Last Thursday, Adrian College alum and Democrat Verg Bernero, the mayor of Lansing, came to the school to speak to students. He was on campus at the invitation of Phi Sigma Alpha (PSA), the honorary Political Science fraternity.
During his speech, Bernero discussed things that were wrong with the United States economy, including outsourcing and the financial issues the Big Three (GM, Ford and Chrysler) have been facing.
According to Bernero, when the Big Three needed money, they were laughed at by the Washington elite.
“The real truth, the biggest truth, is that Wall Street and Washington don’t understand companies that make something,” Bernero said. According to him, Wall Street doesn’t deal often with people who get their hands dirty for a living and they don’t get their hands dirty at all.
To the people on Wall Street, the failure of the auto industries is just the failure of a business. And the reason the business failed is because somebody didn’t prepare like he or she should have.
Another problem Bernero talked about was that Wall Street was told the Big Three that their problem was they failed to cater to the people who buy the cars they manufacture. Bernero said this isn’t correct: the government would like to see greener, cleaner cars produced, but that’s not necessarily what the public wants. What the public desires are trucks and SUVs, which is what the Big Three have been producing.
Bernero also accused the people on Wall Street and in Washington of encouraging outsourcing.
“Wall Street has been forcing the exodus of jobs and industry overseas,” Bernero said.
Bernero said the people on Wall Street and other politicians have been taking money from companies and people who can’t afford to have it taken.
“It’s Robin Hood in reverse,” Bernero said.
Bernero also commented on Republicans and Democrats having become too middle-of-the-road to say they’re really either party.
“The Republicrats are running Washington,” Bernero said.
Bernero accused the people in Washington of keeping the general public focused on small issues, like health care, to keep them from focusing on bigger problems that could get the people in Washington in trouble.
To fix this and other issues, Bernero encourages people to get involved. They have to take back the government from Wall Street and the elites who run the country. People need to bring industry back to American soil and stop buying from countries we should be seeing as competition, like China.
“We’ve gone from Gross Domestic Production to Gross Domestic Consumption,” Bernero said.
James Hanley, associate professor of political science and faculty advisor for PSA, thought Bernero might have been focusing on the wrong things in his speech.
“He understated the importance of banks and overstated the importance of manufacturing,” Hanley said.
Though Hanley may not have agreed with everything Bernero said, he was still pleased to have Bernero on campus.
“The speakers shouldn’t just be people who agree with me,” Hanley said.
Hanley said he looks forward to having other speakers from other political parties speaking on campus so students and faculty can hear from a large range of schools of thought. One such person is
Republican Mike Rogers, the current representative for Michigan’s eighth congressional district.
Senior Matt Stiller, president of PSA, was pleased Bernero was able to visit AC.
“(Bernero’s visit) makes Pi Sigma Alpha look good and it makes the college look good,” Stiller said.
Stiller thought Bernero set a good example for students thinking of perusing a career in politics.
“He is a mayor of a small mid-west city and he has to be global,” Stiller said. “I think that’s amazing.”
Hanley agreed with Stiller.
“He’s successful because he’s very powerful,” Hanley said. “He’s not a wallflower; he’s dynamic.”