Think tank says Michigan needs to attract more rich people

Another piece on the local news last night, bemoaning the loss of population, reportedly net outflow of 33,000 in only the last three years.

The station’s “business editor”, a tool of the “JCs”, digs out a supposedly controversial report from 20 years ago that said Michigan needs more rich people.

Then he pivots to the need for a better educated workforce. Thing is, for decades, education and infrastructure, in the state have been short-funded, to enable the (L&Ses) to shower more money on the “wealthy residents”, which the report he references said the state needed. The public schools aren’t very good, the universities are exorbitantly expensive, and the roads were allowed to deteriorate to be some of the worst in the country.

Interestingly, of the three students the “reporter” asks where they want to live, two say California, one Colorado.

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People have been moving to warmer climates. Global warming may help, but it will take a long time; over the last 20 years Michigan has warmed 0.8°F.

By the way, since you don’t want more rich people in your state, do you want more poor people?


I would settle for the (L&Ses) to stop taking away from the Proles to enrich the rich.



This doesn’t seem like a binary choice. You can “attract” more rich people (as the slide states) while at the same time helping educate/groom future rich people and entice them to stay. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

The educated workforce comment suggests MI hasn’t been effective with either route, likely in part due to sticking with a declining American automotive industry. While cities like Pittsburgh pivoted from the steel industry to more insurance/finance, Detroit and other Michigan cities don’t seem to have made that evolution.

It isn’t whether you want wealth. It’s how you build an environment that creates and then retains it. Doing nothing more than adopting policy that begs the current rich population to simply throw you a bone is not only unsustainable but an inevitable race to the bottom since they will always be looking for a better deal.


These are not think tanks. These are beggars lying to the public for a tax cut.

It is make-believe from 20 years ago according to the OP.

There is no leverage based on lies at this point. Give it up.

States cannot print money to infinity, like DC is trying to do. States need to pay for things.

As noted before, the previous head (L&S), a “JC” himself, raised taxes on retirees and the working poor, and cut funding that cities and counties use to provide services for residents, to help pay for two rounds of tax cuts for “JCs”.

I have posted before, the graph that shows how state university funding has been cut by over half, since the 70s. with the costs shifted into the students.

I have posted before how Michigan has underfunded road maintenance, for decades. Michigan has one of the highest tax burdens on fuel, but some of the most underfunded roads, because the general revenue money that used to be allocated to road maintenance was used to help cover “JC” tax cuts instead.

I have posted before, how the individual tax burden in Michigan ranks 38th in the country, between South Carolina and Alabama.

I have posted before how, when the state finished 2022 with a big budget surplus, the Gov wanted to use some of the surplus to improve education and infrastruture funding, but all the (L&Ses) in the legislature could think of was more tax cuts for “JCs”.

Yet the “reporter” has the nerve to trot out that “study” that said the state had to be more attractive to rich people.



No doubt, and I believe the return on paying for schools, roads, services, and infrastructure leads to better long term returns than constantly paying for the next tax cut.

As someone fortunate enough to fall more toward the financially independent part of the scale, I can say the quality of things like schools and roads counts a ton as far as what I consider attractive. However, that doesn’t make me right or wrong. It simply puts my opinions and biases at the opposite end of the “reporter” and anyone else believing otherwise.

This was my main point. You can always debate what the right balance is. The one thing probably not up for debate at this point is pure trickle-down economics inevitably being a long-term loser. It’s surprising it still gets trotted out as often as it does.


So do the Feds.
The states can keep issuing bonds and going further in debt.
They will probably need to pay higher rates, but it’s the same principal as the Fed. It’s a different market for the bonds (less international buyers) but that could change I suppose.
They can raise taxes too, they just can’t print banknotes.

I pray for the headline:

“Michigan says Think Tanks need to hire smarter people”


What is the secret to running a successful think tank? Figure out what your target audience wants to hear, and design your study to say exactly that. A “supply side” bunch waves a big check at you, you publish a report that says “yes, rich people are the center of the universe, the Proles must be made to give up everything, in the service of the rich.”


