Friday, June 23, 2006

Looking For Jobs In All The Wrong Places

Sounds like a bad country song, doesn't it? It's actually what Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana is doing to "help" the people in this state. He's been off spending the tax dollars taken from the people of Indiana in an effort to "in source" jobs to this state. Typical behaviour for a Republicrat and former member of the Bush cabinet in this day and age, it seems. Go on a trip and try to drum up a handful of jobs, all the while ignoring the true engine of the state economy. Of course his supporters are going to argue that he has managed to "create jobs" and has brought more business to the region. And what has his junket cost us and what will the gains be? According to an article in the Indianapolis Star :
Two central Indiana facilities will invest $105 million and add 210 jobs, the companies announced here today.
He has a promise of adding 210 jobs from two corporations (one company will add 140 jobs and the other company may add 70 more). And the cost to Indiana? A mere $800,000 in tax credits for one company and $160,000 in state sponsored grants to the other. Now, in the real world what do we call this kiddies? That's right! Bribery. When someone who isn't a politician does this they are usually arrested, tried and sent to a State run prison. When a politician does this it's called "statesmanship".

As a Libertarian I am against taxation in fact and principle and I am glad that the company receiving the "credits" will have its tax burden lessened. The thing that bothers me, though is that the true backbone of Indiana's economy receives nothing except grief from the powers that be in this state.

The two single largest employers in Indiana are Wal-Mart (#1) and Government (#2). But the true driving force, the largest employer is small business. According to government numbers:
There were an estimated 451,437 small businesses in Indiana in 2004.1 Of the 125,746 firms with employees, an estimated 97.6 percent, or 122,716, were small firms. In 2004, the estimated number of employer businesses increased by 0.5 percent. The number of self employed persons (including incorporated) decreased overall by 7.2 percent, from 287,665 in 2003 to 267,017 in 2004. Non-employer businesses numbered 328,721 in 2002, an increase of 1.7 percent since 2001, based on the most recent data available.
So, while Mr. Daniels is off running about the Orient, the true driving force in Indiana continues to go about the business of business; ignored, regulated to death and taxed. Individuals and small business are the true life's blood of this state and I have to ask...where are their tax incentives? The State is willing to forego tax dollars from major corporations but is unwilling to do anything for small business. Indiana, like most states goes out of its way to make things difficult for people who wish to start a new business. Licensing, regulation, permissions, taxation all coupled with the seemingly endless bureaucracy make it too costly for mom and pop to do business any more. Ever wonder why every new restaurant you see is a chain joint? Only these multinational corporations can afford to open a place anymore. It's too costly and time consuming for Joe Public to open a place.

If Mr. Daniels really wishes to "create" jobs, (something he has no power to unless he expands government some more) maybe he'll spend some time behind his desk and start dismantling his government. Get rid of the regulations that are choking small business, end the onerous taxation and tell the federal government that they need to butt out of Indiana's business. Men and women do not need multiple masters granting them permission to pursue life and happiness. Get government out of the way, at all levels and Indiana will become an economic powerhouse to rival anyone. Continuing upon the path upon which we are currently treading is a solid method to insure that Indiana will remain a slave state, one predicated upon the proposition that all men are created as menials for the corporate plantation. Bringing in new masters from abroad is not the solution. Liberating Hoosiers to pursue their own destinies, unburdened by the state and its sponsorship of corporatism is the way to go.

Unfortunately, that is not going to happen in this state any time soon. Only Libertarians in Indiana have a history of siding with small business and actively courting them. Democrats and Republicans have gone out of their way to trample the small business community and they have consistently returned these people to office. Masochism is an ugly thing, but this is much more akin to Stockholm Syndrome and is much uglier. Mr. Daniels? It's time to let the people go.

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