March 13, 2010

Funding higher education is vital for Michigan's future|making jobs even more so Grand Rapids
By Thomas J. Haas | Special to The Press

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In recent days, there has been much in The Press, on news and editorial pages, about public higher education, with some writers questioning the state's obligation to make it available to Michigan's citizens. There is no doubt about this obligation because it is spelled out in Article VIII of the Michigan Constitution. The words are unambiguous: "The legislature shall appropriate moneys to maintain. ... the state's public universities. Those words follow Section 1 that confirms for our citizens the importance of education, "the means of which shall forever be encouraged."

"Shall appropriate" and "forever." That is what our constitution says about higher education.

For generations, going back to the 1700s, the citizens of our peninsulas recognized that this compact leads to mutual gain, understanding that an educated population results in economic vitality. Look to the states that surround us. Those with higher numbers of college graduates are more prosperous than Michigan.

The facts are clear. The way out of our economic trouble is to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs and inventors and keep them in Michigan. Henry Ford, Billy Durant, Walter Chrysler, Anna Bissell, Dan Gerber, Fred Meijer, Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos are just a few of the men and women whose business success, and their willingness to stay here, made Michigan prosperous. No business leader wants to locate a company in a state that doesn't offer stable educational opportunity. I have heard for years from Lansing that education is the key to Michigan's future. I could not agree more. However, the actions from Lansing do not align with this rhetoric when what we see is a persistent erosion of state support...full article here

my comment:
One cannot argue with any of the facts MI Universities Council President Thomas J. Haas has made.  But there are realities under the foundation of education that must be addressed to keep Universities open. 
Michigan's social Government has been fed for years by the greatest manufacturing base the world has ever known, the auto industry, which is now a fraction of what it was, even of two years ago.  Our State's tax expenditures are very high and the cost of the tax is added to the cost of production thus making our Michigan product expensive to sell.  How can business compete with the world with such a handicap? is a tax structure sitting in the legislature ready to go that addresses this foundational concern for Universities.
How many of the Students who we graduate from Mi Universities, leave Michigan, 40%, 60%? Even if it were 10% there is not a return on our investment as a State if so.  We are in a downward spiral with our State Leaders trying to ride it out by pretending to have their heads stuck in the sand.  Truth be told, it is the lobbyist system that has them not acting.  If campaign finance law made it so lobbyists could not bribe Politicians, we would see FairTax implemented in haste, as it is the cure to our State and Nation. Michigan can get the ball rolling by implementing MiFairTax now.
Why bring up Fairtax in an article on funding Universities?  It is the very reason we are struggling.  When Reagan enacted the free trade policy, we were constructed to collect taxes thru production at the federal level and State.  The result was corporations bought up failing companies in a recession and took them overseas to fill orders and evade Federal and State Taxes.  We are now near the end of the downward movement of our economy to a point that we cannot compete with imports any more, as there is hardly any consumers left due to lack of employment.
Yes, educate the youth of Michigan, but also stop being so blind to your political loyalties and educate yourself and the public on the true realities of our day.  It is a sad day when the scholars of Michigan are so silent.

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