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.
As I wrote in the Detroit News this week, “The true purpose of economic development incentives isn’t to create jobs. Rather, it’s to make voters think that politicians are creating jobs.”
I had the pleasure of sitting down recently with Paul Taros on “Tough Talk With Taros” to discuss corporate welfare and economic development policy in Michigan.
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.
The Detroit News published a new op-ed from me this week, in which I argue that if Michigan can’t even make it into the top 20 for the Amazon subsidy game then we should stop playing altogether. Let’s compete as the one state that doesn’t take money from working families and small businesses and hand it to giant corporations and billionaires.
Two articles published today, and there’s a serendipitous common theme of people in government doing what’s best for themselves rather than what’s best for their constituents.
At Think Freely Media, I make the point that any discussion of the “federal budget process” should start from the basic point that we really don’t have “federal budgets” any more, at least in terms of how most people think of a budget. That’s great if you’re a politician or lobbyist; not so good if you’re a taxpayer.
Once politicians get our money, it’s a core tenet of representative democracy that we should be able to keep tabs on what they’re doing with it. That’s why we have FOIA, the Open Meetings Act and other transparency laws. Michigan’s already one of the worst states in the country for transparency, but the City of Detroit seems to have found a new way to get around the FOIA law’s requirements: They told me closing their Law Department for a week paused their 15-day deadline to respond to my FOIA request:
Journalism and transparency advocates think this is a terrible precedent to set.