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Michigan's Disastrous Economy is...Engler's Fault?

Each week a physical therapist from our school system comes to our house to provide physical therapy assistance to my four year daughter. She's a very nice lady and I appreciate her help, but I have to say she has drunk way too much liberal kool-aid. We entered into a brief discussion about the mass exodus of high earning, educated people from the state who can't find jobs. I expressed dismay that the governor and legislature weren't doing more to help what small businesses were left in the state but were instead trying to enact more policies that would squeeze them even further. The physical therapist also expressed dismay at what is going on, too, but rather than acknowledging the failures of the current administration, she actually said, "well, you know, Engler laid the ground work for this because when he was governor he slashed all kinds of programs." Her comments were convoluted but I got her message: it's John Engler's fault.

It's 2009. Engler left office in 2003, over six years ago. Sadly, the physical therapist can't accept that any of the problems facing Michigan today could possibly be the fault of Granholm's and her liberal allies' anti-business policies. No way. They had to be the Republican's fault, even if he hasn't been in office for more than six years.

This shift the blame mentality is common among liberals because Barack Obama is blaming Bush for his economy.


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Comments (21)

I blamed Bush for my hangov... (Below threshold)

I blamed Bush for my hangover on Sunday morning.

It's cathartic, if perhaps slightly unfair to the poor guy.

Remember that leftism is a ... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

Remember that leftism is a religious faith. Understand this, and much will become clear.

One reason it loves isssues involving Native peoples the world over is that they represent an Edenic state of grace. Try to get a leftist to agree that Native Americans, aborigines, Inuit, etc are just as capable as we are of committing murder, torturing enemies, raping the environment, driving animals to extinction, etc. Watch them jam fingers into their ears ... "la la la I am not listening.... la la la". They are pure and unsullied, thus this is not possible.

This "state of grace" was of course ruined by rapacious Western Civilization, the original sinners themselves. The tool of their sin? Western science and technology, i.e the tree of knowledge.

Having "fallen from grace", the only way to salvation (for those who have purged God from their lives) is to viciously attack that sinful civilization, root and branch, in the quest for some sort of "heaven" upon this earth, instead of the current noxious hell of a world, where someone like George W. Bush could be elected president, for example.

Note how both Christian and Muslim history is prominently littered with "self-flagellants", people who practice a genuine masochism, finding spiritual relief in causing themselves great pain and physical damage. (The leftist, of course, transfers this to their society as a whole, while shielding themselves personally from the pain they so determinedly set out to foist upon their fellow countrymen. But it is the same dynamic.)

Note also (as Michael Crichton has), how the global warming movement fits this pattern to a tee. Any question at all why it would be adopted lock, stock and barrel by the left?

No, you arguing with a faith. Try convincing Pat Robertson that Christ was not divine, or never existed. Try convincing an Imam that Mohammed was a nut case driven mad by a blistering desert sun. The only question is, will they laugh at your ignorance, pity you for lack of salvation, or react violently to your as an infidel.

That doesn't leave much hope in fighting it, I am afraid, and it must be fought, eternally.

But I am beyond ever being surprised by the willful blindness of it all. The Rev. Jim Jones would understand this better than I.


Michael Crichton - Environmentalism as Religion

I see in the weekly unemplo... (Below threshold)

I see in the weekly unemployment report that unemployment in the Detroit area is now 17.2%.

Ask the lady how that stimulus bill is working out for her so far.

Well, I expected Engler to ... (Below threshold)

Well, I expected Engler to FIX things and he didn't. So in that sense it is his fault for not going far enough when he had the chance. Of course, he would have needed a State Legislature that was not drinking Kool Aid, and they have been all high for decades.

First, I've worked in the s... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

First, I've worked in the social assistance field since Blanchard (the Gov. before Engler) and Engler did nothing but good. He didn't "slash" ANY programs. He slashed millions of dollars of waste. I was working for a private, non-profit but totally government funded agency at the time that employed 45 people. We were "slashed" 10 people and not only was their no interruption in services, but we actually get a lot more done because 75% of our resources were no longer being waisted.

Second, if we had a fair and honest press in the country perhaps someone, somewhere, somehow, might ask:

"Given the fact that the ecomony was extremely strong, the deficit was contunously shrinking, and tax revenues were at record levels when you personally, and the rest of your party came to power in Congress, coupled with, as constitutional scholar, you should understand the fact that it is Congress, not the President who ultimately determines and approves of all the expenditures of this government; isn't it slightly disingenuous to claim you "inherited" this economy when you in fact were in control of and in favor of most of what caused these problems?"

