Young, Educated and Leaving Michigan

Jan 22, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Michigan's New Motto: "Buh-Bye."


The editorial board at the Detroit News just can't stop congratulating Gov. Rick Snyder on how not-so-bad things are here in Michigan. In a overwhelmingly moderate editorial, the newspaper congratulated Snyder on the boatloads of somewhat good news coming in about Michigan's economy.

The piece, which was titled "Michigan Throws Out the Welcome Mat," should have been been titled "Michigan Economy Seems Ready to Crawl Out of Toilet." Why? Because in its haste to tout Snyder's achievements, the News can provide scant evidence to show any improvement. It opens brightly, "Michigan is shifting from a state that once led the country in unemployment and population loss to a place where ..."

A good writer would have stopped right there and said, "where ... where we still have lots of unemployment and not a lot of population growth? That's preposterous. Let's write about something else."

Not the solons of the Detroit News editorial board. After cheerleading for the sort of low-tax, anti-union measures Snyder has signed into law, the Newsistas have to at least try to argue we're experiencing a Great Leap Forward that justifies them in hindsight.

Hey, some people are trying to find work, and even a few are actually getting jobs! "For the second consecutive year, Michigan has experienced population growth." Now that's an achievement. The state didn't shrink! Will this new era of milk and honey never cease?

Studies suggest that, increasingly, Michigan's leaders look sort of like this to Michigan's young, educated people.

One thing they're not mentioning is that there is one cohort that remains on its way out of the state: educated young Michiganders. New data from Michigan's Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives shows that young, educated people, a demographic closely linked to economic performance, are still leaving the state of Michigan, apparently unimpressed by what the state has to offer them. Ryan J. Gimarc, an economic analyst at the bureau, tells us that, in 2012, for the eighth year in a row, Michigan suffered a net loss of young, college-educated people. Apparently, Snyder's Promised Land of low taxes for the rich and tough love for everybody else simply doesn't hold a lot of appeal for young people.

But even if they don't mention this "brain drain," Snyder and the News have a plan to stem any outmigration: expanding the H1B visa program. Now, we don't have anything against immigrants, of course. Heck, immigrants, documented and undocumented, bring more economic energy to the country, and we should be doing everything we can to ensure more immigrants reinvigorate our fading urban communities. No, our objection to the H1B visa is this: In 2012, "the 10 employers receiving the largest number of H-1B visas were all in the business of outsourcing and offshoring high-tech American jobs."

Immigrants create jobs ... except when they're on H-1B visas... so, hey, let's expand that program!

Hey, that sounds great. You've got to admit, under Gov. Snyder, things are at least clear-cut: The kids get to take their education and leave, the immigrants get to visit and take our jobs with them, working people get the shaft, and the rich get all the money and tax breaks.

No wonder the News can't stop praising him, even if the grounds for doing so seem a little meager.