Some of the ideas are familiar, but limited in ways typically embraced by establishment Republicans.
Rand Paul’s visit to Detroit was precipitated by a conference call being reported by the Detroit News. In it, Senator Paul speaks of enterprise zones, with taxes so low as to “bail yourselves out”. Adding to this an loosened visa incentive for a flow of foreign “entrepreneurs” into the city.
Paul, widely considered a 2016 potential presidential candidate, said he will introduce legislation Monday to create “economic freedom zones” by dramatically lowering taxes in depressed areas and loosen visa rules to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to immigrate to the city.“We hope to create taxes so low you essentially are able to bail yourselves out,” Paul said Thursday in a conference call outlining his plan.
So now instead of “jobs that Americans don’t want to do,” perhaps we will be talking about cities that Americans don’t want to live or work in.
I wonder how that would work?
Maybe something like this?
“Mr Chen, you are welcome to stay, invest, develop, and work in our country. However, you are limited to this particular region. If for some reason you are not satisfied there, I guess you are out of luck.”
Or in other words,
“Welcome to the Hotel Detroit. Love it, or get the hell out of our country..”
Right, somehow I can’t see THAT happening.
Which of course begs the question of what happens to those who emigrate, and decide to move somewhere a little safer than Baghdad of Michigan? When “loosening visa requirements,” it seems that a genie let out is a little hard to stuff back in the lamp. Its hard to imagine ‘restrictive’ movement placed on those who simply seek a better life, and upon finding out that Detroit is no better than the hole they left, it is highly likely that they will indeed “seek” such a place.
And it seems we have heard those words about foreigners feeling welcomed before.
“While foreign talent can readily obtain a student visa, remaining a member of the Michigan community is made extremely difficult for those desiring to do so under current immigration laws. The difficulty also significantly disrupts businesses that rely on these skilled and talented individuals. The federal government sets a cap of 65,000 on new H1 -B temporary work visas, and there are only an additional 20,000 new H1 -B visas available to individuals with U.S. advanced degrees. These caps are arbitrary and fail to recognize the harm done to local economies when states are forced to send away talent they have spent years developing.Today, I am asking our congressional delegation to work with me to permanently raise the cap on immigrant professionals, and eliminate the cap for those holding a master’s degree or higher from U.S. universities.”
By golly, the panacea for Michigan.What a remarkable coincidence Senator Paul and Governor Snyder would have the same solution for what ails us, given Detroit’s pancreatic disposition to the rest of the Michigan body. How interesting, that a ‘libertarian leaning, tea type’ Rand Paul, and a ‘progressive’ Rick Snyder might be coming together in a lets-close-this-deal propaganda push on the importance of a city that doesn’t WANT to be cured. (typically Detroit experiences around 15% or less voter turnout including those by dead people)I wonder what the connection is?Heck, I wonder if the 2016 contender Paul, for the [say-what?] House even realizes his participation in something even bigger than his status as a client? I wonder also if he has any idea of Snyder’s own 2016 presidential aspirations?Sure, there are those who have already soaked Michigan taxpayers for their wealth building projects in the Renaissance area. Taxpayer ‘investment’ in other people’s wallets has been going on there for decades, but some of those folks want to see additional support headed their way. And IF the picture brightens sufficiently in Detroit, they reward their friends.In the spirit of cronyism unmatched by ANY prior administration, it will happen.Rand Paul’s plan, meted out in a way that ANY tea type or conservative might possibly like, is a winner! Lowered taxes and the quasi-libertarian dream of unfettered immigration by high dollar foreign nationals can’t be wrong. Especially if its all concentrated like Dr. Fantastic’s Super Laxative Miracle Drug into the belly of the nation’s industrial machine. And being concentrated is apparently the plan.At least if a whole package of bills passes in the State legislative bodies.The quote by Jack Nicholson in the original Batman “This town needs an e …” might have a real life example in a follow up to the ‘laxative’ provided by Rand Paul’s plan. Curiously, the MEDC and its connected parts is about to undergo a transformation. In a way that guarantees taxpayers can fill their drawers. The state senate and house are proposing their own muscle relaxants, by removing restrictions on the MEDC, adding more wallop, and providing new and improved ways to hide the stink.The House Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved seven bills relating to the Michigan Strategic Fund, part of the quasi-governmental Michigan Economic Development Corp.“Generally, the bills would expand the authority of, and provide greater latitude to, the MSF. Additionally, the bills would consolidate and eliminate reporting requirements,” House Fiscal Agency’s Ben Gielczyk wrote in a Nov. 1 analysis of the bills.Gielczyk’s work was consummate. And I have extracted the following (somewhat abridged) :
- Senate Bill 269 removes the sunset on the tobacco extortion money being directed to the MEDC (21<sup>st</sup> century jobs fund) thus removing it from future general fund disposition.
