Paying the house: when “economic development” goes bad

When you go to gamble, there is always one winner- the house.

For your opportunity to wager your bets and win or loose, the house always wins.

Except in the “house” of modern day “economic development” where government corporate welfare gives all kinds of deals and breaks, without any true guarantee of, well- anything.

Sure we can talk about “job creation”- the new holy grail to politico’s justification for these handouts- but at what cost long term? Sure, Wilmington turned from a sleepy little town with a big airfield and international business- with a lot of help from Government, but, now, it’s about to turn into a ghost town, with a giant sucking sound as jobs, business and tax base runs to Louisville. FedEx is not going to come into Wilmington and save the day.

So, when we look at the Moraine Assembly plant, which has held local governments hostage over the years with threats of leaving if not given the many tax breaks over the years, as an “asset” to our community as long as it’s still producing trucks- what happens when it stops? From today’s Dayton Daily News:

Vacant sites full of potential
In the case of the GM’s sprawling Stroop Road facility, it likely wouldn’t get another chance as an automotive factory, since the industry has ample production capacity, said Doug Harnish, president of Gem Public Sector Services, a research and brokerage firm.

And, even if another automaker wanted to set up shop in Moraine, GM probably will not want to lease or sell property to a competitor, Harnish said.

And here’s the catch- GM is telling the house, sorry, now that our luck has panned out, we don’t have to pay you anymore, even though you kept giving us credit to play based on our good word.

Not good enough.

If a company has to plead poverty in order to operate, and asks the house of the people for funding, the house should have every opportunity to collect back it’s markers- in the way of having the option for a competitor to step in and take over. Just because the highly paid gambler in charge, oops, I mean CEO, of GM had no foresight to cover his bets on SUV’s with small, energy efficient cars doesn’t mean he gets to walk off with his fat paycheck, while our community takes it on the chin.

You accept public money, you accept a responsibility back to the public investor. That should be the new rule. No one plays with our tax dollars for free anymore.

Thoughts?

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10 Responses

  1. Drexel Dave July 4, 2008 / 10:00 am
    The General Motors plants will make excellent locations for thousands of people to squat in the coming years, since there will be no money to pay our revenue collectors, I mean police, to enforce the laws that our leaders create in order to make an devilishly inequitable society.
  2. Drexel Dave July 4, 2008 / 10:47 am
    One more thing: We already have “vast sites full of potential.”

    Unfortunately, there is no potential residing within our leadership. Just bureaucrat after bureaucrat after bureaucrat with a crispy shell of corporate coating as to prevent any disruption.

  3. pizzabill July 4, 2008 / 11:30 am
    David,

    You last paragraph mentioned the crux of the matter at hand: the government makes an “investment” in particular businesses.

    As with any investment, the idea is to ultimately wind up better off financially or otherwise because of the investment.

    The question is whether or not our elected officials make sound investment decisions: do the tax breaks given pay off to the benefit of the community, or are they poor investments? In this case, did the investment of public money over the years pay off for the communities involved with the investments in question?

    Let’s face it– there is, for all practical purposes, no realistic way to conclusively figure this out. It boils down to: you either keep the people in office who think these investments are a good idea, or you vote in people who want to end these practices.

    As you are surely aware, it’s tough to change the status quo.

    Great things to think about on the day we actually celebrate overthrowing the government. Happy Independence Day, all.

  4. David Esrati July 4, 2008 / 12:40 pm

    If government equally invested in all businesses- we’d have this thing called “communism” which of course, is very, very bad.
    But, if our government only invests in some businesses- well, this is opportunistic capitalism, and it must be good.
    Somewhere along the line, I got this mistaken idea that government is supposed to invest in things that benefit all of us- not just some of us.
    Somewhere along the line, this has been twisted into “what’s good for GM is good for the country”- but, in effect, all we did was invest in a company that convinced us that wasting gasoline driving Hummers is a good thing, and that responsible public transit is bad.
    It’s that exact policy that’s going to turn us into a third world country faster than a nuclear war. Meanwhile, the CEO’s and the Wall Street Wizards are laughing all the way to the bank- because they’ve robbed the house and installed the Keystone cops (Congress) to look after us.
    Yes, Ollie, this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.
    And, Drexels only partially right- there may be people living in places like the Moraine assembly plant- but, most likely, they’ll have a fence around them, and armed guards on the outside. Think Escape from New York. As more people lose their homes, their jobs, and their ability to live a dignified, yet humble life, there will be an uprising. Happy Fourth.

