Three bills currently making their way through the trial-lawyer-friendly Michigan legislature would undo years of hard work on legal reform in that state — much of it begun under our current boss and former Michigan Governor, John Engler. Indeed, it was creating a better legal climate in part that enabled Michigan’s economy to soar. But now, they are backsliding, moving in the wrong direction, and they have the economy to prove it.
These bills specifically target the pharmaceutical industry. While we don’t typically get involved in state issues, there are object lessons in here for all of us. We happen to agree with this editorial in lat Friday’s Detroit News entitled, “Kiss life sciences goodbye if lawsuit bills are passed.” The title pretty much says it all.
We’ve said repeatedly in this space that innovation is the life blood of manufacturing. Yet litigation — and its constant threat — is the single biggest innovation killer there is. We spend more on litigation in this country than any other country on the planet. In fact, we spend more on tort costs than these countries spend on their entire economies. A sad state of affairs. Says the Detroit News:
“Michigan already ranks near the bottom of states in which to do business. Forbes ranked Michigan the 45th “best” state in which to do business last year, and only one item — the state’s regulatory environment — kept it from being worse.”
Let’s hope Michigan comes to its senses and doesn’t run off any more jobs than they already have. But in case they decide to join California in the economic death wish category, let’s hope this doesn’t catch on anywhere else. There are at least 48 other states that will be more than happy to take these jobs.
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