use the reserves to loan money to Costa Rica in return for its dropping diplomatic recognition of China’s rival, Taiwan. Meanwhile, it has built up its army of cyber-spies to such an extent that it can launch attacks "anywhere in the world at any time".

The number of attacks on US government, defence companies and businesses rose by a third in 2007, to 43,880 incidents affecting five million computers, according to the claims by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Some were so sophisticated that they might be impossible to counteract, or even detect. Meanwhile, its space programme, targeted at what one Chinese military strategist called "America’s soft ribs", was steadily increasing the vulnerability of US assets.