Thursday, October 01, 2009

Taxing Us Into Prosperity

I am a bit discouraged this morning with the way that things have progressed down in Lansing of late. Faced with unprecedented pressure on Michigan taxpayers and a growing number of citizens just waiting to flee the state for better opportunities, there are still a great number of politicians in Lansing chomping at the bit to raise taxes further in order to create jobs.

It seems as if every dollar taken from taxpayers these days is done for the purpose of creating jobs.

I love this quote.

"Police officers and firefighters protect our neighborhoods, our property and our lives," said House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Twp.). "We have to ensure that public safety remains a top priority. No business wants to locate in a state that allows criminals to take over its cities or doesn't have the manpower to respond to fires. To keep our residents safe and to grow our economy, we must protect the jobs of those who protect us."
It used to be that putting out a house fire was, you know, to save the house. It used to be that tossing criminals behind bars was to protect citizens and punish the offenders. Now, apparently, these activities are primarily engaged in to promote job creation. (Oh, if we don't want criminals to take over the cities perhaps Detroit will refrain in the future from electing people like Monica Conyers and Kwame Kilpatrick to office.)

I'm sort of partial to this quote too...
"In order to create good-paying jobs, we must have a highly educated workforce," said House Majority Leader Kathy Angerer (D-Dundee). "Promise Scholarships open the doors to higher education for a whole generation of kids who have worked hard for the chance to compete for 21st century jobs. If we want a strong middle class that will attract emerging industries, then we must provide our young people with access to an affordable college education."
It doesn't end there either. How many times have we heard that it is a "green economy" that will draw people to Michigan and help us compete for the jobs of tomorrow?
The moment is now to use our lean, retooled American manufacturing sector to build the green cars, batteries, a smart electric grid, wind turbines and solar panels that will lead us to energy independence.

It's a time of dramatic, historic, national transformation. And despite today's devastating news, Michigan is ready to lead.
The same argument is made about Michigan's inclusion in a high speed rail system.
"Public transportation has gone underutilized in Michigan for far too long. A strong, interconnected mass transportation system is absolutely vital to competing in the global marketplace and will trigger the economic development we need to turn things around here in Michigan."
It goes on and on and on.

There is virtually no line item in our state budget that cannot be used to argue that it helps to attract business and create jobs.

The problem is, of course, that this argument is exactly bass ackwards. It is a strong business community and the jobs and the wealth that it helps create that provides communities with the resources to adequately protect their citizens from fire and crime, educate its children, provide for public transportation systems, and creates the framework for tomorrow's businesses. It is never the other way around.

If Michigan bureaucrats want increasing wealth to return to this state it can only do so by creating conditions in which businesses can grow profitably, expand, and in turn hire people who will then pay reasonable taxes for police and fire protection, etc. It cannot be accomplished any other way, and it certainly cannot be accomplished by specifically promoting taxation and regulation that choke businesses of their ability to profit.

Too many of our elected officials, even after the second government shut down in only three years, still have not figured this out.

Now you know why I'm discouraged.

cross posted at Right Michigan

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