Wednesday, 3/16/11, Public Square


Filed under The Public Square

22 responses to “Wednesday, 3/16/11, Public Square

  1. indypendent

    I am still amazed (or is that disheartened) by the new and improved GOP constant verbal assault on public teachers but yet they try to justify their verbal attacks as ‘only on the unions, not the people’.


    What do these elephants think unions are made of – paper doll cutouts?

    These are real people, with real families, with real problems of trying to hang on to their jobs while the very same corporate masters who wrecked the economy want even more money.

    I remember the days when corporate and labor used to work together for the good of the company. But that is not the case anymore. There are too many shareholders who are only there for the short term gains and they demand
    they get their money come hell or high water. Then we’ve got CEOs all too willing to do whatever it takes to make that money to keep the shareholders quiet – for that current quarter – and as a bonus the CEO gets multi-million dollar bonuses when they outsource American jobs. And on top of that – the US government awards that same company with tax breaks and/or subsidies to outsource their American jobs.

    Hey what a sweet deal………

    Why on earth would any union man or woman be upset???? I guess they are just socialists and/or communists that hate America.

    heavy,heavy sarcasm//

    • prairie pond

      Hi Indy–we have a knack for mutual posting! And after reading my rant below, you’ll know that I am dumbfounded that business doesn’t see how organized labor could be the key to having a well trained and world class workforce.

      They’d rather have humanbots. Which will NOT give them a competitive edge in the global economy. They need the kind of workers Richard Florida describes. But, ya know, those kinds of pesky workers actually demand living wages and benefits, and well, one simply may not speak to the king that way….

      • prairie pond

        … and by the way….

        Ray Marshall, a labor economist at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, was Jimmy freakin’ CARTER’s secretary of labor and had the answers on how to create what he called “high skill, high wage” jobs in partnership with government, business and organized labor.

        But no one listened to him in the seventies, and if he’s still alive, I’d bet no one is listening to Ray right now. This issue is old, and the solutions or at least possible solutions have been know for a long time.

        But ya know, I said below, most economists get paid NOT to say these things. heh. And people like me, or Ray, or Richard, get fired when we do!

      • prairie pond

        A couple of linkies to my friend Ray, one of the most brilliant and humble men I’ve ever met. I had the pleasure of working with him on a project with CWA (Communication Workers of America) and IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) back in the early nineties. I love that guy.

  2. prairie pond

    I’m bringing this discussion from yesterday up here, because sometimes things get lost in yesterday’s thread.

    617 is correct here: “From memory, the lottery was sold on the premise that economic development would bring more industries to Kansas, more jobs, generating more tax revenue, thereby allowing taxes (primarily income) to be reduced.”

    To my everlasting shame, I was working in economic development when the lottery campaign was afoot. And indeed, the lottery was “sold” to the voters exactly as he said, although IIRC, it was property taxes they were trying to lower. This was before statewide “reappraisal”.

    Does what 617 said sound familiar? It should. It was the mid eighties, and the hey day of “trickle down” or “supply side” economics. “Voo doo economics” as George the first once said before he saw the light (through st. ronnie’s ears!).

    And 617 is also correct when he says that education is now the most important building block for true and sustainable economic development. That is because a trained and stable workforce is the number one thing businesses are looking for, after cash gifts and tax abatements.

    You see, the state, hell, the NATION’s economic development programs and policies are ALL built on ONE GIANT LIE. The lie is that “people follow jobs” and that if we just create jobs (or the illusion of job creation), the people will move to our community and circulate their money, our industrial tax base and tax revenue will be increased, and all will be well with the world.

    Common sense, Thomas Frank and Richard Florida have put the lie to that. Businesses now make hollow promises, with little or no accountability to grantors, that if they are just given X amount of tax dollars as gifts, they will “create” or retain (and retention is the real killer) X number of jobs. Oh, and by the way, not only do businesses expect that tax dollar gift pony under the tree, they are not going to PAY any future taxes locally or at the state level. In order for them to come to your community and spread their magic economic fairy dust, they demand abatements into the future as well as a big cash largess right now.

    So… down the road… when the jobs don’t materialize as promised in their rosy predictions, there’s no penalty to be paid. “Opps” they say. “We misoverestimated the jobs.” And the grantors (city,state, county) say “meh, it’s ok, it wasn’t real money, it was tax dollars.”

    And the tax base is also not increased because, well, we gave them abatements on those taxes, so the grantors didn’t recoup their investment by increased tax collections either. “Opps, we did it again” to quote Britteny Spears. “Never mind” to quote Gilda playing Emily Litella.

    And Florida, in his “Rise of the Creative Class,” noted and proved that the ever elusive brass ring of economic development, JOBS, do not bring people into your community, or the benefits of rising population. In fact, jobs to where the workers already are. Jobs follow people, people don’t follow jobs.

    So.. the entire economic development myth is just that. Myth. Or “lie” is probably more accurate. Economists have known these things for a long time, they just get paid not to say them out loud.

