Diary

MI Morning Update 2-4-09

643 Days
until Election Day

February 4,
2009

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“Any honest assessment of our state’s economy has to recognize that things are likely to get worse before they get better. But if there is one thing I want you, the citizens of Michigan, to know this evening, it is this: Things will get better,”
Governor Jennifer Granholm (another way of saying “we’ll be blown away”!)

MORNING UPDATE:

GRANHOLM STATE OF THE STATE
10.6% unemployment and yes, once again, she promises that we will be “blown away”. Another “pipedream” is to reduce the state’s reliance on imported fossil fuel by 45 percent by the year 2020. The state now gets about 75 percent of its power from imported coal- and natural gas-fired plants. Raise the cost of energy, that’s going to do a lot to create jobs?!?

STEELE APPOINTS ANUZIS CO-CHAIR OF RNC TRANSITION TEAM…Comprised of current RNC members, the transition team will help implement the sweeping changes Steele proposed during his campaign for chairman.  Under Chairman Steele’s leadership, the RNC will focus on recruiting a new cadre of top-notch candidates and operatives, build new volunteer networks, and forge new working relationships with state and local parties.  The team will also immediately begin preparing for the gubernatorial and local elections later this year in Virginia and New Jersey, and the special Congressional election in New York State. It’s a great honor and opportunity to be part of the team.

CHERRY/GRANHOLM TAX LEGACY…Lieutenant Governor Cherry recently said he believes Governor Granholm has a ‘strong record’. If he believes sky-rocketing taxes and enacting a never-ending string of anti-business policies constitutes a strong record, then he’s made a better case for change in this state than I could ever hope to.

The administration lacked foresight into the state’s overall economic climate and should have let Republicans take the lead in prior years when the party was calling for massive cuts and reforms to state government.
 
We’re looking at record unemployment and tens-of-thousands of people leaving the state and the only answer this administration has is to do what Republicans have been telling them to do from day one. It’s encouraging they have finally seen the light, it’s just sad it cost our state over 400,000 jobs and $1.6 billion before they could realize they should have been listening to Republicans all along.

STIMULUS PLAN QUESTIONED… check www.nostimulus.com website and check out tonight’s national townhall teleconference with U.S. Senator DeMint on the stimulus. Details: Wednesday, Feb. 4th. From 8 to 9 pm. Call 1-877-229-8493. Pin #13896. We need your help.

MRP STATE CONVENTION…Just a quick note to let you know that the Michigan Republican’s website has been updated with State Convention information.   For your reference in directing potential delegates to the site, the address is: http://www.migop.org/event.asp.

CPAC 2009 Timeless Principles, New Challenges…Register today for the largest gathering of conservative grassroots activists in the country! The American Conservative Union Foundation is pleased to invite you to participate in the nation’s largest annual gathering of conservatives. The 36th Annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) will be held on February 26-28, 2009. http://www.cpac.org/.

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TODAY’S TOP STORIES

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Articles of Interest online.

Granholm proposes ‘green’ initiatives, government cutbacks

Mark Hornbeck, Charlie Cain and Gary Heinlein / Detroit News Lansing Bureau

LANSING — Gov. Jennifer Granholm, in her seventh State of the State address, called Tuesday for a near-moratorium on new coal-fired power plants and a major reduction in reliance on coal for electricity generation over the next decade.

Approval of eight coal plants now in the pipeline will be delayed at least several months while the state reviews alternatives, and some of them won’t be built, the governor and her aides indicated. Alternative energy played a key role in the governor’s address, and she hopes to help rebuild the state’s economy, in part, by nurturing a "green energy" industry here.

Granholm’s address to the Legislature was delivered against the backdrop of economic crisis and a looming $1.6-billion budget deficit. She proposed several initiatives to ease the financial stresses on struggling families, including a moratorium on utility shutoffs to needy households, a freeze on car insurance rates, and a three-month notice before home foreclosures.


Granholm plan attempts to get tough too late

Tom Walsh

"It’s a time for relentless focus and discipline," Gov. Jennifer Granholm stated soberly Tuesday night as she cut the salaries of elected officials 10%, vowed to pare 18 state departments down to eight, cut funding for state fairs and shut down three more prisons.

To which Michigan business leaders replied: It’s about time. And then asked: Is all that enough to close a looming $2.5-billion budget gap over the next two years?

"Our fear," said Doug Rothwell, president of the Detroit Renaissance group of corporate chief executive officers, "is that we will rely too much on the federal stimulus package, without implementing enough structural reforms to fix our budget problems.



The Stimulus Package Is More Debt We Don’t Need

By TOM COBURN

As the Senate considers a massive $1.1 trillion stimulus bill, it is vital that the American people ask hard questions of their elected officials. When they do, it will become very clear that the bill will not only fail to stimulate the economy, but could seriously delay economic recovery.

As a nation, we got into this mess by spending and investing money that didn’t exist. We won’t get out of it by doing more of the same.

Yet this is precisely what this bill proposes we do. Less than 10% of the bill could be considered true stimulus, if one assumes tax credits and infrastructure spending will jolt the economy. The other 90% of the bill represents one of the most egregious acts of generational theft in our nation’s history, with taxpayer money going to special-interest earmarks, an ill-conceived bailout to states, and permanent spending increases that expand government’s reach in areas like health care and education.



Investing in What Doesn’t Work

By Neal McCluskey & Adam Schaeffer

President Barack Obama, in discussing the $800 + billion economic stimulus package now working its way through Congress, promised that "we will invest in what works." Well, if that’s true, every piece of education spending– totaling a whopping $150 billion– in the mammoth stimulus bill should fall by the wayside.

