bill-rustem

TC area is beacon of hope

bill-rustemFrom the Record Eagle:

Our unemployment rate remains the highest in the nation. Every day, individuals and families make the hard decision to leave the state to head to greener pastures, and government at all levels is being forced to reduce traditional services.

Michigan at this turn to the 21st Century is in much the same place as it was at the turn from the 19th to 20th centuries. Back then our state had relied on forestry and fur trading to create an economy. Early in the 20th Century, those resources were essentially gone.

But a new economy arose as the result of a collection of ideas and discoveries by entrepreneurs. Henry Ford, William Kellogg, Herbert Dow and others built a new manufacturing economy that served us extremely well during much of the 20th Century, enabling Michigan to grow and prosper.

Now, that manufacturing economy is in full decline, and Michigan must redefine itself in a way that creates a new economy for this new century. To do so will require the attraction of the same kind of talent that helped create the economy of the 20th Century. That means we must embrace the quality of life factors that can attract the entrepreneur, the businesses and the young people who will help create that economy.

In turn, that requires a vision that embraces both the importance of our state’s tremendous natural assets and the creation of the kinds of walkable, bikeable communities that a new generation of Michigan citizens desire.

Leading the way in creating the kind of a vision that Michigan needs is the Grand Vision project in northwest lower Michigan, a unique partnership of business, governmental and nonprofit organizations.

Through their combined efforts, new ideas for a new future for that region are emerging. And they are ideas not generated from the top down, but from the bottom up. Some 15,000 area residents have participated in the process of defining a new vision for the Traverse Bay area, and more and more are talking about the future, rather than the past, every day.

The work is not yet done, but it is progressing nicely.

The Grand Vision offers a shining beacon of hope for all of Michigan. It is being watched by people across the state. Its eventual success can define a roadway to prosperity for all of Michigan.

About the author: William Rustem is president and CEO of Public Sector Consultants. Before joining the firm, Mr. Rustem was Gov. William G. Milliken’s chief staff advisor on environmental matters and interim director of the Toxic Substances Control Commission. Mr. Rustem was also first executive director of the newly established Center for the Great Lakes in Chicago.

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6 replies
  1. Mark
    Mark says:

    To quote Mr. Rustem:

    “To do so will require the attraction of the same kind of talent that helped create the economy of the 20th Century. That means we must embrace the quality of life factors that can attract the entrepreneur, the businesses and the young people who will help create that economy.”

    Imagine to tsunami of entrepreneurs if only they did not have to worry about not having health coverage! I say Medicare for all. This would unleash a fury of ideas and people to exploit those ideas in order to earn a living outside of the “norm” where one works for an employer that provides health benefits.

    Reply
  2. Doug
    Doug says:

    Sounds good…but the entrepreneurial spirit that created the economy of the 20th century would never burden taxpayers with goverment provided insurance programs. We get on that track to our detriment. Imagine what today’s high-tech entrepreneurs could do if the tax structure and regulations helped encourage risk taking! Remember, there are no entrepreneurs in Lansing or Washington.

    Would there have ever been an auto industry here with the restraints American industry faces today? Put Michigan back to work…make it attractive for business!

    Reply
  3. Andrew McFarlane
    Andrew McFarlane says:

    Michigan’s businesses taxes actually rank 28th. It’s interesting to note that we have steadily reduced our business tax burden over the last 5 years. Heck, Forbes doesn’t even have us in their top ten in personal tax burden.

    As a businessman, I don’t understand the thought that taxes are inherently evil. Yes, I want to keep as much money as I can, but as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said “Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.”

    Schools, public safety, roads, libraries, and yes health care – I’m willing to pay the price.

    We have lost jobs & plants from the auto industry to Ontario, and their health care was quoted as a reason.

    Reply
  4. Gwen Hall
    Gwen Hall says:

    Chiming in late; thanks, Andy for the business tax stat. Michigan is also no longer mentioned in the National Forclosure stats nor is Detroit mentioned as one of the metropolitan Forclosure top 10.

    And entrepreneurs can have a field day in green, sustainable business venues. With an additional 30 billion dollars for Small Business loans, our community banks should be open to hearing your ideas!

    Reply
  5. Jake Jobs
    Jake Jobs says:

    @ Andrew McFarlane “As a businessman, I don’t understand the thought that taxes are inherently evil. Yes, I want to keep as much money as I can, but as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said “Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.”

    Reply
  6. Jake Jobs
    Jake Jobs says:

    Whoops, sorry about the previous post. Hit enter by mistake. Here’s my post:

    @ Andrew McFarlane “As a businessman, I don’t understand the thought that taxes are inherently evil. Yes, I want to keep as much money as I can, but as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said “Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.”

    And I absolutely agree. Business that refuse to pay a tax is operating on a scarcity mindset – since the consumer is making the business profit, the business should contribute back to society and advanced civilization as a whole.

    Reply

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