One of the valuable concepts at the heart of traditional conservatism is the importance of protecting the structures of civilization against decline and barbarism. I see that reflected in a lot of conservatives’ responses to everything going on right now, which broadly (although certainly not unanimously) seem to be tending toward “order at all costs.”
The thing is, order imposed through force is fragile and cannot form a lasting foundation for a healthy society.
It’s been a minute since I’ve posted here, as virtually all my time this year has been spent on The Center for Economic Accountability, where I’m the president and one of the founding board members.
I’ll keep this site for stuff that doesn’t relate to my work on behalf of transparency, accountability and free-market-based reforms of state and local economic development policy, but for the most part you should be paying attention to the CEA’s website (or Facebook page, or Twitter feed) if you want to see what I’m working on at any given time.
(I’m not quite sure why anyone would, but life’s full of mysteries. Thanks for visiting.)
With my newest op-ed in the Detroit News, I’m hoping to get people thinking about development subsidies outside the traditional partisan political battle lines:
From whatever angle you come at it personally, there’s a growing agreement that this isn’t a Right versus Left battle, but rather a case of “Us versus Them” — people with power are making business and government work to their own benefit while the rest of us pay the cost.
Whether you’re more likely to call it “The Swamp” or “The One Percent,” this is exactly the kind of rigging of the system by political and business elites that has so many Americans unhappy with the state of our nation’s institutions.
I’m proud to have co-written an op-ed in the Des Moines Register with John Hendrickson of Iowans for Tax Relief. Iowa’s politicians have gone hog-wild (pun intended) for economic development subsidies, and it’s time for the state’s taxpayers to have the transparency and accountability they need to decide whether or not they’ve gotten a good deal for their money.
My most recent op-ed on economic development ran in The Oakland Press this week. In it, I try to get the reader to think about whether or not the stakeholders in economic development subsidies are generally telling us the truth about what’s going on, and what we should require of them in the process.
My latest Detroit News op-ed takes on the “we must have public mass transit if we’re going to compete for companies like Amazon” argument. If giant tech companies think their employees need help getting around metro Detroit, they can run their own shuttle services like they do in Silicon Valley rather than asking the region’s taxpayers to foot the bill.
The Detroit News published another op-ed from me today, taking on the proposed voting reform ballot initiative. I think most of the practical fixes are decent ideas (other than the restoration of straight-ticket voting) but I think the realistic effect of adding more unengaged voters will be an increase in candidates winning on name recognition or partisan ID rather than their merits.
I think the real lesson here is that if we’re this dysfunctional at choosing the people who run our government, we should probably rethink how much power we give that government — and those people — over our lives.