Nov 12, 2008

See Dick not run, not, not, not

The 2010 Michigan Governor's race will have two new names after Republican loser in 2006 Dick DeVos announced in an email that will not run.

"I have concluded that my ability to impact the future of Michigan will be more significant at this time from outside government, instead of inside." He said in his email.

His billons of inherited dollars ensured the nomination was his if he wanted it. That cleared the way for speculation on who will run from the GOP side. Attorney General Mike Cox is the only one who officially has formed a committee to run. His ties to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Cox's admitted infidelity make him suspect.

Other possible candidates mentioned include U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Howell, and Sen. Valde Garcia, R-Howell, and Sen. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester.

The biggest drawback to DeVos dropping out is we will not be able to see that cool cartoon called "See Dick Run."


Anonymous said...

Yes, thank GOD DeVos didn't win. Thank GOD we got four more years of Jennifer Granholm. Just think what horrible shape Michigan would be in without Jennifer Granholm running things.

Communications guru said...

It's nice to see we agree on something. The only good DeVos could have done was to spend those millions of inherited dollars on new cars in order to keep Michigan's largest employer from teetering on bankruptcy and cutting massive numbers of jobs across the country. He also could have used those millions on the financial bailout that has thrown the country into a recession and on the brink of a depression.

No governor has a lot of tools to affect the economy because they can't effect monetary or trade policy, but Gov. Granholm is the first governor to actually try and diversify Michigan's economy in the face of a national recession. She also has had to deal with years of tax cuts with very little, if any, corresponding cuts in spending.

Anonymous said...

And why aren't there any cuts in spending? Because the governor won't live within her means. And she won't stand up to the constituencies that put her in office.

She's not responsible for the state of the economy. But she is responsible for the sorry state of state government.

Communications guru said...

You will have to ask John Engler about that. This governor has had to cut more in spending than perhaps any governor in Michigan history.

Since 1994 and Proposal A, Michigan has enacted tax cuts that have reduced revenue $3.2 billion a year. Taxes have been cut 30 times since 1993, and we are more than competitive with other states in base tax rates. After 15 years of tax cuts, including drops in property and income tax rates, Michigan families have seen their state tax bills decrease by as much as a fourth.

As for this sorry “state of state government, “I have no idea what you are talking about. We had more state employees in 1973 than we have now, and we have a million more residents. Under former Republican Gov. Bill Milliken we had 52,673 state employees. In 2000 under former Republican Gov. John Engler there were 61,493 state employees. In 2006 there were only 52,255 employees.

Anonymous said...

But you ignore the fact that state spending was up 3 percent this year, even though school spending was flat. And the number of employees is somewhat bogus, given that they are replaced with contract employees. What's the total head count? And what's the total expenditure?

Also, Dems like to call things "cuts" when in reality they are increases that aren't as big as they wanted.

Anonymous said...

And you ignore the fact the some think their should be stronger laws against those who sexually abuse those who are not yet adults.

Anonymous said... bad...their should b there.

ka_Dargo_Hussein said...

Oh, like Mark Foley.


Communications guru said...

I’m not ignoring the “fact” that “state spending was up 3 percent this year” I’m not sure it’s true. School districts got an increase in per pupil foundation grant in this budget and last, so I don’t know how flat it was. Granted, it’s not keeping up with the cost of living, fuel and other increased cots, but it’s an increase none the less.

The number of state employees is accurate. What's the total head count? In 2006 there were only 52,255 employees. If you have another number, please supply it. I stand by my number. Those numbers come from the 12-person, bipartisan Emergency Financial Advisory Panel - made up of two former governors and state budget directors, legislative leaders and longtime Lansing policy experts from both political parties - that issued its final 20-page report in Feb 2007.

The fact is that this Governor has cut nearly $3 billion in state spending to resolve more than $4 billion in budget shortfalls - more than any other governor in the state's history.

Anonymous said...

