Jack Lessenberry interviews MSU Economics professor Charles Ballard about his new book Michigan’s Economic Future. Ballard says that manufacturing is destined to be a smaller part of Michigan’s economy and says that the state needs to focus more on cutting edge industrial research. Jack asks “If Dick DeVos or Jennifer Granholm asks you what the driving force of Michigan’s education policy should be, what would you tell them? Ballard responds “I’d tell them ‘Education, education, education’. He goes on to say that if increasing education spending (and likely taxes) is political suicide, then we’re dead already.
In his accompanying essay, Jack writes:
…Most of all, the economist says, “we need a new set of attitudes — creative, highly skilled, flexible and entrepreneurial.” The situation is far from hopeless. We have a vibrant higher-tech manufacturing sector. We have an industrial work force, much of which is capable of being retrained and retolled.
Professor Ballard feels strongly that, “If we can make the transition to a new mindset, we really can achieve a vibrant economic future for Michigan.” But if that is to happen, it‚Äôs clear that we do need to think outside the box. Charles Ballard‚Äôs eminently sensible suggestions violate the dogmas of both our fossilized political parties.
Democrats are not going to like some of his suggestions about public employee pensions and health benefits. Republicans will be shocked by his suggestions about taxes. But it all makes sense.
Click for more on Michigan’s Economic Future by Charles Ballard and published by MSU Press.