[Note: Aaron Wissner is founder of Local Future, a Michigan-based local action organization]
The future of Michigan is grim. At this point in time, as I surmised and began talking about three years ago, the domestic automakers are on the brink of bankruptcy.
Michigan employs directly 127,000 at Ford, GM and Chrysler, with up to ten times than number of jobs which would vanish if the big three closed their doors.
This huge number of 1.27 million jobs lost is in comparison to the 4.2 million people currently employed in Michigan. Michigan is already tied for the worst jobless rate in the USA with over 9.3% or over 425,000 Michiganders unemployed.
A loss of 1.27 million jobs in Michigan due to the failure of the big three would rocket Michigan's unemployment number to over 37%, which would be the worst in Michigan's history by far, and decimate Michigan's economy.
Currently, the big three bring lots of money into Michigan. For just the direct employees, at a $50,000 per employee average, that translates to over $6 billion per year of money coming in to Michigan, and again, up to ten times that number with indirect and spinoff employment.
By comparison, the value or market capitalization of Ford and GM combined (Chrysler is privately owned) is less than $6 billion.
In addition to the automotive crisis, Michigan is in an energy crisis. In 2007, Michigan imported over $26 billion in the form of coal, petroleum (including gasoline, diesel, etc.), natural gas and uranium. This puts an overwhelming and constant drain on Michigan's people.
Michigan is at the brink of a historical change, waiting on a hope that the big three can stay in business during a time of severe economic and energy uncertainty. It is now safe to say: Michigan is in crisis.
Aaron Wissner is a teacher, educator, organizer and guest speaker. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with emphasis on mathematics, science, and education. Mr. Wissner has taught and consulted for sixteen years in public school, in areas ranging from mathematics, science, computers, to leadership and television news production. He is the founder and organizer of the grassroots Local Future Network, a non-profit educational outreach organization dedicated to saving Earth through culture change.