All governments, Federal, state and local, do dumb and irresponsible things — it’s the nature of the beast — but my home state of Michigan is cutting a trail through Idiot Jungle, overworked machete in hand, for other government boneheads to follow. If we’re not careful, we might run into California and accidentally hack each other to death — mercifully.

Michigan has an over $1 billion budget deficit and an unemployment rate so high that we’re a 7/11 closing away from overtaking Mississippi for the lead. If this keeps up, I fully expect the Upper Peninsula secede to Wisconsin.

Businesses in the state are fleeing the area like screaming waitresses with torn blouses running out of a Kennedy family reunion. One recent example is Comerica Bank, a 160 year Michigan staple, which recently announced they would be relocating their headquarters to Dallas, Texas. At least they left Comerica Park — for now, but I’m sure the movers will be back to pack that up too.

In the meantime, our state government, including a tax-happy governor who can’t lure a business into the state (watching somebody try to fish with no bait, hook, line or pole is indeed pathetic) and can’t convince existing companies to stay here, has decided to continue on with anti-business-as-usual.

The governor keeps announcing new tax schemes, each of which “shouldn’t cost families and business but a few dozen dollars a year.” After a few dozen of these “few dozen dollars a year” plans, it starts adding up — especially after a business exodus that looks like a corporate version of the evacuation of Dunkirk puts more and more of that burden on fewer and fewer people and companies.

Governor Granholm’s plan for Michigan is clear: Tax everybody until they’re unable to move out. An iron-clad plan to be sure.

The problem for Michigan, the “France of North America” as it’s been called, is that the Great Lake State is a stew of everything businesses hate. It’s heavily unionized, the government is run by buffoons, and the tax schemes are unpredictable and shift more often than a mountain biker on a 20-speed.

Every time there’s a new idiotic tax, it is inevitably recognized later on that it was a stupid idea, and thus repealed. Businesses looking for a base of operations look at Michigan and know that, even though a particular tax has been repealed, it will be replaced — probably by something even dumber.

For example, the Single Business Tax was repealed. Why? Because it was a dumb idea, of course (prosperous states have politicians who can recognize a dumb idea before it’s enacted — perchance to dream). The problem is that, given the state’s deficit, the government will have to replace the $1.9 billion brought in by the Single Business Tax with something else — it’s just that we don’t know what yet. If a business decides to relocate to Michigan under these circumstances, I hope Governor Granholm sells them the Brooklyn Bridge as well.

This is why Michigan continues to be the unwashed girl with bad breath wondering why she’s not being asked to the prom. Most states would take a shower and swig mouthwash. Michigan just tries to plug all the guys’ noses.

But this madness isn’t confined to the governor’s office. No, sir. Democrats in the state House are doing their best to see that no child is left behind without an iPod. On Thursday, Michigan House Democrats offered a spending plan that would buy a MP3 player or iPod for every school child in Michigan. The Detroit News put it more appropriately than anyone ever has: Are they !#$!ing idiots?

It’s clear that the House Democrats’ plan is unlike the governor’s plan. While the governor’s plan will work, provided some of that tax money goes into the construction of a Berlin-style wall to keep everybody in, House Democrats hope to save the state by creating a bunch of selfish, dissociated morons, or “our voters” as Democrats refer to them.

According to United Van Lines data, Michigan is the nation’s number one state when it comes to outbound traffic. Thankfully, the children of the owners and operators of all the businesses might soon be able to take with them their free gift when they leave the state: an iPod. Banks give you a gift to open an account — Michigan gives you a gift to close one.

And the people who are perpetuating all this lunacy and economic misery (while blaming it on administrations that left office years ago, or, of course, Bush) continue to be re-elected. Let’s be honest with ourselves: if you ran a company and were looking to relocate, what would this lead you to assume, rightly or wrongly, about the state’s residents that would comprise your workforce?


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