Monday, July 26, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
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Buildin a new economy
High-tech industries are vital to Michigan's future
F orget Silicon Valley - Michigan is poised to become the powerhouse
peninsulas of high-tech innovation and manufacturing. According
to a recent report by Anderson Economic Group, Michigan experi-
enced impressive growth from 2003-2007 in the advanced manufacturing
sector. But while this growth is indeed encouraging, the state's develop-
ment as a high-tech hub is being stifled by Lansing's misguided funding
priorities and poor economic management. In order to place the state back
on the path to prosperity, lawmakers should enact policies that will encour-
age high-tech companies to lay down roots in Michigan.
I have lived in Michigan my entire
life, and I've seen the good, the bad
and the ugly. In recent years, how-
ever, it's been downright repulsive.
I have grown to love Michigan and
want to stay here, but, given the,
state's current job market, I'm not so
sure I'll be able to. The only way to
ensure that I can do so is by voting in
a new leader that can create jobs and
turn our economy around.
And that is why I am voting for Rick
Snyder for Michigan's next governor.
Michigan's appeal has declined
considerably in recent years. Until
recently, the state has had the highest
unemployment rate of any state, hov-
ering around 5% above the national
average. In the last 10 years, Michi-
gan has lost over one million jobs.
When there are thriving cities with-
in five hours of my home, it doesn't
make sense for me to stay here. Chi-
cago, for example, is both reasonably
close and home to over 70,000 recent
Michigan State University and Uni-
versity of Michigan alumni. As a
University senior, the exciting urban
lifestyle of Chicago seems like a very
attractive option for me within the
next two years unless drastic change -
occurs in the Detroit ores.
Having all but lost hope in the state
in which I grew up, I started looking
into who is running to turn around
this giant financial blunder. Many
people who have been working their
entire lives have lost their jobs, and
the youth who choose to stay here
are thrust into an empty job market.
Without a major spurt of job creation
in the coming years, Michigan's eco-
nomic fate is doomed. Of the seven
candidates running for governor,
only one caught my attention with
a long-term plan to turn around our
economy: Republican Rick Snyder.
When I learned that Rick Snyder
was both a businessman and venture
capitalist who has made a career out
of creating jobs, I knew he should be
our next governor. His plans to make
Michigan more business-friendly
and to attract more high-tech jobs to
the state are exactly what we need
to turn.Michigan around. We're past
the time when we can depend on the
auto industry - there's simply too
much foreign competition. It's time
to move on to a new chapter, one in
which education and technology will
play a vital role.
Without major changes in our
political leadership, Michigan's econ-
omy won't recover, the population
will continue to fall and the vital-
ity of this great state will dwindle to
nothingness. Career politicians have
taught us again and again that they're
not to be trusted. Detroit's recent fias-
co with Kwame Kilpatrick highlights
the need for ethics and transparency
in government. With Rick Snyder as
governor, everything the government
does will be readily available for pub-
lic review and the government will be
much more citizen-friendly.
Rick Snyder is the best candidate
to reverse the consequences of this
economic recession. He has a vision
and a plan to run a results-oriented
government, as opposed to having
our legislators discuss the legality of
fireworks when we are in the middle
of an economic disaster. Instead of
putting a bandage on the problem to
"fix" Michigan, he wants to take our
state and reinvent it. He's a proven
job creator with a vision and a plan
to turn this state around - and give
me a reason to continue living in the
state I love.
Josh Arocho is an LSA senior.
He is currently an intern for Rick
Snyder's gubernatoria' campaign.
Commissioned by the Uni-
versity Research Corridor - a
partnership between the Univer-
sity of Michigan, Michigan State
University and Wayne State Uni-
versity - AEG's report found
that almost 400,000 Michi-
gan residents are employed by
approximately 11,000 advanced
manufacturing companies. More-
over, from 2003 to 2007, the most
recent data available, wages in
this industry grew by 12 percent
to become $23,000 higher than
workers in other fields.
Michigan's lesson from its
long-standing economic decline
is clear: The state desperately
needs a more diversified econo-
my. Michigan can't thrive when
its fortunes are inexorably tied
to the success of the auto indus-
try, the heyday of which ended
decades ago. The best hope for
the state's prosperity is a diverse
and modern economy based on
the ability to think and innovate.
That means that Michigan can't
just make things; it needs to be
the nucleus for the nation's devel-
opment of better things.
And the University Research
Corridor is an essential resource
driving the state along that path.
Michigan's public universities are
producing a skilled labor force,
planting the seeds of innovation
among the next generation of
job-creating entrepreneurs. The
advanced manufacturing growth
Michigan has seen is a tangible
result of university research, not
to mention another reminder to
the legislature of the importance
of its underfunded universities.
Yet the recent growth should
also remind those in Lansing
that Michigan is in an unrivaled
position to take the lead in com-
mercializing new technologies.
Complementing its strong uni-
versities, the state hasalarge pool
of currently unemployed laborers
trained for the manufacturing
sector along with wide swaths
of unused factories and ware-
houses. But the state government
needs to actively connect these
resources with nascent indus-
tries. Funding should be restored
to the No Worker Left Behind
program so that workers can be
retrained to meet the needs of
these growing companies. Tax
incentives should be expanded to
attract and keep innovative busi-
nesses in the state. And the state
should invest far more in the
URC, one of its most important
tools for economic growth and
the birthplace of the next genera-
tion of technologies.
Economic recovery won't
happen by cutting investment
in its primary mechanisms for
economic growth. Long-term,
sustainable prosperity requires
an equally long-term dedication
to the people and organizations
that energize Michigan's econ-
omy. Only with such unwaver-
ing commitment can Michigan
shake off the rust and prosper in
a new century.
The general view of the Afghans is that the current
government is worst (sic) than the Taliban."
- Classified military report, one of thousands leaked by an unknown
source to Wikileaks.org, published yesterday by The New York Times.-
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