Wed: Mackinac Conference Blog: Dave Bing, Rick Snyder, Jeb Bush, Carlos Guiterrez

May 29, 2013, 6:07 PM

Click here to see live blog


Mayor Dave Bing

5:46 PM Wednesday: And that's it for Bing. We'll be back tomorrow morning for a panel on Detroit's legacy leaders that features two generations of Archers, Cockrels, and Rakoltas. There's a bar open somewhere and I need to find it. Later!

5:42 PM Bing supports the bill in Lansing that would revive the residency requirement for city workers and he thinks it has a good chance to pass. Something to watch, I guess.

5:40 PM: The normally mercurial Bing is in shirt sleeves and sans necktie. He looks, frankly, more relaxed and comfortable in this more casual set-up. I can't help but wonder if Mayor Bing's sense of propriety (to coin a phrase) hindered his ability to be the true change agent so many hoped that he could be. From a style standpoint, Bing at times always seemed to rigid. It's not that his tie was too tight to for him to make big changes but I think his personal style was reflected in his mayoral style.

5:38 PM: Bing says he's open to running for Wayne County Executive and he's putting together a campaign committee to consider it, but he seems not really eager to run. Working 12-14 hour days on the weekends has been an aspect of the mayoral office that he says he's tired of. You have to appreciate his honesty on that issue.

5:35 PM: Bing says he "likes" Kevyn Orr personally but adds they sometimes disagree. "I've been a team player since my first career," he says.

5:34 PM: Bing says he's working to sell some lesser real estate assets but doesn't support selling the DIA or the water department.

5:33 PM: Mayor Dave Bing is on stage now being interviewed by the Freep's Nancy Kaffer. He's highlighting his administration's efforts at regionalization including Cobo Hall, the water deal with the counties, and the regional transit authority.

5:25 PM: Dave Bing is up next. Stay tuned...


Carlos Guiterrez

5:22 PM: The Republican Party's core is strong Guiterrez say but it's been distracted by the "periphery," citing Todd Akin. Serious question: Is Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema part of the core or the periphery. It's easy to dump on yesterday's failure like Todd Akin, but the GOP core looks better when they actually take on a fringe figure with power and some popularity. Bill Buckley did it with the Birchers in 1962. The core/mainstream conservatives still lack Buckley's intestinal fortitude. 

5:16 PM: Guiterrez shifts gears in his Q&A with former Rep. Harold Ford and calls Simpson-Bowles a "good start." He also endorses Paul Ryan's budget and improved background checks for gun purchases.

5:11 PM: There is a new visa for business start-ups. Guiterrez says it should be really easy for immigrants to obtain that visa if they'll build their start-up in Detroit.

5:05 PM: He says "clear path to citizenship" isn't essential to good immigration policy. Non-citizen residents and guest workers can perfectly ok.

5:03 PM: The worst-case scenario, Guiterrez says, is perfectly securing the border without addressing the ability of immigrants to legally enter the country. It will create the mother of all recessions. This is the strongest point of his presentation.

4:59 PM: Guiterrez says the proposed caps on immigrants by vocation (i.e. 20,000 construction workers) are too low. I take his point, but I think he's asking the wrong question. We don't really know if those caps are too low or too high because we don't know how much construction will be going on in ten years. When these kinds of numbers are set, no matter how data-driven the process to create the numbers are, what's really being crafted is a command economy based largely on lagging indicators. 

4:51 PM: As I was writing about Guiterrez on low-skill workers, he started talking about how we don't have enough high-skill workers. Then he said we need to do a better job with border security before turning around and saying that border security isn't as big an issue as some people make it out to be. I'm dizzy.

4:48 PM: Jeb Bush said earlier that we don't have high-skill workers. But Carlos Gutierrez is saying we don't have enough low-skill workers.  We have a shortage of truck drivers, nurses aides, construction workers, migrant workers, etc. despite high unemployment. Now, there's nothing wrong with giving those jobs to immigrants willing to work them--I'm an open borders, amnesty guy--but there isn't a labor shortage. There is a labor market that is out-of-whack. Normally, when there is a demand for something in short supply, you incentive the creation of a larger supply. That is to say, you pay truck drivers, nurses aides, construction workers, migrant workers, etc. more money and more people will do those jobs. More and better people, as our governor might say.

4:40 PM: Without immigration our population with decline because of a low birth-rate. - Gutierrez.

4:36 PM: Well, hello again Sandy Baruah is introducing Carlos Gutierrez, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce under George W. Bush. Among his accomplishments, according to Baruah, including rebuilding the Gulf Coast post-Katrina and responded to the 2008 economic meltdown. That's relayed to you without comment.


