Conservatives are often accused of being pro-business while Liberals consider themselves more pro-people and therefore the better of the two.
As a conservative, I accept that accusation and wear it proudly. I am pro-business.
Liberals, in their desire to be more pro-people than pro-business, though, haven’t the foggiest idea they’re actually hurting people more than helping them.
The illustration today comes from the far north-west corner of the contiguous 48, Seattle.
Boeing has just decided to not build it’s new 787 Dreamliner factory in Seattle. The taxes and regulatory environment is simply too taxing. It costs Boeing too much money to expand their operations in Seattle, and so they’ve moved to North Carolina.
In Seattle it would have taken years to navigate the permit process to build the massive new hangars. In North Carolina, it took days.
Because the government of Seattle and Washington state have failed to make it easy enough for businesses to begin, run, and maintain operations, thousands of jobs will be lost directly, or moved to North Carolina, and the myriad of dependent suppliers and small businesses which were supported by the employees of Boeing will lose most or all of their income.
So the liberal mind says “Yes! We showed that polluting monster who’s boss!”. And the conservative shakes their head.
Many people will move from Seattle to North Carolina now to continue working. These are productive and well-payed people who likely paid significant taxes on their income to Seattle and Washington state. With even less tax revenue the city and the state will have to decrease social services to the unproductive public teat slurpers.
Now that can’t make the liberals happy. So they’ll raise taxes on the poor saps left behind so they don’t have to lose any of their bought-off voting bloc.
North Carolina is directly benefiting from increased construction in the short term, and a massive influx of highly skilled jobs as well as the necessary social structures and new markets for delis and theatres and parks and playgrounds. By being pro-business North Carolina will reap the benefits of massive growth in tax revenue without even raising their tax rates.
There’s nothing pro-people about an anti-business environment.
There are caveats or qualifications to 100% business centric government that I believe are reasonable and necessary.
First, I don’t agree with any government, federal, state, or local, applying special tax breaks and exemption from processes for the purpose of attracting a single company. North Carolina has pushed through a deal that makes it easier for Boeing to operate in that state than an average business started by Joe Entrepreneur. Overall, the state is still much easier to work in than Seattle, but I believe, on principle, that the fact the state government had to scramble to build this special package should have indicated their overall regulatory and business environment isn’t quite what it ought to be for everybody.
Second, government regulation is often pro-specific-business rather than anti-general-business. Al Gore profits measurably from “green” technology. He’s put his money where his mouth is. Pro-green regulation benefits him directly as companies will work with his outfits to implement the required changes.
Regulation can also be pushed by large corporations which will still effect them, but because they are so much larger, the monetary penalty will be a much smaller percentage of the large company’s operating costs than for a small company. The small company will no longer be able to compete as the regulatory costs hit them hardest.
Regulation can also be used to stifle competition and build artificial barriers to the self-regulating abilities of the free market. Network Neutrality is an example of this. Google and other large content companies are the primary supporters and lobbyists for network neutrality. They are dependent on the infrastructure companies, such as AT&T to actually get their content to the end users, and they want to use the bludgeon of federal regulation to protect them from free market pressures brought by the carriers.
With the caveats that pro-business should mean, in an ideal world, pro-all-businesses, we find that a pro-business government environment is directly pro-people as well.
If governments realized the nature of this, there would be a race to the bottom in taxation and government leanness as states vied for the privilege of being the best for business. And the growth in business would mean more employed people, higher standard of living, and more tax revenue.
The final question is: are they willfully or ignorantly blind?
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