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Will They Ever Learn?

Local governments are constantly cutting deals with corporations because they are promising to create jobs in the area. They compete to offer the corporations the best package to attract them using money that has to be made up by existing businesses and tax payers. The corporations don’t stay, and the money is wasted. They just don’t learn.

Jim DeRosa has the story of Evergreen Solar, as reported by the local paper, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, while Oly Mike uses the New York Times version.

From the NYT: “Even though Evergreen opened its Devens plant, with all new equipment, only in 2008, it began talks with Chinese companies in early 2009. In September 2010, the company opened its factory in Wuhan, China, and will now rely on that operation.”

These are “the jobs of the future”, “the green jobs” that are going to solve all of our problems, and despite tens of millions of dollars in investment and tax breaks by local government, they didn’t even let their equipment get broken in before they started their planned move to China.

It is all about greed.

Governments need to stop offering these deals without iron-clad long-term contracts before any money changes hands. They would be better off helping local small businesses expand, than betting on the “big prizes” that they are never going to win.

January 18, 2011   7 Comments

The Big Casino

Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism looks at the market in an attempt to understand what is going in The Imagination Trade, or the Tinkerbell Market 2.0.

Based on the economic facts, the market is looking for the next fad or bubble hoping to rise to the top with latest version of the Pet Rock [there is actually a USB version currently available]. No attention is actually being paid to the fundamentals.

Why is anyone in politics doing anything “to restore confidence in the markets”? The markets aren’t acting rationally, they are gambling. Wall Street is the largest game of Liar’s Poker in the world, and trillions of dollars and millions of lives are being risked.

Yves is covering the same things that I covered in Investing In The Future And Jobs?, and Bruce Schneier covers in Attacking High-Frequency Trading Networks. This has nothing to do with investing, or funding the growth of the economy, it is raw gambling on the decisions made by other traders, not CEOs.

January 18, 2011   9 Comments

Legal Lies

Via Steve Bates, Thom Hartmann has an informative piece about “corporate personhood”, Wal-Mart Is Not a Person, and actually explains what the legal decision in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394 (1886) says about the concept – well, nothing.

The reference to “corporate personhood” is in the preface to the decision written by a court reporter, not in the decision rendered by the Court. Justice Sotomayor indicated a desire to revisit the concept during the Citizens United case, but the Synod¹ wasn’t having it. The “precedent” for all of these decisions doesn’t actually exist.

Oly Mike at The Left Coaster discusses another Supreme Court decision that is pending on the State Secrets Privilege claimed by the Executive.

That is based on the decision in United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1 (1953), which does exist, but there is one major problem – there were no State Secrets involved in the case. This was about the crash of a B-29 and the report on the accident investigation. When the report was finally de-classified, it was discovered that there was no justification for classifying it in the first place, because it contained no “State Secrets”. The Executive had won a privilege by lying to the Court.

It is bad enough living with some of the totally off-the-wall decisions that courts make, without having to put up with things based on lies or made up from whole cloth.

1. The five conservative male Catholics who get to make all of the decisions.

January 18, 2011   2 Comments

Good Riddance

CNN is reporting that Lieberman not seeking re-election.

Actually, LIEberman finally figured out that he is less popular than death or taxes in Connecticut, so he had better retire before the Republicans do something “insane”, like eliminating his pension [yeah, like that would ever be “on the table”].

Update: Juan Cole has his choices for the Top Ten Horrible Things Done by LIEberman.

Being on the correct side of the DADT issue does not excuse the deaths of thousands of innocent people in the Middle East, or the loss of civil liberties in the US that LIEberman supported. That’s like giving a mass murderer a pass because he was kind to his mother or tithed to his church.

January 18, 2011   2 Comments