Michigan impoverished

Two terrific editorials from West Michigan publications. Both highly recommended!

The first from Carole Valade, editor of the Grand Rapids Business Journal, entitled Michigan: a state of impoverishment. Citing data from (1) the Gallup-Healthways’ latest State of American Well-Being report that ranks Michigan in the bottom 10, (2) the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget’s Winter 2015 Michigan Economic and Workforce Indicators and Insights data on Michigan continued loss of residents ages 22 to 34 with a bachelor’s degree or higher and (3) the 2015 Kids Count in Michigan data book which showed a 35 percent increase in child poverty over the last six years, Valade concludes:

No matter how many positive proclamations Snyder makes, the state will remain in the bottom 10 without an orchestrated effort to affect education; it is the most effective method to declare war on poverty.

The second editorial comes from the Grand Rapids Press entitled Here’s how we can fight child poverty in West Michigan. Citing the Kids Count data, they write:

We must have a constructive dialogue within our community about how to address the issue of poverty. Far too often, words like “entitlement” and “hand-out” are used to make political arguments, but they fail to grasp the crippling burden of abject poverty. West Michigan’s elected officials in Lansing, most of whom are part of the Republican majority, must continue to find ways to fund programs that benefit and help the poor in our region and state. This includes bolstering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); more money for early childhood education; increasing access to healthcare; allocating more funds for job training; and streamlining human services programs aimed at helping low-income residents.

Exactly! Michigan policy makers need to understand that Michigan––no matter the welcome decline in the unemployment rate––is still a state with huge economic challenges. That we are closer to the bottom than the top on almost all measures of economic well being. And that to reverse that we need more  public investments in education, the safety net and making our communities places where people want to work and live.

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Lou Glazer

Lou Glazer is President and co-founder of Michigan Future, Inc., a non-partisan, non-profit organization. Michigan Future’s mission is to be a source of new ideas on how Michigan can succeed as a world class community in a knowledge-driven economy. Its work is funded by Michigan foundations.

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