I need an addendum to my fi... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

I need an addendum to my first sentence in #4: with respect to government involvement in that feild.

I wasn't commenting on his entire tenure, although I don't think he did a bad job. Maybe he didn't fix everything everyone wanted, but he did point a lot of things in the right direction.

As an interesting study into the right vs. left mindset, before Engler took office Michigan's government social assistance agency was called the Department of Social Service. Enger changed it to the Family Independence Agency and changed their mandate to focus on getting people off of public assistance whenever possible. Then we elected the Canadian and she promply changed the name (to the Department of Human Services) and the mandate.

Opps. I meant "my first se... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Opps. I meant "my first sentence in #5". D'oh.

I also forgot to add that b... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

I also forgot to add that before Engler Michigan's nickname was "the welfare wonderland".

O.k. I'm done now. Sorry 'bout that.

The comments here border on... (Below threshold)

The comments here border on the ludicrous. The idea that Obama is somehow responsible for the economy because he was a senator - while Bush was president and his party controlled the government for some 8 years - is really hysterical. Get real. Bush was a failure as a president, a complete joke. He about destroyed the country and you right wing nuts cannot even face up to this simple, obvious reality. Real conservatives acknowledge this. Government spending exploded on his watch and to suggest he had no control over that is insane. He did. And he failed to exert it. The funny thing was what the spendign went on: while Democrats' pork barrel nonsense went to health clinics and highways, etc., it's funny to see how Republicans got millions for their little projects - golf courses and country clubs. Ha, I laugh at anyone making less than $75,000 a year who votes Republican. You are seriously missing the boat, pal. Dudes are taking your money and handing it to their rich friends.

As for Michigan's economy, does anyone think that "anti-business" laws really took down GM and Chrysler et al? Seriously? That's a completely delusional idea. What laws are you talking about? Minimum mileage requirements have not changed in years, thanks to the Republicans (in hindsight, might have forced Detroit to catch up to the Japanese!). So, it wasn't that. There were no new safety regulations that came into effect in recent years. So, I'm just very curious what laws we are talking about. And does anyone think that Michigan's economy is really NOT doing badly because of what has happened to the car industry? And what is causing your delusions on that? Michigan's economy is dominated by the car industry - it easily is the largest employer and source of revenue in the state. Don't just look at GM's numbers; there are thousands of small businesses that supply GM and the others all their parts, etc. These guys have gone under and you can't blame that on the governor, no matter how you cut it. Michigan has bent over backward for the car industry for years, extending credits, etc. It just delayed the inevitable. Detroit has not been competitively producing cars for at least a decade (except maybe SUVs; when gas prices go up, guess what, people don't buy SUVs). Ultimately, that's a big part of Detroit's problems: simply producing a competitive product. If you don't have a winning product, there's only so much government can do to help you out (didn't the Russians confirm that for everyone, say, about 20 years ago?). And then a national recession hits. Guess what? People stop buying things, starting with expensive things. There's not much anyone can do about that - it's called the business cycle. Downturns are normal, unavoidable. Economics 101 anyone? How about stop moaning and do something about it - like help out entrepreneurs, invest in education, rebuild the infrastructure, - until things start going again? Why are people so crazily convinced that this recession is "unlike any other" that have occurred over the past 1,000 years?

Michigan can be proud that it has never succumbed to the partisan rancor that has really killed progress in other states. So, I could care less whether Engler or Granholm or whoever is in charge. Most people in Michigan do not care about these labels - this is a fact. You nuts would all do us a big favor if you forgot about the party labels, too. I ask you to consider it. What is needed is good old fashioned American pragmatism. It has helped us out of most of our problems. We don't need ideology, we need ideas. Your old thinking - that ideology makes the world tick - is simply retarding progress. Do you think the guys who invented google thought about the politics of their invention first? Hardly. They worked out how to make their idea work and how to sell it. They probably didn't think about whether it was conservative or liberal until some nut job came along and told him that it mattered. It doesn't. So grow up.

I like how lefty sheeple th... (Below threshold)

I like how lefty sheeple thing that a strong economy is something that comes about from "government programs".

People get the government they deserve. They deserve this one; I just hope I outlive them all so I can piss on their graves.

