Rick Haglund writes the "Micheconomy" column for the Michigan Advance. He's a former reporter and business columnist for Booth Newspapers, now the MLive Media Group, with extensive experience covering Michigan’s economy and the auto industry. He now works as a freelance writer based in Southeast Michigan.
Rick Haglund: Whitmer says ‘bigotry is bad for business.’ Is it true?
By: Rick Haglund - March 27, 2023
It was a clever phrase designed to grab headlines, and it did. “Bigotry is bad for business,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in her January State of the State speech, imploring lawmakers to add anti-discrimination protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation to the state’s civil rights law. They ultimately obliged and Whitmer signed the […]
Rick Haglund: Michigan’s state budget is flush with cash. Is it sustainable?
By: Rick Haglund - March 14, 2023
For decades, sluggish tax revenue and difficult funding decisions defined Michigan’s state government budgeting process. Yes, total revenue went up every year. But it wasn’t nearly enough to keep up with inflation and address growing spending needs for roads, education, payments to local governments and other responsibilities of state government. Oddly enough, the COVID pandemic […]
Rick Haglund: More education funding is a good start to boost Michigan’s economic competitiveness
By: Rick Haglund - February 27, 2023
Thirty years ago, then-Gov. John Engler used to say that the best-educated state wins. Michigan has not been winning. It ranks among the bottom 10 states in high school completion. Nearly half of Michigan’s 2022 high school graduates were not enrolled in college six months after graduating. Fourth- and eighth-grade reading scores plunged in national […]
Rick Haglund: Why repealing Right to Work is unlikely to hurt Michigan’s economy
By: Rick Haglund - February 4, 2023
On a bitter December day in 2012, the Michigan Legislature passed legislation — disguised as a measure to give workers more “freedom”— that in reality was designed to strip the financial and political power of labor unions. Thousands of union members and their supporters protested at the Capitol, but to no avail. Republican lawmakers who […]
Rick Haglund: Michigan Dems offer a refreshing change to a people-based economic growth strategy
By: Rick Haglund - January 15, 2023
In a recent column, I argued that Michigan needs to switch from a business-focused economic development strategy to one centered on expanding its workforce. The reason is pretty simple. Michigan, like other northern states, is growing older and running out of workers. Deaths outpace births in the state in 2020 and 2021, according to the […]
Rick Haglund: Illinois auto plant idling doesn’t signal demise of Midwest manufacturing
By: Rick Haglund - December 19, 2022
We’ve seen this happen many times: A Detroit automaker indefinitely “idles” an aging assembly plant that builds a slow-selling model and has been shedding workers for decades. Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, announced Dec. 9 it will indefinitely halt operations at its Belvidere, Illinois assembly plant on Feb. 28. The shutdown is called an idling because […]
Rick Haglund: Newly empowered Democrats must prioritize talent development over business attraction
By: Rick Haglund - December 5, 2022
The last time Democrats controlled Michigan state government, personal computers were just beginning to enter American homes. Electric cars were a laboratory experiment. Bay City native Madonna, who will become Medicare eligible next year, had just released her first album. And the iPhone, which transformed how we communicate with each other, wouldn’t be introduced for […]
Rick Haglund: Self-driving cars aren’t coming anytime soon
By: Rick Haglund - November 8, 2022
Updated, 12:19 p.m., 11/8/22 They promised us self-driving cars. Nearly a decade ago, automakers predicted that by now driving your own car or truck would be akin to riding a horse — something you do for recreation on weekends. During the week, you’d be ferried to the office, grocery store and hair salon, either by […]
Rick Haglund: Economic worries vying with abortion rights for Michigan voters in gov’s race
By: Rick Haglund - October 23, 2022
Updated, 2:50 p.m., 10/24/22 Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in June, abortion has been the top issue in the Michigan governor’s race. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who strongly favors women’s reproductive rights, has enjoyed a substantial lead over Republican challenger Tudor Dixon, who is opposed to […]
Rick Haglund: Michigan is betting big on electric vehicles with tax breaks. Will it pay off?
By: Rick Haglund - October 10, 2022
Critics of the federal government’s $50 billion bailout of bankrupt General Motors in 2009 disparaged the automaker as “Government Motors.” Today, state and federal governments have become major financial backers of the entire domestic auto industry’s conversion to electric vehicle manufacturing. Is this a critical public-private partnership needed to save the planet from greenhouse gas-spewing […]
Rick Haglund: What’s the best way to lower the cost of college in Michigan?
By: Rick Haglund - September 24, 2022
In my most recent column, I opined that President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt would do little to address the high cost of getting a four-year college degree or higher. I also outlined a variety of reasons why college has become out of reach for so many, including […]
Rick Haglund: Student loan forgiveness will aid millions, but college affordability problems remain
By: Rick Haglund - September 7, 2022
President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel as much as $20,000 per borrower in college federal student loan debt will help millions burdened by skyrocketing costs of higher education over the past several decades. In Michigan, 1.4 million residents will benefit from the loan forgiveness program, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. As many as half could see […]