    But, ya gotta give the devil his due. It’s been and is a hell of a scam that’s been perpetrated on the American people for almost 50 years, no? And all based on the lies as noted in the beginning.

    So… think about THAT the next time you buy a lottery ticket.

    And thus endeth the economic development lecture for the day.

    • Good morning, Dr. Pond; your lecture was quite apt and timely. Much appreciated.

      You are correct about the taxes being property vs. income; the mists of time have affected my recollection.

      For everyone else: Richard Florida is brilliant, imho, and brings the truth. I don’t mean to slight Thomas Frank, it’s just my fascination with folks with those initials after their name. Common sense; something my dear wife possessed to the max, and, as she observed archly on more than one occasion, something that was lacking, from time to time, in your humble correspondent’s toolbox.

      • prairie pond

        I agree with your assessment of Florida. And as for Frank, brilliant may not be the word, but he was able to articulate what others of us knew but couldn’t find exactly the right words to communicate. That the “economic incentives” game is extortion at best, and that given the chance, Kansans will vote against their own economic interests every time. Culture wars uber alles. They vote for their favorite evangelical apostle while said apostle is picking their pockets and laughing at them all the way to the bank.

    • wicked

      I don’t buy lottery tickets.

    • Since I dropped by weblog, wishing I hadn’t, I guess it’s okay to drop by here and post on an old one:

      I worked for the koch kartel in McPherson when they opened their “shelf-stable” pizza crust business there. (this is all in relation to Dr. Pond’s post, BTW) The city gave them mega tax breaks with the understanding all hires were to be from the surrounding (read twenty-five) area. Turned out that’s not what happened. Many were from Salina and further out, with a host of white collars flown in via head hunters. Koch’s claim was they couldn’t find qualified people, even though anybody who’s been to McPherson knows it’s a production-based economy there, although agriculture brings in the big bucks. The people were there; Koch wanted their people in regardless. They started out paying really well, but after the first batch were hired, the new wages dropped by volumes. The old bait and switch tactics used by low life’s everywhere.

      So just because people are there, it doesn’t guarantee a new company will use them. The new corporate envelope seems to be fill it with a mix. That way new cliques take longer to form, leaving the company to integrate their particular climate more easily.

      The point became moot when Koch sold the plant. I was warned of this before I took the job by my then boss, but the dollars were there, so moving seemed like the thing to do. Plus, it was in my Automation area of expertise. Should have listened, but that job did open up some excellent opportunities after koch.

      One thing I did learn about Koch, that I’d never seen anyplace else, was if you were not trying to get your bosses job, you weren’t doing yours: another thing my old boss warned me about. Koch is about creating an atmosphere of distrust, much like their Americans for prosperity.

      • Great to read you, Jammer. I don’t have any idea why your post went to the Pending file. Different sign-in?

        The Koch brothers are evil. And have too many people in their pockets so their evil influence is wide spread.

  3. prairie pond

    HA! I dont think your wife was wrong often, but I think you possess more than your share of common sense.

    I quote the ever sage John Prine. “It don’t make no sense that common sense don’t make no sense no more.”

    I often feel that if John Prine were in charge of America, we’d be a lot better off. At least we’d eat a lot of peaches…

  4. prairie pond

    Hee hee heee. “Dr. Pond.”

    More like Doctor Strangelove.

    And I have yet to learn to love the bomb…

  5. indypendent

    Good to see you PP – is the weather better out your way? IIRC – last time you were stuck at home……are you now unstuck??

    I agree with the premise that for way too long we taxpayers have been gouged to give these businesses anything they desired on their wish list on the promise of bringing new jobs with them.

    But how many times do the taxpayers need to be thoroughly hoodwinked before we wake up and smell the coffee?

    But, no, we cannot smell the coffee because some of us are too busy getting drunk on that corporate tea.

  6. indypendent

    Reagan brought us that myth of the trickle down economics.

    It is no coincidence – IMHO – the same people who believe in trickle down economics are the same folks who demonize education – especially science.

    For anyone knows that plants get their water through their roots system and not through their outermost leaves.

    In fact, those outermost leaves are the places that need to be cut back from time to time in order for the entire plant to thrive. Maybe it’s time for pruning some of those leechy corporate masters that suck the very life out of everything they touch?

  7. indypendent

    When will the silliness of the new and improved GOP come to an end? Now the RNC Chairman (this current guys make one miss Michael Steele) is whining about Obama picking his NCAA brackets.

    Pardon me -but weren’t these the same folks that praised George W. Bush because he was ‘one of them’ and someone they could have a beer with?

    But when Obama – a known basketball fan – picks his NCAA brackets – all hell breaks loose.

    Now this new and improved GOP are even sillier than their old version and I predict this new group will turn off so many independent voters and even their own moderate GOP voters that nothing – and I mean nothing – will save them from the tsunami coming with their name on it.

    P.S. and when that tsuanmi hits them – I expect not a one of them to come to the government for any help to bail them out.

  8. fragotwofortwo

    no comment,.

    fnord hope your well