Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Granholm Featured in WaPo OpEd Column Today

See E.J. Dionne Jr.--Who's for Big Government

His point is that even though the big government versus small government rhetoric abounds at the state level, conservatives are willing to support big government programs if their constituents will benefit.
"Could there be any more of a big-government endeavor than the invasion of Iraq, pursued by a president from the party of small government? Do the domestic spying programs have anything to do with a small-government agenda?"
Well, no.

And there is always the farm bill.
"In the meantime, the coalition against excessive government entanglement in the farm economy crisscrossed all ideological boundaries, running from Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) to Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.).

Kind's amendment to reform the farm program attracted an admirable band of supporters, including some of the most liberal and most conservative members of the House. Yet it was overwhelmingly voted down because a slew of farm-state conservatives uncharacteristically joined the Democratic leadership in opposing it.

Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) said Kind's proposal "rips out the safety net for American farmers and ranchers." At last: a safety net many conservatives love. Democratic leaders, for their part, opposed Kind because they wanted an electoral safety net for their vulnerable members from farming districts."
Interesting, common ground among the very liberal and the very conservative.

Finally, to Granholm. On the issue of government provided health care, Granholm says that business leaders recognize such programs give competitive advantage to manufacturers in other countries.
"Shrewd industrialists who love the free-enterprise system have noticed how 'countries that have big-government health care' are at a competitive advantage, Granholm said in a telephone interview, and 'they're asking government to help them out.'"
Granholm also speaks to changing sentencing guidelines, as a way to help with budget woes.

Sadly, our partisan bickering and posturing over the budget and taxes has attracted national attention.
"Posturing on taxes will probably continue until very close to Michigan's fall budget deadline. But because the trade-offs between taxes and spending are clear, politicians can't afford to be too rhetorical."

All eyes are on you, Michigan legislature.

Finally, Granholm advocates investing in people through education and healthcare for the sake of our economy.
"Granholm argues that the United States is 'never going to be the cheapest place to do business,' in part because of its high labor and environmental standards relative to many of the emerging economies. She suggests that improving the country's competitive position will require 'investing in education, higher education and health care.'"
Right, we have standards for goodness sake! Let's not abandon standards that support a clean environment or educated citizens or fairly compensated workers. Sure, ditching those costly policies and regulations has seduced vast numbers of manufacturers to move abroad. After all, shareholders want better returns on investment and nobody likes a bear market.

Making commitments to invest in people will require a longterm perspective--a stretch for those focused on quarterly profits or election cycles.