About Growth & Justice

  • Growth & Justice is a progressive think tank committed to making Minnesota's economy simultaneously more prosperous and fair. We believe that at a time of deep partisan division, Minnesotans can unite around one goal: a strong and growing state economy that provides a decent standard of living for all.

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July 06, 2009

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Craig Westover

Welcome aboard.

We free marketers have always noted that preferential treatment for specific industries is bad economic policy. We oppose programs like JOBz. We agree that tax and spend policy has more impact on economic development than special perks for specific businesses. We understand that "pro-business" is not the same as "pro-free market."

Of course, the sin of shuffling stimulus money lies in providing the stimulus money in the first place -- at the level of threshold principle there is no difference between a state providing budget money to specific industries or the state providing stimulus money to different specific industries -- but you know that, right?

James Brazier

Regulation of federalism to create a level economic playing field is unlikely unless done by the federal government through the exchange of money for compliance with certain conditions. An economic recession is the best timing of such a new policy. One example of a policy could be to offer states budget deficit insurance with the condition that each recipient state be required to have tax and spending policies that create the level economic playing field.

Charlie Quimby

Craig,
Thanks for the welcome, but Growth & Justice has not been sailing on the Good Ship Lollipop. We've consistently called out the shortcomings of JOBZ-like subsidies.

Stimulus dollars do bring perils, too, as the links describe. One difference, though, is stimulus spending is supposed to be short-term.

Like using a one-time accounting shift to get through a bad period, stimulus spending might have a limited role. But the way you patch a boat in an emergency is certainly not the way to build one.

Craig Westover

Charlie --

Football players get knocked down all the time while you and I may trip and fall just one in a while, but gravity works the same in all cases. So does economic principle. "short-term" is not a justification for stimulus programs -- they do the same damage as industry and business subsidies.

James --

Regulating federalism is a Draconian cure far worse than the disease of state subsidies for business. "Regulated federalism" is an oxymoron. A quid pro quo to states to get their citizens tax dollars back has always been little more than a bribe to end run the Constitution. Leveling any kind of field is a bad basis for public policy.

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