Michigan Economy Nearing Life Support

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," April 2, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: You may have noticed we are not in Washington D.C. tonight. We are in Michigan. We will tell you exactly why in just a few minutes.

But one thing you know -- Michigan is the home of the United States auto industry, which tonight is on life support. The economic crisis in the auto industry is spreading now to other businesses. It is literally drowning all of Michigan.

Just how bad is it here, and what can be done to help? Steve Moore from "The Wall Street Journal" is back with us. Steve, I will start by showing you the newspaper headlines here, where it says, "Up to 50 schools could close in Detroit," up to 50 public schools. That is above the fold on the front page of the newspaper.

That's extraordinary, 50 public schools. And that's just the beginning. They talk about $166 million overspent this fiscal year. It is spreading across this state. It looks almost like the California wildfires. What will happen to Michigan?

STEVE MOORE, CO-AUTHOR, "THE END OF PROSPERITY": It is such a tragedy. And, Greta, like you, I am a Midwesterner like you. I know you're from Wisconsin. I am from Illinois. I love the Midwest and I love the rugged, individualist, hard hat spirit of the people in the Midwest, especially a state like Michigan.

But what's happened in that state - and, by the way, this is an amazing statistic. About 10 to 12 years ago when John Engler was governor, Michigan was one of the leading job creators. And now it is, of course, losing jobs. I think they lose about one job every six minutes in Michigan.

It is just a tragic story, and I think it is a result of too much regulation, overspending, high taxes, and also, Michigan is not a right to work state. And so a lot of factories have moved out of Michigan to states like Tennessee and Texas and Florida.

Watch Greta's interview

VAN SUSTEREN: It is extraordinary, because you read about how so many families are leaving Michigan. There is so much focus on the auto industry.

But the auto industry, it's so much more is beyond that. Even if you think of textiles in other parts of the country, they supply the textiles inside every automobile.

I should add there is some good news in this state, and I would be remiss if I didn't, is that the Final Four game, the Final Four will be here in Michigan. And Michigan State is - at least there good news for Michigan State.

But outside of that, it is extraordinary. It is almost like the state is being decimated, because he whole lifeline is this one industry.

MOORE: By the way, go Spartans. I am a Big 10 guy.

I am a not there, but my friends in Michigan say that it is just totally united the state. It's given people in that state a real lift. And I hear, and maybe you can confirm this Greta, that even Michigan fans are rooting for Michigan State, which almost never happens.

You are right about the problems in this state. And it is interesting because the governor there, Jennifer Granholm, has been governor for almost eight years now, she has been very much like a Barack Obama in her economic strategy - more spending, higher taxes, we're going to invest in all these programs.

And it has been a complete catastrophe. And my worry is that Barack Obama wants to make America look like Michigan, not make America look like Texas.

VAN SUSTEREN: And before I say goodbye to you, let me read one other thing, "Thousands expected in the next two years in layoffs," thousands. The news is very bleak, except for, of course, the big game.

Steve, thank you.


VAN SUSTEREN: And tomorrow night, a special edition of "On the Record." You are going inside the General Motors plant in Lansing, Michigan. You know GM is in some big, big trouble, literally hanging on by a thread.

And guess what? Whether we want to admit it or not, GM's problems are our problems. This isn't a corner store. This really does affect you.

We will take you inside a GM plant, because we want you to see what is going on with your own eyes. That is tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. eastern.

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