Limited Time Blue Light Special On Aisle 5

We’ve all seen this movie, you know, the one where the company comes in or announces it “will stay” and the credits appear with all the tax abatements, grants, etc. and Grow Licking County appears at the end to take credit for the credits. The latest sequel played out July 29, 2014 with Kent Mallett of the Newark Advocate reporting that MPW in Hebron plans a $4.4 million dollar expansion with a promised 25 jobs; all contingent on tax abatements, credits, etc. of course (“MPW plans $4.4 million expansion, 25 new jobs”). “The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved today a 50 percent, six-year tax credit to MPW for creation of $1 million in new annual payroll.” “The project is contingent on the company receiving approval from the Licking County commissioners and Lakewood Local School District for an enterprise zone tax agreement.” This not being enough “The county will extend an existing sewer line from the Pilot Travel Center truck stop just north of Interstate 70 to the MPW facility at 9711 Lancaster Road SE. “That was a big part of the deal — connecting to a public system and off of a private system,” Bubb said.” (Analysis applauds Tim’s championing of a public system over that of a private one!) The movie wouldn’t be complete without the obligatory cameo starring “Dan Evers, director of the Grow Licking County community improvement corporation, said local officials have pursued the local expansion for about two years.” (not appearing in the cameo but listed on the credits was Columbus 2020, another public-private partnership in partnership with the public-private partnership of Grow Licking County, both of which are partnering with the public-private partnership of JobsOhio, partner!) While this feature was airing, a second summer sequel came out the very same day. The Dispatch released a trailer for the projected opening of a call center for Seattle based Zulily that anticipates 900 new jobs. The Ohio Tax Credit Authority has granted them a 75% income tax credit (the Dispatch’s TV station, WBNS, described this as a “savings” for Zulily!). Analysis acknowledges that this structures some individuals as being privileged to “save” money at the expense of other individuals (who must pay for this savings). Corporations are now individuals; persons, that is. In addition to receiving the same services as other individuals, without Zulily or MPW having to pay for them (such as road maintenance, fire, EMT and police protection, use of the courts), the county (of Licking) will be extending waste water treatment to a company founded on and dedicated to the removal and disposal of industrial waste. We should all be so privileged.

Speaking of Seattle, the transcript of an interview by Paul Solman with Nick Hanauer appeared online (“Why capitalism has nothing to do with supply and demand” PBS Newshour’s Making Sen$e, 7-28-14). “Billionaire venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, whose family owns a pillow company, says there’s a limit to how much his wealth can buy. “I may earn a thousand times the median wage, but I don’t sleep on a thousand pillows,” he tells Paul Solman.” “Nick Hanauer is a billionaire venture capitalist, who made his fortune first as one of the original investors in Amazon, and later in a web ad firm. He’s also been a strong supporter of the increased minimum wage in Seattle, which is where Making Sen$e met up with him this year reporting on his city’s fight to adopt a $15 an hour minimum wage.” In the interview Hanauer points out “If you want to have a sustainable democracy which is prosperous, secure and enjoyable to live in, impoverishing the many to benefit the few is hardly the path to go on. If history is any lesson, at the end of the day, an economy that doesn’t work for everyone eventually will work for no-one.” Addressing the reticence for change he states “The facts are that this change threatens both the pocket books, but more particularly, the status of rich people. One of the most interesting things I’ve learned about litigating these issues is how emotional people can get around seeing themselves, for instance, as job creators. If you are a job creator, you’re very much at the center of the economic universe and everything orbits around you. And if you’re a job creator, a 15 percent tax rate on capital gains, a 15 percent tax rate on carried interest – all these things are the righteous instantiations of sensible economics. But if the middle class is the true job creator in the capitalist economy, all of those advantages and all of that status are essentially a con job.” He continues “This is just one of the somewhat obscure elements of our tax code that massively advantages people like me. Working people pay 39 percent, investors pay 15 percent. And that differential is essentially explained away and justified by this idea that the more money people like me have, the better off you will be.” “You have to remember people like me care a lot about status. That’s why we are where we are.” “Of course, if it’s the other way round, that tax break makes no sense whatsoever. But these arguments don’t just threaten pocket books – they threaten status. And you have to remember people like me care a lot about status. That’s why we are where we are. And so when you mess with status, when you mess with the status of people who care about almost nothing but status…”

OK, so Hanauer is in another universe from the Waltons. But maybe the Waltons will have to quit their alien status. Business Insider’s Ashley Lutz provides some background on the recent dollar store buyout news (“America’s Poorest Shoppers Are Putting Discount Stores Out Of Business”, 7-29-14). “Yesterday, Dollar Tree announced it would buy Family Dollar, a chain that is in the process of closing hundreds of stores and firing workers. Other discount stores have been struggling as well, writes Heidi Moore at The Guardian. Fashion discounter Loehmann’s filed for bankruptcy, while Wal-Mart’s sales have declined for the past five quarters. “There’s just not enough money deployed by American families to keep all the discount chains in business,” Moore writes.” “While middle-class shoppers have enjoyed economic recovery, America’s poorest consumers have not, write Paul Ziobro and Shelly Banjo at The Wall Street Journal. Money spent by households earning less than $30,000 has been flat since 2008, WSJ reports, citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Total income for that group fell 1% between 2004 and 2012.” “But it’s possible that no amount of discounting will win back these struggling shoppers. “A cash-strapped consumer can’t keep buying forever, no matter how low prices go,” Moore writes.”


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