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Lawrence Tech professor: health care and free trade are key issues in Michigan primary

Release Date: January 10, 2008

Southfield, Mich. – Health care and free trade are two topics that Michigan voters are likely to consider before casting their ballots in Tuesday’s presidential primary, according to Harold Hotelling, an economics professor at Lawrence Technological University.

Hotelling is also a lawyer and has expertise in business regulation and how the law affects economics.

Since there is only one candidate on the Democratic primary ballot in Michigan, Hotelling sees the debate on issues coming on the Republican side where Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appear to be the top contenders for Michigan’s delegates to the national convention.

Hotelling said McCain and Romney have different approaches to health care. While McCain primarily looks to the market system to find solutions through more competition, Romney spearheaded the establishment of the first state universal health care system in the country.

“The Massachusetts model is an interesting new approach, and Romney deserves credit for trying to do something,” Hotelling said. “But we don’t know yet how it will turn out.”

McCain also has remained more in step with longstanding Republican support for free trade, even though that policy is often blamed for the loss of thousands of jobs in Michigan.

“McCain has been more resistant to turning back the clock and making changes to NAFTA, for instance,” Hotelling said. “He says those jobs are gone and they’re not coming back.”

Hotelling said Romney’s ads seem to indicate that he would take steps alleviate the “one-state recession” that he sees in Michigan.

“He seems to be saying, ‘Hey, I’m from Michigan, and I feel your pain,’ but doesn’t seem to offer specific solutions for Michigan,” Hotelling said.

Both former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani favor free-market solutions for health care. Huckabee is an ardent supporter of free trade, while Giuliani has been quiet on that issue, according to Hotelling.

Hotelling said primary voters also might want to consider whether an insider or outsider would get more done as the next president. McCain has more than 20 years of experience on Capitol Hill and believes he has a better understanding of what can be done, while Romney promises he can bring about more changes as an outsider.

Lawrence Technological University,, offers more than 60 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes 75 years ago, and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus is in Southfield, with education centers in Lansing, Livonia, Clinton Township, Traverse City and Petoskey. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia.