Jennifer Granholm is perhaps years away from that point in time when school districts in her adopted state will be able to afford new Michigan history books lauding her Gubernatorial legacy. She has, after all, presided over a state mired in a recession through nearly all of her years on the Michigan throne and consequently the districts are broke.
Certainly this cannot be her legacy. She knows a lot better.
It would not be fair to blame all of Michigan's many problems on Granholm though some have tried to do so.
She is certainly not to blamed for Michigan's long history of adversarial relations between big labor and big business. She is not the person who sat in the business boardrooms negotiating suicidal labor pacts with unionized industry. She is also not to be blamed for all of the crazy regulations that have been placed on our major industry by denizens of the DC swamp. She did not put into place all of the burdensome regulations and taxes that have made Michigan a difficult place for businesses to relocate to, expand in, or in which to be born.
Yet, during her many years in office she has in philosophy and in practice encouraged a continuation of all the economical negatives that predated her reign. She has consistently come down on the side of expanding regulations and greater taxation that has served to cripple business and job growth.
If Michigan's economy were an orchestra she would be the conductor coaxing ever more discordant screeching from the string section. Granholm is a believer in big government's ability to mold an economy into one that is at once robust and socially conscious. After seven bumbling years in her quest to achieve these goals she is left to ponder how her legacy will be perceived in the future.
"I know that I won't be able to cut the ribbon on the new economy that we are building the foundation for. But I hope people see at least that we are moving Michigan into entirely new ground," she told the Michigan Public Radio Network on Friday. "It's not anything that anyone could come in and wave a wand for and do overnight."As the governor so patronizingly points out, we lowly and one-dimensional citizens cannot see the solid foundation on which she has built this state's economy because all we plebs can see is that pesky unemployment rate. (And perhaps plummeting income, declining property values, blight, closed prisons, laid off policemen, stricken schools, and an occasion outbound U-Haul.)
The Democratic governor said she hopes the move to more businesses connected to alternative energy, homeland security and defense and biotechnology will allow the state to rebuild its shattered economy. Michigan has been in a slump for the past decade, and took an especially heavy hit last year as the domestic auto industry dramatically downsized.
The state unemployment rate of 14.1 percent is well above the national average.
"I know people don't see the steps that I see or the planks of this new foundation that have been laid, because of course the unemployment rate is still so high," Granholm said. "You're not going to be able to see the full benefit of it by the time we leave office. ... But I believe that will occur."
Yet, it wasn't so many years ago that Granholm boasted that Michiganders would be "blown away" by the advances of her vision and, while she is less specific as to when the blowing away will occur, it appears she is still clinging to that mantra.
That day of success will be welcomed by all. Provided, of course, that the rest of us haven't already packed up and moved to other states that errantly pursued worse visions over the past seven years and, as a consequence, have businesses that are hiring.