Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Gazoo Government

I happened to stumble across Turner Hall's 4th Street Forum this morning while flipping through the channels. Eric Isbister, CEO Gen Met Manufacturing, was part of a panel discussing Wisconsin's "business climate." Mr. Isbister obviously read his Republican business climate talking-points before going on the show. Government needs to get out of the way, government needs to regulate less, taxes need to be lowered...but the government should be training people and providing an educated workforce for the private sector and helping to fill positions for these private sector companies when needed.

Despite decades of evidence to the contrary, Isbister believes Repulican policies are better for small business in the long-term. Jon Perr elaborates on the failure of Republicans policies over the years, based on numerous economic indicators.

It's as if private-sector CEOs see the government as Gazoo, from the Flintstones. A magical entity that can appear only when you want and whom will make whatever you need happen and then go away.

The Fiscal Policy Institute has found, States with minimum wages above the Federal level have had faster small business and retail job growth. Raise The Minimum Wage has more on wages across the country. One would hope the U.S. would be trying to increase the wages, and thus the quality of life, for it's citizens.

Public sector compensation was a convenient scapegoat of the right-wing to blame for our recession. But, as the Center for American Progress has shown, State budget deficits are not an employee compensation problem. The Great Recession has crushed budgets all around. The busting of the bubble and subsequent lack of demand are the real culprits.

Empirical evidence has been quite clear - cutting taxes does not lead to economic, income or wage growth, nor does it lead to job creation. Lane Kenworthy has done international comparisons and found higher taxes aren't necessarily bad for the economy. Kenworthy has also discovered that the tax burden on the top 1% is lower now than it was in the 1970s. Alejandro Reuss also explains that lower tax rates do not increase government revenue, as conservatives illogically claim. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that higher state taxes bring more revenue, not more migration.

The "business climate" talking-point is merely an extension of the mythology that is trickle-down, neoliberal, supply-side economics. Another fable the conservatives can spin to claim regulation is burdensome, taxes are too high, and government is always to blame. People need to, finally, realize the right-wing has basically made this stuff up. The real world just doesn't match up with the stories Republicans are selling.

Looking at the evidence, reality does appear to have a liberal bias. It's time for all of us to stop giving equal time, equal weight or the benefit of believing their views are based on rational or reasoned analysis, to these Republicans fairytales of how the world works and what helps it work best.

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