A recent Detroit Free Press editorial too easily dismisses Gov. Jennifer Granholm's now infamous 2006 quip, "you'll be blown away" ("Granholm an unfortunate victim of her own words," Nov. 11). They did so by truncating the full sentence and arguing that it was simply "delivered as an inspiration."
Here's the full sentence from the published text of her speech: "And by this time next year, we'll see new businesses doing just that. In five years, you're going to be blown away by the strength and diversity of Michigan's transformed economy."
"Inspiring" words used to sell self-serving and/or counterproductive policies can have very real and negative consequences, and should not be taken too lightly.
In this case, Gov. Granholm was promoting her administration and the Legislature's massive expansion of discriminatory tax breaks and subsidies for a handful of corporations. The purpose and main effect of this policy is to provide "cover" for the refusal of the political class to adopt genuine tax, labor and regulatory reforms, which they shy away from because it would anger and diminish the privileges and rewards of unions and other powerful special interests.
Here's the consequence: When those empty words were spoken, Michigan's unemployment rate was 6.8 percent. It's 15.3 percent today.
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