Business Journal needs more business news

January 17, 2012
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I’ve been subscribing to the Grand Rapids Business Journal for a dozen or so years, right after starting my own small business. In the early years, I remember how I thought the business news of the city was so interesting and exciting. Contributors like Paul Hense really connected with me. Over time, though, I noticed I was just skimming over stories, and old copies were building up in my pile of unread items. Several years ago, I realized why I was losing interest. There doesn’t seem to be many stories about business anymore! It seems almost every story revolves around government or some quasi-government entity, with any leftover space taken up by government-subsidized, clean/green issues. Is that what now makes up business thinking in our area? If so, we should be greatly concerned.

Take the Dec. 27 edition, for example. All three stories on Page 1 involved government. Any reference to a business involved how government is assisting them or controlling them. On Pages 1 through 8, of the 11 stories written by GRBJ staff, eight had the government theme, one described a wind farm, one was a great story about the Brann family that I really enjoyed (a real business story), and, finally, an editorial extolling the virtues of doing business in New York City (of all places — tax capital of the country). The final page of Street Talk summed up the whole experience with a truly ironic juxtaposition of titles: “What to do about the economy?” and “All in for Degage.” The lead spot in the article was by a regular GRBJ contributor describing how a Keynesian economy is our way to salvation. It seems like I’m reading a newspaper from the east side of the state, not from West Michigan.

The American Dream happened because our founding fathers developed a system of government where innovators and entrepreneurs were guided by a free market system to determine success or failure, and government was kept at arm’s length. Our founders chose a different path from Europe, and we quickly grew to be the mightiest economic power in the world. In the 20th century, though, our experimentation with European Progressivism has now grown to where the government is the answer to everything. That thinking seems to be clearly reflected in your newspaper. If we now think that government control, government subsidies and Keynesian money printing is our path to salvation, maybe Degage will be our best bet for the future.

John Potter

Cascade Township

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