Jeb Bush

2:52 PM: Bush is done. We'll be back for more live blogging at 4:30 for Carlos Gutierrez, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

2:48 PM: Sweden has an entirely voucherized public educations system, explains Bush, and it's been hugely successful. Diane Ravitch dissents

2:42 PM: Bush talk about simplifying the tax code and says Republicans should embrace the idea of Simpson-Bowles.

2:33 PM: Asian-Americans have higher education achievement, higher incomes, higher entrepreneurial rates. More than 70% of Asian-Americans voted for Obama even though, Bush tells Detroit News' Daniel Howes in the post-speech Q&A, they should be part of the GOP coalition but too many conservative voices have made the party seem exclusionary to minorities and immigrants. If I may channel Frank Beckmann for a second, winner winner chicken dinner!

2:25 PM: Bush praises not only Snyder but Ohio Governor John Kasich, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

2:23 PM: Maybe the best point so far from Bush: We need to reinvigorate civics education. Civics have become a marginalized subject, to our national detriment. 

2:21 PM: Bush cites Canada's pro-economic immigration model as the way for the U.S. to reform immigration policy. He says he opposed amnesty. Immigrants are "catalytic converters" of economic activity, Bush says. He also says the "lost productivity" created by bad immigration policy has hampered our economy. If immigration can create an additional 2% growth, Bush says, we'd create an extra Germany's worth of economic activity.

2:15 PM: In between Meijer commercials, Bush has repeatedly made the point that ending social promotion at the third grade level has helped improve education in Florida. The data seems to support the wisdom of that reform. 

2:13 PM: Ok, Jeb Bush says U.S. innovation has stalled. Is he unaware of Facebook, the iPad, automotive telematic systems, Netflix,  WordPress, 3D televisions? Whatever may be said about the American education system, and much can be said about it, but it's just bollocks to say that American enterprise is not remarkably innovation. 

2:09 PM: Merit pay for teachers. Even Martians would agree, Bush tell us. Martians. 

2:08 PM: He's back on this self-esteem thing, which appears to be a problem five or ten years ago more so than it is currently. I guess it's easier to fix last year's problem than next year's problem.

2:07 PM: Three million skilled jobs go unfilled in these United States, says Bush. People who are on welfare and food stamps didn't graduate high school. 

2:04 PM: More algebra and less self-esteem says Bush and then says education is no longer an important value in the United States. 

2:03 PM: Bush just said Detroit's debt is nothing compared to the federal deficit/debt. If he actually believes that, and I don't believe any politician actually believes that enough to actually do something unpopular to fix the problem, but if he does believe that, it must make for some awkward moments when Jeb and his brother, George W. Bush, get together. 

1:59 PM: Forget "urban pioneers," Bush just referred to Detroit's entrepreneurial class as gardeners planting flowers in the desert. Detroit, there is your new cliche: Desert Flowers!

1:57 PM: If you're playing a Mackinac drinking game at home, take a shot because Jeb Bush just dropped the first "Detroit is a tale of two cities" reference at this year's conference. 

1:55 PM: Bush praises the "sweet aroma" of early mornings on Mackinac. He then, more seriously, praises Snyder. 

1:52 PM: Jeb Bush has reputation as one of the best and most popular governors in the nation, says Sandy Baruah.


Governor Rick Snyder

1:49 PM: Snyder says Michigan talked about reinventing itself in the early 1980s but when the national economy starting coming back, we dropped the ball on diversifying the local economy, et al. He says we can't do that again and must follow through.

1:45 PM: Reading proficiency at the third grade level by third grade is critical to education development, Snyder says. And the key to getting kids to read in third grade is pre-school. Snyder says universal pre-school is a priority for his administration. He's also talking about technical training, saying that tech. track is not a second-class educaiton.

1:42 PM: BOOO! Snyder just said the auto dealership business model was invented in Michigan and that was a good thing for both Michigan and the world. No, it's not. Free market groups like the Mackinac Center calls the dealer cartel "crony capitalism" and the Consumer's Federation of America says dealers end up costing new care buyers and $20B extra every year. That is not Pure Michigan. Not at all.

1:41 PM: "We should be embracing manufacturing and not pushing away manufacturing." - Snyder. He says agriculture is part of Michigan's manufacturing economy.  

1:39 PM: Snyder notes that the regional transit authority was long a hot topic at these conferences, but now it's finally a reality.


1:35 PM: Joseph Welch of a company called ITC is introducing Gov. Rick Snyder. At least I think he is. He keeps referring to Snyder as Schneider.

1:25 PM: Hello, all. I'm sitting in the Grand Hotel auditorium as Detroit Regional Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah open the conference. Rick Snyder will be on stage in a couple minutes. -- JTW

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