The idea that Obama is s... (Below threshold)
Occam's Beard:

The idea that Obama is somehow responsible for the economy because he was a senator - while Bush was president and his party controlled the government for some 8 years - is really hysterical.

Straw man alert. No one said Obama is responsible for the economy because he was a Senator. He's responsible for creating uncertainty now that impedes recovery. Who would lend money to any unionized company, for example, and risking getting GM'ed?

Furthermore, Democrats, not Republicans, controlled Congress between 2006 and 2008. As you may be (or more probably, are not) aware, Congress is responsible for legislation (including the budget); the President can only make requests of the Congress. (High school civics - gotta love it!)

Given your poor showing on factual knowledge and reasoning ability, I declined to waste my time reading the rest of your comment.

" Michigan can be proud tha... (Below threshold)

" Michigan can be proud that it has never succumbed to the partisan rancor that has really killed progress in other states"

Gotta love that progress in Detroit. LOLOL

joe, as pointed out before,... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

joe, as pointed out before, under Bush and a Republican Congress, the economy grew, and the deficits were shrinking, even with a war on.

The Democrats take Congress, and the economy suffered. Now it suffers even worse under a Democrat President.

How you can type such a load of garbage in vain defense of the Democrats is beyond any reasonable person.

Re: Government spending ex... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

Re: Government spending exploded on his watch and to suggest he had no control over that is insane. He did. And he failed to exert it.

So does this mean there should be control over spending?? Many would argue that this issue is one reason why the Democrats triumphed in 2006 (thus giving them control of Congress for the last 2 1/2 years... hello).

Is such control over spending good or bad? If it is bad, then Bush should be lauded for ot doing it. If it is desirable to control spending.... well... the less said about the current administration, the better, I suppose.

So which is it?

Who would lend money to a u... (Below threshold)

Who would lend money to a unionized car company? No lesser a figure than Pres. Ronald Reagan. He lent millions to Chrysler when it was about to go bankrupt.
As for high school civics - too bad you can't get beyond high school. Have you ever been to Washington? Do you really think the president of the United States has "no influence" on the budget that Congress passes? Such an idea is absolutely ludicrous. Please call your congressman and just ask the question: Does the president's view on the budget matter? You really are a simpleton if you think the answer is no. The president has enormous political capital.
As for deficits shrinking with a war on. That's quite revisionist and not even. Again, ask your congressman. War funding was not accounted for on the budget (check the history; it's fairly common to leave such spending items off of the federal budget, every president has done it). Do I really have to explain what billions more in spending does to your fantasy of a balanced budget under Bush? And you might want to check the numbers you're getting from Rove et al against the CBO's. I don't think you'll find there was a surplus in this country since about Sept. 2001. But keep trying. Your ideology is what is motivating you, not any practical views. And I'm not a lefty. I'm actually a Michigan Reagan Democrat. You will have to look that up, probably, but once you do, maybe you'll understand that a lot of us simply are tired of hearing "liberal this" and "conservative that" and "republican this" and "democrat that" etc. You are boring us with your simple thinking.

Lemme see, joe has demonst... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Lemme see, joe has demonstrated (1) that he has little understanding of how our government works, (2) that he's cluess as to which party had control over which part of our government at particular times in the past, (3) that he doesn't understand the implication of "off budget" with regard to the deficit, but (4) he can construct lots of straw men to "support" his invalid arguments.

Joe CluelessYou do... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Joe Clueless

You do Realize that spending bills originate in the HOUSE which the dems controlled since 2006 and have to pass through the Senate which the dems controlled until 2002 dont you

I mean that simple fact has not eluded your delusional thinking has it?

Bush can only sign bills once they make it through Congress. especially spending bills.

The economy started tanking while the DEMS were in control of the House. Franks and DODD protected Fanny and Freddie.

Try actually knowing facts prior to opening your mouth. Or better yet just shut up and try to learn something.

Joe, I have heard ... (Below threshold)
Rick Caird:


I have heard the left claim the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were not in the deficit because they were off budget. That is simply not true. They may not have been in the "budget deficit" when it was approved, but their costs are definitely in the national debt and the annual deficit. It is the annual deficit you see in all the charts. It is not the mythical budget deficit which is only an estimate of revenues and expenses to begin with.

When you look at any chart of the deficits during the Bush years, you can be sure Afghanistan and Iraq are included.


