Snyder holds up government success as proof of government incompetence

A few days ago, Governor Rick Snyder handed out the first of his “Reinventing Michigan” awards. It went to Energetx Composites, a West Michigan manufacturer of wind turbine parts and electric vehicle frames. Knowing a little about the company, which spun out of Holland, Michigan-based S2 Yachts in 2008, I think Snyder made a great choice. Energetx is exactly the kind of company that we need to be holding up as an example. As market forces shrank their business in yacht building, they took their core technology, their people, and their manufacturing expertise, and they recreated themselves as a green energy company. They’re a great example for other Michigan manufacturers, and I wholeheartedly support Snyder’s decision to recognize their accomplishments. But, unfortunately, Snyder didn’t stop there. He took the opportunity to politicize what could have been a positive event.

Governor Snyder, according to his press release, not only held up Energetx as an example of incredible entrepreneurship, but as an example of what happens when big government gets out of the way… which, in this case, happens to be complete and total bullshit. But I’ll get back to that in a minute. First, I wanted to share the following quote from our Governor.

“Energetx Composites embodies the entrepreneurial spirit that once made Michigan the leader in job growth,” Snyder said. “Our reinvention as a state is dependent on recapturing this spirit by creating an environment where small businesses like this are able to grow without being stifled by overly burdensome regulations or a job-killing business tax.”

The press release goes on to say that Energetx, “is an example of the innovative spirit that Michigan needs to recapture, and a reminder that individuals, not government, spark the ideas that lead to job growth.”

What Rick doesn’t mention is that Energetx received $3.5 million in funding from the Michigan Strategic Fund under the Granholm administration, and another $3.5 million from the U.S. Dept. of Energy. That, you see, wouldn’t have fit the narrative.

You have to hand it to the guy… It takes balls to stand up on a stage and make the case against big government by holding up as an example a company that likely wouldn’t exist if not for federal stimulus dollars.


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  1. Edward
    Posted May 15, 2011 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    What did you expect? That’s what Republicans do. They rail against stimulus spending, and then they show up for the ribbon cuttings for the projects funded by stimulus dollars, taking credit for them. And the press doesn’t mention it.

  2. Glen S.
    Posted May 15, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Much of America’s unprecedented economic dynamism during the 20th century was the result of state and federal governments using their unique opportunity to regulate — and to to leverage large-scale public resources (i.e. establishing research universities, agriculture schools, massive hydroelectric and flood-control projects, airports, deep-water ports, the interstate highway system, etc.), to shape the economy in ways that greatly accelerated opportunities for private entrepreneurship. In some cases, such as with the space program, and the defense establishment, government fostered the created of entirely new economic sectors — such as the internet, which we’re now using to share these comments.

    However, since the advent of the “Reagan Revolution,” a central tenant of Republican (and many Democrats’) philosophy has been to claim that we are a nation of rugged individualists and entrepreneurs, for whom government is mostly a barrier and a hindrance to the magic of free markets.

    The obvious result — despite President Obama’s tepid and short-lived “Stimulus” program — has been that the overall trend over the past 30 years toward a massive disinvestment in public “goods” — not only in education, and research and development — but in the kinds of critical infrastructure that is necessary to create opportunities for the private sector to grow and succeed.

    The results are obvious: A shrinking economy, falling living standards, exploding debt, and a growing sense that America is in decline.

    And yet, it seems, a good number of people still seem to believe — despite what they see around them every day — that even broader and deeper cuts in government spending will be our path to economic salvation.

    Meanwhile, most other industrialized nations (and China, in particular) are busy greatly expanding their public investment in new resources (education, research and development, clean energy, public transit) that will form their foundation for growth and opportunity for decades to come.

  3. Damon
    Posted May 15, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Maybe we can sell rainwater?

    Snyder needs his own Super-Villan moniker.
    Twoface has already been taken. Perhaps a poll?

    Lastly, re-quoted for truth from Glen S.
    “The results are obvious: A shrinking economy, falling living standards, exploding debt, and a growing sense that America is in decline.”

  4. Kim
    Posted May 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Where will Energetx get their skilled employees when our public schools turn to shit?

  5. Robert
    Posted May 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Where they always got ’em, Kim…


  6. James Madison
    Posted May 15, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I believe the plan is to get skilled workers from the People’s Republic of China, which has more honor students than the USA has students.

  7. Two Bird
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Why did Snyder give this award to such an obvious contradiction? Easy. “One tough nerd” equals “one vindictive nerd.”

    This was, from the start, Granholm’s project. Hoekstra, who was his closest opponent in the Republican primary, opposed tax support for it:

    (Above link worth the read for a quick history.) By giving the award, Snyder can a: Rub Granholm’s nose in it by taking credit for her work. b: Rub Hoekstra’s nose in it by claiming success for something he opposed.

    Given all the other successful entrepreneurial reinventions in the State, how could Snyder not resist picking the one that was a big old face slap at his former opposition? How could the nerd resist sticking it to the popular kids?

    Seriously. People should be required to undergo mental health exams before seeking public office.

  8. Edward
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I want to do a Google search and see if anyone else is talking about this, but I’m afraid I know what the answer would be. Everyone reprinted the press release. No one bothered to dig. I wonder what it would be like living in a world with a free and active investigative press.

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