Cross-posted on Right Michigan at www.RightMichigan.com.

Talk about the economy and eyes can glaze over.  There are numbers and statistics and projections and data points and bar charts… it’s all very academic.  Except that it isn’t.  The Ivory Tower connects, this morning, with the human side of the Granholm – Cherry economy.

The faces of that economy?  A mom and a dad and their little girl, evicted for the first time in their lives after losing a job and struggling just to find a homeless shelter with an open bed.  And tragically, they’re hardly alone.

On Tuesday, people calling the Royal Oak offices of the South Oakland Shelter (SOS) were told there was one opening in the program, which has 30 beds in sites hosted by local congregations. Nine people, some trying to find space for their children and spouses as well, applied for it.

In September, shelter personnel fielded 848 requests for a space in the 90-day program; 31 got in. Nearly half of SOS’s clients are homeless for the first time, said Kevin Roach, executive director.

The strain on the shelter system spills onto all social services, hammered by falling fortunes in metro Detroit.

Gleaners Community Food Bank, which supplies 400 soup kitchens, shelters and neighborhood food programs is getting requests for 20% to 50% more food from many suburban clients, spokeswoman Anne Weekley said.

In the last three months of 2007, they delivered 7 million pounds of food. This year, in the final quarter, they anticipate delivering 9 million.

If you can read the story surrounding the statistics and look at the pictures of a little girl and an eleven year old boy and their families, forced into homeless shelters, without getting at least a little bit choked up, you aren’t looking hard enough.  

All of the abstracts sort of disappear when you put faces to the numbers.  This is one of the reasons each of us are involved in politics.  These kids are why we’re on blogs at unholy hours of the morning and night, why we argue with our friends and relatives, why we get so worked up come election time.  At the risk of stealing this week’s most popular cliché… “elections have consequences.”  

Read on…

Six years of Democratic leadership in the state of Michigan has led to skyrocketing unemployment, devastating foreclosures and families forced into the streets.  That’s the consequence of 2002.  The consequence of 2004, 2006 and 2008.  And a consequence we’re going to continue to face for the next couple of years.

I’m as human as the next guy.  I understand the desire in the back of all of our minds to point a finger and to say “I told you so” and to simply let the chips fall where they may.  I think it was HL Menken who said that “democracy is the theory that the people know what they want and deserve to get it, good and hard.”

And when you’re talking about the plural, big picture, faceless concept of “people,” there’s something to that.  But when you’re talking about three year olds living on the streets?  And yet, here we are.  Elections have consequences.

The Associated Press reports this morning, “Failure of auto industry could set off catastrophe.”

Advocates for the nation’s automakers are warning that the collapse of the Big Three — or even just General Motors — could set off a catastrophic chain reaction in the economy, eliminating up to 3 million jobs and depriving governments of more than $150 billion in tax revenue.

Elections have consequences.  And an emboldened Democratic party in Washington DC?  Those consequences could be particularly troubling for Michigan.  This state gained two members of the Dem majority last week Tuesday but somehow we’ve lost clout at the Capital.  According to the Detroit News, Michigan Rep. John Dingell could very well be stripped of his long-time leadership role on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

A California Democrat wants his job and Nancy Pelosi seems inclined to help him take it.  Tighter regulation of the Big 3 are expected to follow.  Michigan jobs will be lost but national Democrats seem to have given up on Michigan anyways.  The cycle continues.

Because elections have consequences.  720 days until the next one.  If those aren’t reasons enough to get off your backside THIS WEEKEND to do something, anything to make a difference, well, I’m afraid we’ll all get what’s coming to you.