They call it a shortfall, but what it means is that revenue didn't grow as fast as they wanted it to. For the gov to make her claims of reduced revenue, she has to rely on inflactionary numbers. When you consider raw numbers, every year she has had more money to work with than the previous year. It is hard, I admit, to make ends meet if your revenue doesn't match inflation...but it's not impossible. It IS impossible if you assume inflationary growth is a god-given right to expense and then add costs on top of it. There is hardly a governrment--Republican or Democrat-- that wants to make hard priority decisions. Rather they want to fund everything that used to be funded, give it all at least an inflationary boost, then add new programs to entice their constituency. But where does the revenue come from? The taxpayer and private enterprise. Even under robust economic growth, it's hard to finance such a government. But when times are tough, it's impossible.

When Granholm entered office, the state already had a stark structural budget imbalance. She's done little to deal with that (nor has the legislature, nor has either party). So we are pretty much in the same position we were in when she took office...only worse because our private sector is worse off.

She didn't cause at all the downtown in the private sector. I totally agree. But she has made it clear that rather than providing leadership, her main job is to keep paychecks flowing to state union employees. That's her constituency and she takes care of them. But she isn't dealing with the major state government problems...just complaining about them even while she contributes to them.

Communications guru said...

After facing budget deficits since the day she took office in 2003, the Governor has faced budget shortfalls. Last year she faced a $3 billon budget deficit. There’s no way you can spin that any other way. “Add new programs to entice their constituency?” How about pending money to keep up the infrastructure to attract investment and jobs and keeping up quality of life to attract investment and jobs? The governor has done more than any other governor to address the state’s problems.

Where do you get this crap “her main job is to keep paychecks flowing to state union employees?” Again, we have less state employees than we had in 1973, despite a larger population. These state employees you bash for daring to want to make a living wage are doing more with less.

In fact, a new wage and benefit analysis between state employees and those in the private sector shows Michigan workers tend to earn less than their private sector counterparts, particularly when college degrees are factored in, and state employees are paying a greater share of their health care costs than in the private sector.

As for the number of state employees, it’s less than I said. There were about 52,000 state employees in 2007, according to the report by the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency, 16 percent lower since 2001. The largest group of state employees works for the Department of Corrections.

Here’s a link:

Anonymous said...

Where's the link that shows public employees make less than comparable private sector employees? I would like to see that.

Communications guru said...

See above for the link.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'll look at it. But if it's a self-serving study that proves that state employees deserve more money, I might be a bit skeptical.

You seem to have a problem with basic financial issues. Of course there is a deficit. That's what I've been saying. There has been a structural deficit for years. Political so-called leaders on both sides have failed to address it.

A deficit budget doesn't have to mean that your revenues are decreasing. It just means that expenses are greater than revenues. That can be true if revenues are increasing, flat or decreasing. Likewise, you can actually have a positive budget with declining revenue. It's hard but businesses do it all the time, especially lately.

I'm not saying that government is like a business. Business can seek new lines of growth, or cut unprofitable lines. Government has services it needs to provide. But government needs to determine what are the basic services that it must prioritize and then fund those so they run as efficiently as possible. Most governments including the state don't do that. Classic examples are departments who seek, say, a 7 percent hike; they get a 3 percent hike...and they call it a cut.

Michigan is actually spending more money this year than it did last year. It doesn't have as much money as it wants; but it has enought to meet basic's just that the state wants to meet every need, especially those needs that fill employee paychecks.

I have nothing against state employees making a good wage. If only for selfishi reasons. If they are working and making good wage, they might buy my products. But the state still needs to live within its budget and it's repeatedly proven that it won't/can't do that. Michigan isn't a particularly high-tax state, but it's not a low-tax state either. Taxes are high enough to provide quality services, but the state (particularly Democrats) see tax hikes as the only solution.

I really have nothing against tax hikes. But we just had a tax hike and still the state gov't doesn't have enought money. The gov is talking about taking money back from the schools. So the tax hike really wasn't much help for education.

Yes, the auto industry collapse takes its toll. But the answer is not to raise taxes. The answer is to use existing tax dollars wisely. That requires hard decisions...the type of decisions that business is making every day.

Communications guru said...

