Monday, January 08, 2007

Bush, Walberg, and Iraq?

President Bush is looking to increase troop strength in Iraq. Not sure where he got this idea. Does not seem to have much support. This from the Huffington Post,

"the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq conceded Sunday that a military "surge" escalation would not be enough to rescue Iraq"
The Republican Party seems to be fractured on what to do in Iraq. John McCain is on the same page as the president as both look to increase the number of troops in Iraq. Former General Wesley Clark thinks this is a mistake.
Without such fundamental change in Washington's approach, there is little hope that the troops surge, Iraqi promises and accompanying rhetoric will amount to anything other than "stay the course more". That wastes lives and time, perpetuates the appeal of the terrorists, and simply brings us closer to the showdown with Iran. And that will be a tragedy for not just Iraq but our friends in the region as well.
There is more and more evidence that the Republicans are split over what to do in Iraq. What does Mr. Walberg think? During the campaign he supported the President. Does he still? If you live in the 7th District write Tim Walberg and ask him what his position on Iraq is. Go to and fill in the form.

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Not to change the subject, but here is something for Walberg to think about. He now represents the state with more outbound moves than any other in the nation.

His state his hurting, while in the Michigan Legislature he voted NO on nearly everything and has no affinity for economic development issues.

Let's see how he handles this news:

Michigan Tops Nation in 2006 Outbound Move Rate According to New United Van Lines Data

State’s outbound move rate even higher than in 2005; Michigan tied for highest rate with North Dakota; problem is “issue of opportunity,” say Mackinac Center analysts

MIDLAND — Michigan residents continue to leave the state at alarming rates that have accelerated since 2005, according to Mackinac Center for Public Policy analysis of data released this morning from United Van Lines, America’s largest household mover. In 2006, 66 percent of United Van Lines’ Michigan-related moves took households out of Michigan, rather than into the state, tying Michigan with North Dakota for the highest rate of outbound moves in the continental United States. Michigan’s UVL outbound rate was second highest in the nation in 2005, and the continued exodus in 2006 prompted Mackinac Center scholars to caution policymakers against raising the price of living, working and investing in Michigan.

Mackinac Center Adjunct Scholar Michael Hicks, a professional econometrician, has found United Van Lines and U.S. Census data to be highly correlated, making UVL data a helpful leading indicator of migration patterns. Using Internal Revenue Service data, Hicks and Mackinac Center Fiscal Policy Director Michael D. LaFaive also found that Florida may have become the number one destination state of Michigan expatriates, with 14 percent of all 2004 moves going to the Sunshine State. “Indeed,” Hicks noted, “14 percent is such a significant percentage that there is more than retirement going on here. This is an issue of opportunity.”

“Michigan residents continue to flee the Great Lake State for opportunity elsewhere,” said LaFaive. “Policymakers in Lansing would be ill-advised to give job providers or people any other reason to leave by raising taxes or imposing other costs on the economy.” LaFaive noted that according to the UVL data, Michigan’s outbound rate is 2.1 percentage points higher than in 2005 and less than one percentage point lower than Michigan’s all-time outbound record, set in 1981.

LaFaive and Hicks have published a commentary about the new data and its implications for Michigan on the Mackinac Center’s Web site. LaFaive and Hicks present empirical and anecdotal evidence in their essay suggesting that policy decisions can influence state-to-state migration. They also caution against one of the more popular solutions to Michigan’s economic woes frequently discussed in Lansing: higher spending on higher education.

“Research shows that spending more on higher education may slow the real rate of a state’s economic growth,” LaFaive observed.

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