Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

‘The economy, stupid,’ 16 years later

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Originally published on on Tue, 01/15/2008 – 11:52am

Some things never change — like the economy in Michigan.

When the focus shifted to Michigan for today’s primaries, the MSM jumped on the idea that somewhere in the United States, the economy wasn’t doing so well. Yes, Michigan does have the worst unemployment rate in the country, but it isn’t the only state that is suffering.

In 1992, the economy was a major issue in the campaign, and Michigan had a bright shining light on its economy. Michigan had lost more than 100,000 jobs in the last two years. And I know this because I was living in Battle Creek, Michigan (yes, home of Kellogg’s) in 1992.

Political candidates came through the state. Dan Quayle landed at the Kellogg Regional Airport to immediately go to Kalamazoo. Bill Clinton had a rally in downtown Battle Creek. I still remember him being introduced by then U.S. Rep. Howard Wolpe. The crowd was very excited to hear him speak. And yes, I was one of many who shook Bill’s hand that day.

The media also paid attention to Michigan, so much so that ABC announced that Peter Jennings would anchor “World News Tonight” from the banks of the Kalamazoo River in Battle Creek. While the anchor was in Battle Creek and the first segment featured the Cereal City, the October 21, 1992 newscast also had reports from Cheboygan and Detroit.

While I would loved to watch Jennings do the news that night along the river, I had a higher calling. As a staff writer for the Battle Creek Enquirer, I got assigned a sidebar piece to go along with the coverage. My assignment was to go to a bar where people were watching and get their insight.

Between 1992 and 2008, Michigan’s economy did a bit better. Tech jobs increased, in part due to policies from Bill Clinton, who did win that fabled election in 1992. But the environment didn’t last long, and the national recessions under George W. Bush took its toll hardest in Michigan.

So when these Republican politicians come through Michigan, trying to save its economy, they should take note that this isn’t a short-term issue. Michigan and other similar states need complex, long-term solutions.

To give you an idea of where Michigan was then, compared to now, I have, below, the sidebar piece I wrote back in 1992. It’s a small slice of where things were then to show how things haven’t really changed all that much since then. It’s also a reminder that there is a lot of work to do to make things better, economy-wise, for Michigan and the rest of the country.

Courtesy of the Battle Creek Enquirer.


Written by democracysoup

January 15, 2008 at 11:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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