By Grace Ross
Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is that fabulous definition of crazy. Yet economically as a state and nationally as a country, we continue the same economic policies somehow expecting that the ones that got us into this economic crisis are going to get us out.
One of my pet peeves is elected officials who seem to think that their responsibility as our representatives is to balance the budget of the level of the government to which they were elected. In fact, every single one of us elected these folks expecting them to have an eye on their district’s economy as a whole and balance their level of government’s budget so as to improve our economic lives and realities not just their “isolated” bottom line.
We all knew that the federal government should not give money to the very banks that got us into this mess. Instead, Congress lent not just hundreds of billions publicly but the Federal Reserve Bank lent them tens of trillions guaranteed by us taxpayers. Yet, we knew the big banks still would not rewrite all the bad mortgages or lend so our small businesses survive.
Obviously, our elected leaders need a complete rethink of the purpose and focus of government budgets: what makes our economy thrive and what doesn’t, not satisfying the economic desires of a few.
It’s staggering to hear our present governor, Deval Patrick, express such outrage that Fidelity now plans to take 1,000 jobs out of state. Surprised? We’ve just been through the whole debacle of the $56 Million Evergreen Solar infrastructure and tax sweetheart deal. They are a local grown business that could have played a central role in rebuilding manufacturing in one of the few growing sectors: green energy. But like most corporate money deals, Evergreen was not actually bound to anything for our state residents; that same money could have subsidized regular people being able to afford solar panels and thus create a burgeoning market to incentivize Evergreen to manufacture and create jobs here! (Of course, the Governor himself is planning to cut more jobs.)
In the 1990s, our legislature passed whole sector tax cuts: the military industrial sector break (known as the “Raytheon tax” break) and the financial sector break known as, you guessed it, the “Fidelity tax” break. These tax breaks were sold as keeping (maybe creating) jobs in Massachusetts. History, however, shows that these jobs have dwindled in our state since those tax breaks. Studies also show that companies don’t move somewhere primarily for tax incentives. Continue reading A progressive’s view of the federal and MA state budgets