Monday, February 11, 2008

It's the Attitude, Stupid!

A new study by Michigan Future Inc. finds that, no surprise, Michigan is a lagging in the creation of high-wage jobs requiring as least a bachelor's degree. The study says that states with an abundance of information, finance, insurance, professional and technical services and other similar occupations have the highest per capita income. Not surprising, Michigan is lacking in these areas.

When discussing what can be done about this situation, one of the study's authors claims that rather than providing tax breaks and incentives to attract businesses to come to Michigan, the state needs a base of highly educated workers. That's fine, but does he expect that highly educated workers are just going to hang around Michigan waiting for some company to move here? I don't think so. People who live in the state and get a good education are likely to look to places where they can put their expensive skills to work, not hang around waiting for some high end company to come along.

The problem with Michigan is that it is mired in the past. The attitudes of many of its citizens, and certain of the government, are tied to Michigan's manufacturing past. This past is marked by animosity between labor and management. People have the attitude that companies are evil creations. As a result we have more expensive labor laws and regulations.

What Michigan needs are companies that are willing to take a chance to move here. In order to do that, the state needs to be a place that people will want to move. Companies aren't going to move to Michigan as long as they think that the state is hostile to business. If some desirable companies move to the state, desirable workers will come with them. Once a few companies locate here, more of our educated citizens will decide to stay and work here. We need to change our entire attitude toward business if we are going to attract the kind of companies which will help Michigan move forward once again.