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KAITLYN BUSS

Buss: Granholm won’t help sell Clinton

Kaitlyn Buss
The Detroit News

If Hillary Clinton wants to hitch her wagon to former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, she can have her. But as Granholm did for Michigan, Clinton will do for the nation.

The thought!

Granholm’s Michigan legacy is about as abysmal as it gets. Yet the Clinton campaign has warmly embraced the former governor, recently naming her to Clinton’s transition team.

Granholm also works with Correct the Record, a group that coordinates closely with the campaign, which allows her to act as a Clinton surrogate.

With Michigan becoming an increasingly important state, Clinton has and will continue to try to use Granholm to attract Michigan voters.

But she might be underestimating just how badly Granholm’s policies and influence failed.

She already campaigned here for Clinton in the March primary, which Bernie Sanders won.

That’s because Granholm unarguably presided over one of – if not the – worst decade in Michigan’s history. “The Lost Decade,” as it’s commonly called, is putting it nicely.

Clinton’s choice of her as a close adviser simply illustrates how stale and stunted a Clinton presidency would be – and how clueless she is about Michigan’s economic challenges.

There were certainly some forces outside Granholm’s control as governor that crippled Michigan’s economy. But she did nothing to mitigate those problems. Instead her government-centered solutions further drove this state into the ground.

Under Granholm, Michigan’s unemployment rate jumped from 6 percent in 2002 to a peak of 14 percent in 2009, landing at 13.1 percent in 2010. Her administration oversaw the loss of more than 600,000 Michigan jobs, including the bottoming out of the automotive industry.

Granholm’s response included massive tax hikes on businesses of all sizes. The Michigan Business Tax—reviled and since repealed—charged a 22 percent surtax that never managed to erase a $2.8 billion deficit. She also fought to keep the Personal Property Tax, which punished businesses for investing in their capital.

Her policies drove businesses—and people—out of the state. The population of Detroit and the state overall drastically declined and the state’s ranking in per capita GDP went from 24th to 41st in the nation.

Michigan was the only state over that decade to lose more people than it gained.

I was one of the Michiganians who left.

Granholm’s other answers included corporate subsidies for green energy companies and promises of jobs that never materialized.

Granholm is clearly eyeing a cabinet position, and there are indications she’s on the short list for one.

Her greatest qualification might be that she’s a woman. With Clinton intent on a 50 percent female cabinet, Granholm’s puppy dog-like devotion to the candidate all these years will undoubtedly pay off.

But a Granholm economy on the national scale looks much like Clinton’s agenda, built on government jobs and corporate handouts, with taxes that drag down the economy and push away the most successful businesses and people.

Her recycled ideas will do the same thing to the nation from Washington they did to Michigan if Clinton has her way.

kbuss@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @KaitlynBuss