The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

21 January 2006

The book of exodus

Jack Boyte points to the Delta Faucet closing in Chickasha and the desperate attempt by state officials to save GM's Oklahoma City Assembly plant, and reminds us:

In the recent sessions passed, the legislature has passed "Right to Work" and "Workers Compensation Reform" bills, all touted as saviors of jobs and imperative to creating new jobs in Oklahoma.

The increase in job holders in Oklahoma from November 2004 to November 2005 was 1.1%. These statistics don't distinguish between part-time and full-time workers because some companies claim 28 hours per week is full time.

These measures were sold on the premise that they would have salutary effects on job creation, and such effects have yet to materialize to any great extent; literally for decades Opubco and various Chamber of Commerce types preached the gospel of right-to-work, and when it finally got here, its effect on actual employment proved to be essentially nil.

Let it be said up front that cutting the costs of doing business (such as that workers-comp reform) is usually a Good Thing, and that low taxes are to be preferred to high taxes. But the state seems convinced that if it hits exactly the right combination of "incentives," the floodgates will open, and that's simply not true. Says Boyte:

Our state leaders must change their long held convictions that today's reality contradict. Some other formula exists other than the short-sighted low-wage, tax give-away model.

I'm not sure that there is a formula that works infallibly — different companies will have somewhat different priorities — but the "Come Exploit Our Serfs!" approach isn't working very well at all.

Posted at 11:27 AM to Soonerland

Unfortunately, the art of doing nothing or doing less is something beyond the ken of legislators, whose power comes from legislating and making new rules and regulations and taking tax money to fund things.

Leaving the market to itself is counterintuitive to everything they know and everything they hold dear--which is primarily the universe with themselves and their wisdoms of Solomon in the center.

Posted by: Brian J. at 2:36 PM on 21 January 2006