First, you asked for the link. Second, how do you reach the conclusion it’s “self-serving?” The HFA is nonpartisan to help the legislature make decisions. Your conclusion is wrong, troll; Gov. Granholm is the only one who has had to address this structural deficit. It’s been tough with a Senate that’s notorious for being obstructionist.

Anonymous said...

It's been tough, and she's failed at it. Someone tries to make a decent argument with you and you still resort to name-calling...that's one reason why your arguments are suspect. Another is that you admittedly make up allegations and then find flimsy reasons to justify your lies.

But through it all, you basically admit that the governor has been unable to deal with the structural deficit. You try to blame others..the obstructionist Senate..but the result is the same; she failed.

Communications guru said...

What name did I call you? You are an anonymous troll. That is an accurate description. Are you denying that? Of course I “make up allegations.” All allegations are made up, but the ones I “make up are accurate.” I have never lied on this blog.

What exactly is a “structural deficit?” I have heard that buzz word thrown around, but it has no real meaning. This governor has had to make more cuts in spending than any governor in history, and she is the only governor to ever try and diversify the state’s economy to that of just auto manufacturing. If I were to make a guess on this so-called structural deficit, what she is doing would be the closest thing to it.

Yes, the obstructionist Senate. I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but in our form of government, the three braches of government are equal.

Anonymous said...

You really go public and say you don't understand what a structural deficit is? Amazing. You really don't have a clue, do you?

Anonymous said...

You hold Granholm blameless, but her unwillingness to address structural issues is part of the problem...and it is because she won't take on her core constituencies, even at the expense of the state's future. I hardly call that leadership.

One example: the unfunded school pension obligation has grown from $4 billion to $10 billion since she became governor. That's a ticking time bomb that will further crush our taxpayers at the expense of public education and other necessary services. There are ways to address this while still providing retirement plans for teachers, but Granholm won't touch them. She'll be out of office when the bill comes due. Convenient.

You generally ignore facts under the guise of needing a link. So try this one:

Warning: it's loaded with facts and requires some brainpower. I'm not sure it will be understood by someone who considers "structural deficit" to be only a buzzword.

Communications guru said...

Again, the Governor has made more cuts than any governor in Michigan history, and she is the only governor who has attempted to diversify the state’s economy. Do I hold her blameless? No, but she has done more than anyone to address the state’s problems.

Again, making more cuts and trying to diversify the economy qualifies as addressing the “structural issues.” Perhaps you can tell me who her “core constituencies” are, troll. Nice to see you provided a link for your claims for a change, but an opinion column using rightwing tool Robert Daddow doesn’t carry much weight.

I’m not sure if Daddow’s claims are true or not. The only information I can find on the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System is from 2005. However, it’s more accurate than your guy’s info because they don’t have an agenda. According to the nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency, “Although there always will be fluctuations in both the membership and the contribution rates among the State’s two largest retirement systems, it is safe to say that both systems remain sound and properly funded.”

As for your crack about the buzzword "structural deficit,” that just means a budget deficit when the spending is too high for prevailing tax levels. That’s no different from any other budget deficit.

Anonymous said...

Among her core constituencies are the Michigan Education Association and virtually all state employee groups.

It's amazing. You probably see yourself as open minded and tolerant, but you are a raging bigot. Someone makes an argument you don't like and you label the guy and thus dismiss what he says. Is it fair, then , to dismiss anything a liberal says without judging its content?

Communications guru said...

Are you serious, troll? I’m a bigot because I question your source, and I prefer a nonpartisan source over a partisan one? That is so ridiculous. Amazing? Are you telling me you don’t “dismiss anything a liberal says without judging its content?”

I guess when you have nothing you attack the messenger. That’s why for 40 years we have had this “liberal media” lie.

With Gov. Granholm’s margin of victory, her core constituencies are far more than “the Michigan Education Association and virtually all state employee groups.”

Anonymous said...

Do you ever read your comments before you post them? You are the one who judges content based on the messenger. Rather than debate the content of an argument, you brand the person as a rightwinger and dismiss his comment.

You love to challenge assertions that were never made. I never said she didn't win by a large margin. She did. I did say her core constituencies are the MEA and state employee groups. Do you deny that?