But isn’t education one of the best public investments we could possibly make? After all, doesn’t spending on education give our students the skills and knowledge they need not just to spur economic recovery, but long-term growth?

No. More and better education may indeed be a good thing, but government spending doesn’t give us that. What it gives us is more waste..



All the President’s Tax Cheats

By Michelle Malkin

You never get a second chance to make a first post-inaugural impression. Less than three weeks into his first 100 days, Barack Obama has left an indelible mark on his nascent presidency: the mark of incompetence and hubris. Despite the administration’s much-touted wealth of bright minds and high bars, the transition has been a complete disaster.

In a double whammy on Tuesday, tax troubles and ethical clouds forced the withdrawal of not one but two high-profile Obama nominees. These come on the heels of former Commerce Secretary-nominee Bill Richardson’s withdrawal due to a pay-for-play probe in New Mexico and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s "tax goofs" involving his failure to pay $43,000 in federal self-employment taxes for four separate years — until, that is, he was nominated for the Treasury post. Thorough vetting, it seems, is an inconvenient process — a pesky "distraction," if you will — in the Land of Hope and Change.



Obama’s Dangerous Bank Bailout

Team Obama is wrestling internally over the bank bailout supposedly to be introduced next week. We naturally are on the edge of our seats.

But let’s understand something: The taxpayer already stands behind the banking system, and is on the hook for its losses in one sense or another. Moreover, that guarantee has become more and more explicit in recent months — which is not an unmixed blessing, since such explicitness has tended to create new uncertainty among those stakeholders not specifically included in the safety net.

The main uncertainty lately has been whether the safety net includes bank shareholders as well as depositors and creditors. That uncertainty is why we have crazy gyrations in bank share prices, and yet don’t have bank runs. Citigroup’s shareholders only account these days for a measly $20 billion, in a bank with liabilities of $2 trillion — yet market speculation over their fate has seemed to be driving government actions.



Well, That Was Fast: Obama Comes Down to Earth

By MAUREEN DOWD

On 9/11, President Bush learned of disaster while reading “The Pet Goat” to grade-school kids. On Tuesday, President Obama escaped from disaster by reading “The Moon Over Star” to grade-school kids.

“We were just tired of being in the White House,” the two-week-old president, with Michelle at his side, explained to students at a public charter school near the White House.

Even as he told the children his favorite superheroes were Batman and Spider-Man, his own dream of being the superhero who swoops in to swiftly save America was going SPLAT!

It just ain’t that easy.



Conyers to oppose Cobo deal

Council president to propose measure against expansion of center, transfer to authority.
Christine MacDonald / The Detroit News

DETROIT — A spokeswoman for Council President Monica Conyers says she will try to sink the $288 million expansion of Cobo Center, despite what appears to be general support for the deal among her colleagues.

"The deal really doesn’t benefit the city," said Denise Tolliver, a spokeswoman for Conyers, who said her boss is preparing a resolution opposing the transfer of the city-owned facility to a new regional authority. Tolliver said Conyers doesn’t think the $20 million Detroit stands to gain from the deal is enough for the city’s long-term investment in the convention center.

But George Jackson, the head of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, said he disagrees, citing an additional $12 million to $16 million a year the financially struggling city will save in subsidies it has had to earmark for the facility.



GM to offer buyouts to all hourly employees

By DAN STRUMPF
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — General Motors Corp. will offer buyouts to all of its hourly employees, a spokesman confirmed Tuesday, as the troubled automaker continues to slash costs.

GM spokesman Tony Sapienza said the buyouts will mainly target GM’s 22,000 retirement-eligible hourly employees, though any union employee can take the offer.

News of the buyouts first broke on Monday. A union official told The Associated Press then that GM would offer $20,000 in cash and a $25,000 car voucher for workers who retire early and those who simply leave the company. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because workers were not yet notified of the packages.


North Korea Reminds Obama: We’re a Trouble Spot Too

By Bill Powell

If Barack Obama thought a change at the White House might ease a few of the outstanding problems left to him by George W. Bush, North Korea, for one, isn’t playing along — and that should surprise no one. Pyongyang is again demonstrating that it’s a bipartisan pain in the neck. Whether you’re a hawk professing your "loathing" for Kim Jong Il, the dictator who presumably still runs Pyongyang, or a dove who wants to extend hands across the water, North Korea has already made clear that nothing has changed as far as it’s concerned. In the past week, South Korean military sources have said that Pyongyang has moved a long-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead into test position; should a launch follow — and South Korean sources say they now expect one in the next month or two — it would be the most provocative act the North has taken since it tested a nuclear weapon in fall 2006. Furthermore, Pyongyang announced late last week that it will no longer recognize any political or military agreements struck with Seoul, including a border demarcation in the so-called West Sea, where there have been two bloody clashes between the North and South in the past decade.

Analysts in Seoul believe North Korea is trying to send messages to three audiences at the same time. The first is its own people, who need to be reassured at a time when rumors continue to circulate about the health of their Dear Leader, who foreign intelligence agencies believe had a stroke last summer. Like his father before him, Kim Jong Il rules on the strength of "symbolic capability," says Song Dae-sung, president of the Sejong Institute, a South Korean think tank. "North Korea idolizes a single leader. Kim Jong Il’s bad health and leaflets being sent by anti-North Korea NGOs in the South to the North Korean people are undermining the solidity of the ruling system." Song says heightened tension between the two Koreas helps to strengthen "the internal solidarity of [Kim Jong Il’s] regime." (See the doctored pictures of Kim Jong Il after his reported illness.)