We CAN get it right

November 7, 2009
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How many times has Michigan and/or our leadership been “featured” in the national print media over the past two years? Does it irritate and **** anyone else? How long are we going to blame the auto industry, or the prior administration, or …

Blame will not solve our problems. The federal government is not the answer. Whether we like to hear it or not, we, the citizens of this great state, allowed the current conditions. It wasn’t just the unions, it wasn’t just the business community. It took a great amount of effort and collaboration to create this mess, and it is going to take an equal amount of work to get us out of it.

One thing is for sure though: It is not going to solve itself and it isn’t going to happen overnight.

At present, we certainly do not have a measurable, transparent plan for our future that all Michigan citizens can understand and chart. Haven’t we spent enough of our valuable time without a plan for the reinvention of our state? We have talked about incentives for this industry and incentives for that industry, but there is no comprehensive plan for our future. We have been operating in a vacuum, and our incentives packages and system of taxation are so dynamic that they scare away new industries and employers. This is especially true of high-tech creative ventures that represent our future, despite all of our lip service to the contrary.

The truth of the matter is that, with or without a plan, we are going to face a struggle. Wouldn’t it be easier to hold on through the next few years of tough times knowing that we are successfully tracking toward the goal of a brighter future? Wouldn’t it be easier to sell our state to business prospects knowing that we are making progress toward a definitive recovery? Why is this so difficult for our present leadership to understand? If they cannot solve the problem, why do we continue to re-elect them?

It is far overdue that we get our acts together and establish a new and positive vision for the state of Michigan. Just like we do in life and business when we suffer setbacks, we need to get up, reorganize and make a plan for what’s next. We need to set goals to accomplish that plan and go for it. It is all of our responsibility. We have too much good here to continue to just accept our sorry state of affairs.

We certainly are all too aware of our weaknesses. We have many strengths as well. It is time that we exploit them. This is one of the most beautiful and unique places in the country. We have natural resources like no other place in the world. We have a talented and dedicated work force, we have great institutions of higher learning, we have great cultural attractions, and we have an extremely competitive cost of living.

Next year we again go to the polls to elect new leadership for our state. For too many years, we have elected “friends” and people who were our neighbors and who we felt a loyalty to as a result of their previous service. That is an indication of just how apathetic we have become about their effectiveness. Friendships aside, would we hire these same people to work for our businesses? To run our households?

This time, it looks as if we may have the opportunity to elect a new form of leader, someone whose resume and qualifications are up to the demands of the post — a person who is actually capable of doing the job. A great many people are currently sitting on their hands “waiting to see what will happen.” I, for one, do not want to hear any complaints from those people in two years if we squander this opportunity and find ourselves in the same spot then.

There is no fundamental reason that this state cannot be the best place to live, work and raise a family in the country. Our future is valuable and it is up to us to define whether it is a success or a failure. Let’s go make it great again, together.

If you agree with me, I encourage you to support Rick Snyder for governor — now.

Sam Cummings is managing partner with CWD Real Estate Investment, Grand Rapids.

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