Joe,You wrote: "Wh... (Below threshold)
SER Author Profile Page:


You wrote: "Who would lend money to a unionized car company? No lesser a figure than Pres. Ronald Reagan. He lent millions to Chrysler when it was about to go bankrupt"

The first Chrysler bailout was signed by President Carter in early 1980. Reagan did not become president until 1981. I believe that you made an honest mistake, but before lecturing us, you might use this thing called "google." You referenced it in your previous post.

Reagan supported the Chrysl... (Below threshold)

Reagan supported the Chrysler bailout; I never said he signed it. This was widely reported on during his campaign - use your google again, pal. But you probably didn't get that far once you discovered that the idea originated in Carter's administration, did you? Circular views, my friend, just reinforcing your beliefs. And Chrysler did not actually get much of the money until Reagan was elected. So. Yes, Reagan was a very important supporter of the Chrysler bailout. And wisely so. It worked.

Retired Military: Your insults are quite funny. It's too bad you let my comments get you mad. Try spending more time in the park or something to calm yourself. The original comment I responded to was that the president did not influence spending. This is a ridiculous idea. Yes, Congress writes the bills. Do you think that means that the president does not influence them? And did you know that before Congress writes the budget, it receives the president's budget - and basically builds off of that? And that there is all sorts of horse-trading around the budget largely directed by the president's office? I mean, it's much easier for an executive to affect a budget process than a big group of people with various constituencies to satisfy. But I forgive you on not knowing this, because it rarely comes up on high school civics classes. The high school civics teachers I had never got into how it really works: they just presented the process as it is written on paper. I'll let you figure out how big a gap occurs between what's written and what actually occurs in real life. Hopefully, you are old enough to realize that the gaps are huge. If you doubt the president's influence, I suggest again that you talk to your congressman.

As for freddie and fannie, I hope one day to write more in-depth about the housing problems in the U.S. and their origin. At the end of the day, however, it's clear that all Americans hold some blame on this issue. The poor people who took out mortgages they couldn't afford, the brokers that egged them on with all sorts of assurances, the speculators who kept making the bubble bigger, the politicians who did not listen to the lawyers who saw this problem coming for years before it hit, the bankers who surely knew there was a problem but went along because, hell, who wouldn't for $25,000 commissions?, the wall street traders who repackaged it all and sold it (explains why they bought all that insurance from AIG! that's very telling, isn't it?), etc. No one is truly innocent in this game. Ideologues, of course, will try to pin it on their ideological enemies. But I saw this up close (worked on housing law in NYC for six years) and there is plenty of blame to go around, that's the truth. The reality is, we're lucky that there is a federal government to pump massive amounts of money into the economy - there would be an economic depression if Bush had not acted the way he did. The bankers certainly welcomed the money, but not just out of self-interest. If you like the idea of 25% unemployment and breadlines, then, OK, next time let's just let the bottom fall out...

Joe,I did use the ... (Below threshold)
SER Author Profile Page:


I did use the "google" thingy. And you were right! Reagan did say that changed his mind in October of 1980 on the Chrysler and NYC bailout. That was the month before the election and he was probably trying to pick up the votes of the Michigan "Reagan Democrats." Before that, he said he was "adamantly opposed." Either way, he "didn't lend money to a unionized car company." The funds were appropriated by congress and signed into law by President Carter. So it wasn't an honest mistake you made. You lied!

Why do you statists (Republican and Democrat) always want to rail against the evil corporations but then jump in to bail them out? You want to freeze the present economic circumstances. Life changes. If GM and Chrysler can't make cars that people want to buy, they should go out of business. If AIG buys CDO's without understanding the credit worthiness of the underlying mortgages, they deserve to lose. We don't need to rely on the government to save us. It has not done a very good job in any operation it tries to run. Would you live in a government housing project? Do you think that the public schools of the US are good? Why do you think that poor people want vouchers to send their children to private schools?

Look at the states with the most "helpful" governments: Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, etc. They are losing jobs and people in droves. Why is that? And now you statists want to do the same for the rest of the country.

In 1986, the price of oil went from over $20/barrel to $6/barrel. Houston was an oil town much of the same way that Detroit is a "car town" and the price decline was a disaster for Houston (I was trying to sell a house in Houston at the time). Five years later, without government intervention, Houston was back on track. There were over 11,000 software companies in Houston by 1991. 11,000. No government funding.

There are entrepreneurs alive today that will create new companies to provide the products services that the dinosaurs can not. Let the dinosaurs die. Let the new companies grow.






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