Michigan revenue has been around 9% of [Michigan] GDP (with a few short ups and downs periodically) for many decades. How much more than 9% do you think it ought to be?


And Michigan spending has trended up over all those decades. Again, they are spending about 10% of GDP right now, how much do you think they ought to be spending?


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I have no idea, and honestly don’t care. I’m not a policy wonk.

I only know I (and many other adult taxpayers) have a choice of where we live based on the utility value of the services my family receives. If I like those services, I stay. If I don’t, I can leave.

I have zero preference on “what” percentage of GDP is spent as long as I feel “how” it is spent positively affects my family’s lifestyle. Do I feel the benefits we receive match or exceed the money we pay into the system? If so, great. If not, I’m certainly not thinking to myself “Damn…I sure would feel better about living here if only it was funded by a lower percentage of GDP.”

My guess is there are some parts of Michigan where I would like that balance and others where I wouldn’t. Just like every other state. You, of course, are 100% entitled to determine your utility value however you like.


The claim that you made is that they are “constantly paying for the next tax cut” instead of paying for the stuff that you want. Where exactly do you see “constant tax cuts” in the data? It’s been pretty steady over the decades.

Now if could be possible, even probable, that they are spending on stuff you (Michiganders) don’t really want, but you are the people who elect them, so in essence you are getting what you voted for.

I made no such “claim”. You are making an assumption, just like you seem to be assuming I am from or live in Michigan (neither of which is true).

Read the thread again. I was only responding to the suggestion in the original post that showering more money on wealthy residents was the obvious policy answer. And the sentence you reference clearly states “I” (meaning me and only me) believe paying for effective infrastructure is a better long-term investment than financing tax cuts. Nowhere in there was a judgement on what Michigan might or might not have done over the last few decades.

Like most things political, there is some rush toward making everything a binary battle zone. I am neither in the camp of constant tax hikes or constant tax cuts, which unfortunately seem to be the only labels allowed. While our lizard brains crave that simple black or white, the only constant is the world’s infinite shade of gray. For those fortunate enough, we get to choose our gray. My only “claim” was the utility value of my family’s comfort is a bigger factor to me personally than any GDP data.

Again, you are free to weigh the variables that matter to you any way you’d like.


I don’t live there and have not kept up with the machinations of the tax system in Michigan. But this analysis indicates that the Top 1% pay a lower tax rate than the bottom 99% of tax filers in Michigan. I would not be surprised to find that while the overall taxation rate has remained the same, the scale has been tilted to favor the already wealthy at the expense of the middle class and poor.

Your typical middle-income earner in Michigan pays about 70% more, as a share of income, than folks at the very top.”

I repeat, I have not done a deep dive into “Michigan taxes”, nor do I expect to, but a simple search brought this up, and in light of how taxation has been going in this country both nationally and at the state level (including my own), I was not surprised to find it.

States that have less regressive tax codes than Michigan tend to have robust income taxes that ask more of high-income people,” said Davis. “Michigan’s low, flat-rate income tax just doesn’t do that. It can’t balance out the regressive impact of all the other taxes that Michiganders are paying on the things they buy and the homes they live in.”

Among the regressive components of Michigan’s tax structure listed by the report were the lack of both an estate tax and Child Tax Credit (CTC), real estate transfer taxes that do not include higher rates for high-value sales and a flat rate for personal income taxes.

There are some mitigating factors in the report, and if you want to find them help yourself; my point is that you can look at taxation being level without realizing that depending on your individual situation it may not be level at all.


From the article:

In fact, Michigan is among 41 states in which high-income families are taxed at lower rates than everyone else and among 44 states that worsen income inequality by making incomes more unequal after collecting state and local taxes.

As observed before, why move out of Michigan? Most states are arranged to most benefit the “JCs”, at the expense of everyone else.