Brookings on "The Vital Center", rebuilding the Great Lakes Region

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A reminded to myself to read this later, and a pointer to all of you whom I know will be interested: The Vital Center: A Federal-State Compact to Renew the Great Lakes Region.

From the executive summary:

With one foot planted in a waning industrial era, the other in the emerging global economy, the region is teetering between a future marked by growth and innovation, and one that conforms to the “Rust Belt” label applied to the region due to the decline of its factory-based economy.

The time is now for Great Lakes leaders to articulate a meaningful agenda for what the states of the region and the federal government can do together to ensure that this economic giant steps in the right direction.

Michigan 2006 Ballot Proposal 5 - Education Funding (NO)

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Like Proposal 4, this year's Proposal 5 is a crowd pleaser. I expect it will pass handily. Like Proposal 4, however, it will be passing without my support. My objection to this proposal is exactly opposite that I have to 4; Proposal 5 is entirely too small for the problem it means to address.

"But Murph," you say, "How can a proposal that requires half a billion in additional State funding to K-16 education immediately, and annual increases of at least inflation, to be 'small'? This is huge!"

Not for the problem it's addressing.

Michigan 2006 Ballot Proposal 4 - Eminent Domain. (NO)

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In general, I'm skeptical of Constitutional amendments. Ballot proposals in general are suspect - why vote yes on this particular solution? Is it the best solution, or just the first one that well-intentioned supporters put together without considering the consequences? Beyond even that, I tend to see the Constitution, whether of Michigan or the United States, as something that's supposed to change only very slowly. Why is the Constitution the proper place to make this change, and not the legislature? Or the judiciary, if the problem meant to be fixed is a matter of bad law? Any Constitutional amendment put before me, therefore, has a high burden of proof to meet before I even consider the content.

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