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Posted on Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

Michigan needs to remake image to become more business-friendly

By Letters to the Editor

The standard of living for the rest of the taxpayers is lower because of the high tax burden we have to pay to support the union members benefits (outlandish retirement benefits, tax bailouts etc.).

If it’s such a good thing to be a union member, then they should not have any problems getting people to join. Michigan is the only state that lost population because of the hostile union presence.

Let’s keep our friends and family from moving out of the state by remaking our image to a business-friendly state with good wages and benefits like Indiana or Oklahoma so businesses will once again look to locate in Michigan.

Brett Birk Ypsilanti


Steven Murphy

Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

Michigan, as well as every other state, would do well to have a serious movie/entertainment industry operated by dedicated and talented people charged with projecting a glowing image of the state and the people living and working there. To leave it in the hands of outsiders living far away is pure insanity!


Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 4:35 a.m.

I agree with the writer's opinion though it is short on facts. Let's consider the auto industry and the union's role in it's failure. How about the nurses strike at the U of M when they are operating at a loss? How about the 54 Billion dollars in unfunded public emplyee benefits? What I see in Michigan is an employee base that absolutel despises businesses that provide them jobs. They constantly bad mouth, threaten, bully, conduct work slowdowns, and could care less about the company's profitability or the general taxpayers burden, or how their actions affect other workers......and unions seem to be very proud of these traits. What business would want to engage with such an employee base? Let's face it, that attitude has to change whether we do it through legislation or companies just going out of Hostess did as a result of the Baker's union going on strike and refusing to negotiate.....they put 18,000 people out of work with their self rightious and uncompromising attitude. That's a lot of "dues" union leaders.

Boo Radley

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

We need the ability to vote up or down on these opinion pieces instead of just other's comments.


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.



Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

I'm calling shenanigans. I'm pretty sure publishes the silliest "opinion" letters they receive as entertainment. Get's us townies all worked up. Remember the Briarwood lights letter? At least I seriously hope so. This is embarrassing.


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

(And we're reinforcing it, LOL)


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 2:20 p.m.

If their performance is rated solely on comments and page views, this is exactly the right strategy for them.


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 6:30 a.m.

"Michigan is the only state that lost population because of the hostile union presence." Well that's a bold statement without any supporting evidence, whatsoever. Wow. Ooh. Let me try! I love non sequiturs! Ohio is the only state that lost population because Jim Tressel is no longer coaching OSU. Or.... Indiana is the only state that lost population because it produces too much corn.

Rick Stevens

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 2:09 a.m.

'Michigan is the only state that lost population because of the hostile union presence.' Do you have any citations to support this? We'd like to see the facts, evidence.

Boo Radley

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

"If it's such a good thing to be a union member, then they should not have any problems getting people to join." Why should anyone join the unions now? They can just reap all of the benefits of the union negotiated benefits and working conditions without paying the dues thanks to the so-called "right to work" law.

Paul Taylor

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

What, is printing science fiction/alternate reality fiction now?


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

Science Fiction normally has a basis in fact, even if the fact is based on just lab work. Non-fact based fiction is called fantasy.


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 11:44 p.m.

I think they're now selecting letters to publish based solely on how annoyed they'll make people, rather than on whether they have anything substantive to say. I can't believe this was the best pro-RTW letter they could find. Oklahoma? Too funny.

David Cahill

Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

A lot of factual and logical disconnects here.


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

Lol. Yup hopefully we can become the economical powerhouses like Indiana and Mississippi. Is this guy serious? Right to work just drives the living wage down for everyone and isn't proven to bring anymore jobs in.


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

This is total nonsense. Please define business friendly. Snyders and the legislatures definition are to take funds used for education and funding essential government service and give it to the Michigan Chamber of Commerce cronies. RTW will allow large companies bottom lines increase based on pushing wages to minimum wage and eliminating fringe benefits. Perhaps we would be more business friendly if we invested more in the future- education and infrastructure- rather than giving then driving it into the ground with legislative war on women, education driving young entrepreneurs out of the state.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 1:28 a.m.

Don't forget taking money from retirees pension payments, as if they were wages earned, rather than a benefit that had been agreed before the state made that grab for more money for tax breaks for business.


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

This is why we need a strong education system - so citizens can actually write thoughtful, informative, and persuasive op-eds. If I was grading this, here would be my feedback: Brett, Good start here. You do a good job of bringing up ideas that could make Michigan a place where people want to work. What personal anecdote could you add in your introduction in order to sway your reader into believing you? What examples could you give that would support your ideas ideas? You start to consider the counterargument (with your idea about unions) but you don't fully develop that idea with evidence. How do you think you could rework this part? Your conclusion starts to convince the reader, but then it just stops. Did you notice that it was only one sentence? How might you elaborate the conclusion in order to really hit a home run with your argument? Good start here. With a few more revisions, you'll have an op-ed that could be published.