  5. Gene July 4, 2008 / 2:07 pm
    “You accept public money, you accept a responsibility back to the public investor. That should be the new rule. No one plays with our tax dollars for free anymore.”

    GM should be held responsible.

    Also, if you want this from businesses you should also want this from individuals who use OUR tax money and spend it on beer and smokes. We should not make exceptions to any business or individual, but I know most of you love your free hand outs and hate when businesses get their free hand outs. At least the business employs people while the individual just straight out screws the tax payer giving nothing in return. At the very least be consistent.

  6. David Esrati July 4, 2008 / 3:54 pm

    Gene- I know you loved your tax rebate check.
    Typically- unless you are on SSI disability, you are required to be looking for work to get unemployment- which you have paid into.
    So what handouts are you talking about?

  7. Gene July 4, 2008 / 5:50 pm
    Last year I made too much money for the rebate check.

    All of it is a handout, SSI dis, unemployment, welfare, food stamps, child credit crap, housing, etc. ALL of it is a handout, bc you get more than you ever paid in, unless you were actually productive and worked for a decent amount of time. I will never see a dime of this, which is OK. but you know and I know we have millions and millions of leaches.

    And I know I have donated over $84K to charities in the last 12 years. I give and never take. My businesses deserve a break bc I am such a great guy. Thanks though!

  8. Gene July 4, 2008 / 5:57 pm
    And, David, you are soooooooooooooooo slick. Businesses add nothing to a community. Zero taxes, Zero employment, Zero anything.

    IT works BOFF ways, according to you D-Folk.

    This is why you have such a successful business. 2nd rate may be a compliment.

    We give tooooooooo much to individuals and businesses. All I ask is you play it both ways, and hold everyone, businesses and individuals, accountable. But your math is always a liberal slant.

    CAUTION, YOU ARE ABOUT TO ENTER THE SPIN ZONE!!!! – THE ESRATI FACTOR!!!!!!

  9. Greg Hunter July 5, 2008 / 12:45 pm
    It is evident that the people we elected are reflective of the general decline in American values and ethics as they continue to make decisions to enslave people to false hopes.

    I think what we complain about is a waste of time and I am advocating civil disobedience by ignoring laws that absolutely make no sense. You pick the law and I will not obey it. We, as a local community, should take as much money from GM and the feds as possible but spend it on things that will benefit society as a whole.

    I just got back from circumnavigating the west and when I was in Portland, OR I stayed with some people that had a house with a chicken coop in the yard. (No roosters of course, but I would not mind myself) Now as we know, we cannot do that in Dayton or Kettering, because we have too make sure that Kroger and DLM get their cut. Politicians are not making decisions based on sound science; they are making decisions to impoverish the community and enrich themselves.

    If you are not doing it yet, you better start. Economize, Localize and Produce something of Value; Survival of the Fittest is playing out all around you and no amount of praying will change the fates.

  10. Jeff July 6, 2008 / 12:09 pm
    ^
    Chicken coops…

    …in my old neighborhood in Chicago you could find chicken coops on the back alleys, and “garages” with haylofts for horses. It used to be an industrial suburb of Chicago (older parts, were I lived, built in the 1890s) before being swallowed up by the city in the 1920s.

    @@@

    As for Moraine, that plant died in 1979, when GM sold Frigdaire and they stopped making appliances there. It was a mix of union give- backs and governmental tax breaks that convinced GM to retool it for vehicle assembly. So you got around 25 years more life out of the plant before the inevitable.

    Unlike the rest of you I dont begrudge local government or the unions…they did what they could and got about one extra generations’ worth of employment out of the plant.

    Now its time to move on. The place needs to be torn down and the land parcelled out as an industiral or business park of some sort. It will never be a mass-employment/mass production site again, so no use wishing for that.

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