Michigan has been a leading state in the past decade—a leading state in showing the rest of America how not to respond to economic downturns. With unemployment over 15% now, it is safe to say that the political populism of the Granholm era and otherwise hasn't worked out too well. Raising minimum wage to $7.15 in 2007 didn't help employment. Horribly designed tax incentives that didn't cut taxes but rather gave money away through credits or distorted the market with politically designed slices have been an anvil around the the state's neck. And the bailouts for the Big Three—state and federal—have only artificially increased the cost of labor.
Now my home state has a new idea... continue the practices of the old ideas. A new set of ballot initiatives would:
- Increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour for all workers;
- Impose a blanket moratorium on home foreclosures for 12 months;
- Cut utility bills by 20 percent across the board;
- Require all employers to provide health care to employees and their dependents; and
- Increase by $100 a week—and extending for six months—unemployment benefits, while expanding eligibility.
Seriously, I can do little more than palm my forehead and try to shut out the ridiculousness with darkness. When if comes to what this would do to businesses in the Wolverine state, these proposals would be the equivalent of setting someone one fire after you have kicked them after you have knocked them down.