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 10:23 p.m.

Unless it was satire. Then my feedback would be different. Although it would be a pretty simplistic satirical piece.


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

Seriously, how does this poorly written letter get a spot on your main page? I've seen guest op-eds that were excellent get buried with just a link off your Opinion page, which few readers check.

E Claire

Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

Northside, this probably isn't the whole letter. the editorial staff has the right to edit letters for publication. I guess they got the reaction they were looking for with this one...

Unusual Suspect

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 2:48 a.m.

If it's poorly written, then it fits right in on


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

"..remaking our image to a business-friendly state with good wages and benefits like Indiana or Oklahoma." Hyperbolic rubbish. You sir, have not been to Oklahoma - I have. We absolutely do not want to be like Oklahoma.

Nicholas Urfe

Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

Oh - yeah - because what people really want is to live in Oklahoma. For every dollar in federal taxes Michigan pays to the Fed, we get .92 back. For every dollar in federal taxes Oklahoma pays to the Fed, they get $1.36 back. Like most red states, Oklahoma sponges off the rest of the country. Same with Indiana. They talk a good game about being self-reliant, but it's all a bunch of stinking bull dung. Oklahoma is ranked 44th in the country in poverty Indiana is ranked 32nd Michigan 27th That'll really keep the umich grads here - because so many of them leave to start businesses in oklahoma and indiana. It is not surprising that some people hold Oklahoma to be some kind of model. It explains a lot about the GOP in our state government. Poverty rate by state: 1 Mississippi 20.1% right-to-work state 2 Louisiana 18.3% right-to-work state 3 New Mexico 17.9% 4 Alabama 16.7% right-to-work state 5 Texas 16.2% right-to-work state 6 Arkansas 15.9% right-to-work state 7 Oklahoma 15.6% first right-to-work state 8 West Virginia 15.4% 9 Arizona 15.2% right-to-work state 10 Tennessee 15.0% right-to-work state source:

michael Limmer

Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

John, Having a job that allows you and your family to live in poverty is an American ideal, unless your last name is Koch, Snyder, or Engler.


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.

John, you realize that"the expansion of two military bases" which "lured aerospace companies, creating white collar engineering jobs" we're built with taxpayer dollars? Gee, you mean Government spending (boo, hiss), created jobs?


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 4 a.m.

Poverty rate is an equation with just one variable? from: The jobless rate in Oklahoma was below the national average for much of the 1990s, and, at 5.3% in October, is one of the lowest in the nation now. In addition to the right-to-work law, Oklahoma has introduced in recent years a set of incentives for businesses based on the number of jobs they created. And the expansion of two military bases lured aerospace companies, creating white-collar engineering jobs that put upward pressure on wages. "Given the context of our economic performance over the past several years, it's difficult to say that right-to-work in any shape or form hampered us, which would lead you to believe it was a help," said Deidre Myers, director of policy, research and economic analysis at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. "But there are no exact data that can quantify the impact of right-to-work as a single policy."


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

Completely unsupported emotional statements make such good opinion articles, especially for the front page of Go check your figures - Oklahoma manufacturing jobs dropped through the floor in the decade after Right to Work passed, and wages stagnated. I'm not blaming RTW for manufacturing leaving Oklahoma, but it sure didn't do anything to keep it there. Businesses just didn't care.


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 12:37 a.m.

... and there will be a heavy tax burden with so many working poor who will need help putting food on the table and a roof over their heads. Absurd.

Susan Ursus

Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

With unions on the run thanks to prepackaged legislation provided by plutocrats, Michigan has a bright future as the Mississippi of the Midwest.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 1:24 a.m.

Nice use of sarcasm, Susan


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

Mississippi of the Midwest. It never gets old does it? Hahahah

Susie Q

Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 9:21 p.m.

One poster wrote that Michigan must seem "cool" before people who have a choice will want to mover here.....I can think of a few folks who won't think Michigan is very cool......women, seniors, gay people, the well-educated, people who don't believe guns belong on school, libraries , bars, stadiums, people who value higher education and K-12 education....those are a few that might be turned off by the climate here.


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

How about starting with education? Then people like the letter writer can form new, interesting, well-formed, and cogent thoughts.


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

I agree, Pure Michigan and the film incentives both gave a needed image boost to Michigan. The state has got to seem cool before people who have a choice will move here and start things. I still just think this was largely pointless article. Best I could tell, it proposed some kind of campaign that shows everybody that Michigan doesn't like unions. Which I think we just got with all the national coverage of the right-to-work thing.


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

A2Onward - The Pure Michigan campaign is helping a lot in remaking how people think of Michigan. The real problem is getting people to think differently about Detroit.


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

How in the heck do these 4-sentence comments get published as letters to the editor? Any suggestions on HOW to remake Michigan's image? Any specific ideas on any of this beyond the specious "we should make Michigan better" statement you're trying to make? Seriously, what was the point of publishing this?