- Senate Bill 270 expands the spending authority of the 21<sup>st</sup> Century Job fund by allowing other expenditures for business growth and marketing outside of the current businesses allowed to receive government favor. It ALSO does something VERY interesting, with removal of a restriction that 80% of business and marketing development be targeted to prospective business outside of Michigan. No statutory requirements will remain to attract out of state business by the Michigan Strategic Fund.
- Senate Bill 271 expands eligible property to include ANYTHING deemed worthwhile by the MSF board. Though “permitted,” ZERO criteria would be statutory. It also increases the amount of grants allowed from $1 Million to $2.5 Million.
- Senate Bill 272 Expands the definition of an EDC project to include Port Facilities, and designates corporations (any lenders) as persons if the MSF’s discretion is to do so. Any expanded uses of MSF monies will be completely at the discretion of the MSF with recommendations only being provided by an advisory committee
- Senate Bill 278 wouldexpand the use of the Jobs for Michigan Investment Fund to ANY authorized use as determined by the MSF, also allowing a 4% fee (profit) for passing through such funds as administration expenses. It should be noted that the JFM receives tribal gaming revenue, and since 2009 over $40 million has been placed into it from those revenues.
- House Bill 4480 delays reporting requirements, eliminates jobs data reporting for MEGA, and eliminates tourism promotion type reporting.
- House Bill 4482 expands the ability of the MSF to buy and sell property independent of other agencies and statute, creates a job training fund that will assist businesses supported by the MSF, and allows outside capital to walk with the MSF (taxpayer) money in programs projects, funds, as approved by the MSF.
Strangely, the latter part of bullet point 7 is not limited in any way. NOR is there a provision in the bill specifying order of priority with regard to repayment or disbursement of ‘profits’ or proceeds. As it is, it is not only establishing a full blown slush fund, but it is setting up for some serious pass through of taxpayer dollars into private hands.And so much of this is seemingly targeted towards Rand Paul’s plan. The sponsors seem to have the intent on setting loose an MEDC juggernaut in Michigan, unfettered by current rules, and those crazy transparency slow downs.And yesterday, after having the epiphany that Rand, and Rick, were all related to this MEDC boondoggle package, I heard Rand Paul on the radio (on the Sean Hannity Show) is talking about his economic plan “bringing 100 quickens into Detroit.” (yeah, HE SAID THAT) And I kid you not, when I tell you that only 20 minutes earlier, I was discussing this entire affair and relating all of it to Quicken with my wife and our lunch friends, but not in the oh-what-a-great-deal manner!A couple of things you should know about Quicken loans.
Not that THIS is about Dan per se, but that it is about 100 Dan Gilberts, and that taxpayers in Michigan can plan on digging into their wallets 100 times over for something that doesn’t even bring NEW business to Michigan, but does what Quicken Loans (Rock Financial) did; screw over existing workforces and communities that-are-NOT-Detroit to show success in a city that neither deserves it, nor has an ability to appreciate it properly.You see, in those bullet points above; in number 2, there is a removal of the requirement that efforts be expended to those folks outside the state looking to expand their vision to Michigan. Instead, there would be the ability to pick up “Joe’s Bio Lab” or “Costy-Pro Medical Transcription” from the suburbs (a place far more desirable) and put it into Detroit for the right financial incentive to the owner.Of course, the appearance of new start ups in Detroit, motivated through incentives paid for by taxpayers will sure look good for the governor. The city coming out of bankruptcy and a perceived new renaissance of sparkly brand new enterprise in the Motor City will overshadow the fact that many of them will be Michigan transplants merely bribed by the MEDC to shuffle operations from other communities into the city. The MEDC for its part will be less inclined than it already is, to provide any real results analysis as a result of the bills in this package. And as for Rand Paul’s plan, it plays a minor part, but provides cover for the very same types of activities that brought the city to ruin in the first place.Pay for Play. (cronyism)There are other players pushing for these things as well. When the entire economic development industry in Michigan is pushing over a billion smackers in the last decade alone, its clear that the Michigan advantage goes to corporate friends, while the taxpayer is merely treated like a friend-with-benefits, but in a less friendly way.The Governor is ultimately the acting CEO over this great big reassignment of resources. His operatives are doing their part to make sure there is at least an appearance of success coming out of the current Detroit bankruptcy. The next phase in his “bucket list” is counting on it.