Distraction, Diversion, and Division

Not so long ago the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its unemployment rate figures — Nevada has an 8% unemployment rate. [BLS]  Things could be worse in the land of all fifty states and the District of Columbia, we could be higher than Rhode Island’s 8.3% and be in 51st place in the nation.

Nevada Unemployment Rate ten yearOne quick glance at the chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that Nevada is still trying to get back to employment rates at a level before the Wall Street induced mortgage meltdown and housing hosing.  So, what solutions are we discussing?

In the Reno area the question appears to be a matter of which Republican candidate in District 16 is the most Anti-Tax. [RGJ]  As if lowering taxes even more in this slogging state will induce businesses to relocate or to initiate commerce in this area.  The mythology of the right wing notwithstanding, there hasn’t been any evidence to support the myth since 1937 — once more into the graphs:

Taxes vs Jobs

And the explanation:

“The Tax Foundation, a respected conservative-leaning group, has analyzed tax issues since 1937. They publish reports showing the average income and average tax load for all 50 states. Their analysis includes all state and local taxes.

I’ve charted this data (below) and added a green line to separate the states with high incomes from the rest. Aside from a few outliers, the trend is obvious: All but one of the states that enjoy higher incomes (greater than $50,000 per person) also impose higher total taxes (above 9 percent). At the same time, all but one of the states that keep taxes low (less than 9 percent) have lower incomes.”  [USNWR]

And the bottom line expressed as tersely and concisely as possible:

There is no evidence in this chart to confirm that low taxes lead to prosperity. In contrast, higher taxes accompany higher incomes, not the other way around.” [USNWR]

What does contribute to economic well being?  In Massachusetts it’s the proximity and availability of top notch academic and scientific research institutions, as in northern California; in Wyoming and North Dakota it’s the accessibility of natural resources, in Florida its a well tended tourism sector, and in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey it’s the financial sector of the economy, and so it goes.

However, let us immodestly conjecture that from the June 10th primary to the November 4th general elections we’ll all be inundated with the same tired, diversionary, divisive sloganeering which has impeded our capacity to slog out of the employment doldrums.

The magical pixie dust will be sprinkled liberally  “If we only had lower taxes we’d have more JOBS,” as if we could simply eliminate our state and local governments entirely and thereby secure 100% employment.

Meanwhile down in the southland, the immigration reform issue could be a crucial bit of the election picture.  No immigration policy reform vote no Latino voters, or expressed more delicately:

“In Nevada, the fate of immigration reform could impact Republican U.S. Reps Mark Amodei and Joe Heck — both of whom favor fixing the immigration system and have grown frustrated with GOP leadership for not holding a vote yet. They’re facing pressure from immigration advocates, who plan Wednesday to protest outside their Las Vegas offices.”  [LVRJ]

Not that either of the aforementioned gentlemen in the House of Representatives has actually made definitive statements about their positions on reform, both apparently accepting of the leadership stance that a piece meal approach is preferable to a comprehensive one.  Again, it’s predictable that they will continue to dodge and weave so long as the dreaded word “amnesty” is tossed about like so much pop-corn in a pan in the right wing media.

Failure to enact a comprehensive policy means we would leave on the table some 5.4% ($1.4 trillion) in economic growth nationally by 2033.  We’d be foregoing about 1% in overall productivity. We’d not see a projected $850 billion reduction in the federal deficit, and we’d not get the benefit of a nice 3% reduction in the national debt. [WH]   And we are concerned about the deficit and the debt aren’t we?

So, as politicians drone on about taking on immigration issues one piece at a time, or one little cautious step after another (such that nothing really ever gets done except fence building and deportations) imagine that $1.4 trillion in increased economic activity disappearing into a black hole.

When the stump orator decries how much “they” are “sucking” away in benefits and services, remember that one in four new enterprises are owned by immigrants.  Immigrants created 28% of all new businesses in 2011, and immigrants started 25% of the new enterprises in seven out of eight economic sectors, for example: Construction 31.8%, retail trade 29.1%, health care and social services 28.7%, and leisure and hospitality 23.9%. [RenewEcon]  Thus much for the “They’re taking our jobs” rhetoric.   If we truly want Job Creators then let’s give a hand up to the people who are creating 25% of all the new enterprises rather than wringing our hankies about the 0.1% who have already “made it.”

I wish I had more faith in the communication skills of our candidates, and in their capacity to research their talking points and create solutions to employment and immigration issues.  Instead, I have this sinking feeling that we’ll get more of the same old mixture of additional heat and a decreasing amount of light.

No doubt we will be advised that we have an “election integrity” issue and that only draconian vote suppression legislation will fix our (non-existent) problem — when we should be talking about immigration and the economy.

We’ll be told we have to promote a business friendly environment (translation: less taxation) when we should be talking about the investments needed to upgrade our educational and research capacity in order to advance our economy.  No, we’ll probably not compete on a level playing field with Stanford, Cal, and MIT, but we could be doing better.  We’ll get another serving of the mythology of the Tax/Enterprise ratio while knowing full well that a state which lacks the financial capacity to improve its infrastructure in transportation and communication is going to lag behind other states which have made these renovations a priority.

We’ll be distracted, diverted, and divided until the trash cans and recycle bins overflow with campaign brochures each less informative than the last.

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Filed under Nevada politics, nevada taxation, nevada unemployment, Politics

One response to “Distraction, Diversion, and Division

  1. Pingback: Heck and the A Word: Immigration and Confrontation | Desert Beacon