And, as a matter of fact, I don't dismiss items based on who said them. Surely I'm aware of the spin a source might give...but I try to learn from both Republicans and Democrats...liberals and conservatives.

Back when she ran for office, Granholm didn't say anything about the state's dire economic condition, even though one candidate tried to bring it up constantly. (Posthumous was not better, by the way, so save me that rant.)

Now you say she inherited this mess. Okay, was she so clueless that she didn't know what she was doing when she ran for office? Or was she purposely deceptive.

Look, facts are facts. Whether she inherited a bad deal or not, she has been governor now for more than 6 years. It's her (and our problem) problem now. Your best argument (an obstructionist Senate) is that she isn't very effective. I agree.

Communications guru said...

No, of course I don't read my comments before I post them. They just fly out of my fingers and go on the page and appear magically.

Calling me a bigot because I prefer a nonpartisan source over a partisan source just blows your argument out of the water.

What I did was called impeaching a source. Its' a common, accepted debate tactic that has been used for hundreds of years, and it's also used in court trials. My source is more creditable than yours. Yes, I deny "her core constituencies are the MEA and state employee groups," and as proof I offered her large margin of victory. There is no way she wins by that large a margin with just those groups backing her. I accept the majority of MEA members support her, but claiming the "state employee groups" – whoever they are – is her 'core constituencies" is a stretch.

"Back when she ran for office, Granholm didn't say anything about the state's dire economic condition?" Not true.

Again, how can the governor be responsible for the states' largest employer losing market share and shedding jobs. I saw a graphic on the news recently during the talk of the auto bailout, and the Big 3 employ more people in Michigan than in any other state in the union. Losing all of those jobs will have a serous ripple effect here. In fact, it already has. Has she been effective, yes, especially with the limited tools a governor, any governor, has available to them.

Anonymous said...

So...when she ran for governor the first time, what exactly did the governor say when she warned us about the state's dire economic condition? I don't recall her saying that, but since you are a stickler for sources, I'm sure you can back it up.

Otherwise, you are just a biased, partisan hack who, by your own admission, shouldn't be believed.

Communications guru said...

I'm not sure what the relevance of what she said in 2002 is, but here's the best I can do trying to find something that happened six years ago. This is from the first debate, according to MIRS. I would provide a link, but it's by subscription only.

"We have a structural deficit in the state of Michigan. That means we have cut revenue, but we have not cut expenditures. So we have gone from a $1.2 billion surplus to a $1 billion budget deficit. The question is, who will be able to fund the priorities that protect our families and education our kids without going back to the taxpayers?

So here's what I've proposed doing, just like you would at your own home — tighten your belt, the government has got to do the same thing. We will tighten up to 5 percent in all of the General Fund areas. I, too, want to hold education harmless, but it is critical that we put people in place as heads of departments who will be able to take our, my, blueprint for government.

And when I say that, I'm talking about a document that is on our web site at granholmforgov, which is 78 pages, 250 points, 10 chapters that talks about how important it is to fund our priorities that protect our families and educate our kids. "

I'm not a hack, but I am biased. I have never "admitted I can't be believed." You go right ahead and not believe me, but it seems you have to disprove what I'm saying and prove it's false. You haven't, and you can't.

Anonymous said...

Odd...when I used the term "structural deficit," you dismissed it as a "buzz word" with "no real meaning."

But when you defend the governor, you pull a debate from six years ago that begins with, "We have a structural deficit in the state of Michigan."

So your defense of the governor is that when it comes to fiscal policy, she relies on buzzwords with no real meaning.

Communications guru said...

I still hold that view, thank you. All it means is a budget deficit where revenue is less than spending. Obviously, I'm not as smart as you, troll, but how is that different from any other deficit?

You keep twisting it farther and farther away from the original post, and you continue to find some little side issue to attack me with that means nothing. You claimed, "Back when she ran for office, Granholm didn't say anything about the state's dire economic condition, even though one candidate tried to bring it up constantly."

Odd, I proved you were wrong again, but instead of admitting that, you jump on some little point that I already explained.