Thursday, September 25, 2014

Making Economic Sausages

The Curmudgeon subscribes to the adage there are two things you never want to see being assembled: sausages and legislation. Add to the list politically motivated economic studies...

If you believe this study, Minnesota has a lousy business climate -- and Indiana's is Grrreat!
We have another economic "study" built to support somebody's political agenda.
This time the patron is that champion of letting business people do whatever they want, the Michigan State Chamber of Commerce. The willing supplicants: economists at internationally renowned Northwood Institute (apparently the University of Phoenix econ department was busy.)
The study purports to rate state business climates from top to bottom and, to nobody's surprise, shows Michigan's climate is improving now that we have a government that attacks unions, doesn't worry about polluting the groundwater with fracking chemicals and doesn't believe in taxing businesses. Mind you, the Pleasant Peninsulas still rank in the bottom half, but the Chamber sees that glass half full because of the enlightened supply-side mantras of Mr. Relentless Positive Action (unless you are a school kid, senior, union member or public employee...).
Checking the Midwest, the study ranks Indiana as the best place to do business (18th overall); Minnesota checks in at 29th.
Of course, Minnesota has the strongest economy in the Midwest and Indiana's economy is even weaker than Michigan's.
The real agenda of the Chamber is made evident by a comment in the mLive story attributed to Chamber president Rich Studley, who moans that increasing the minimum wage will hurt Michigan's business climate.
The Studley Doctrine: Living wages = Good business climate.
By the way, the study contends the worst business climate in America is that of Massachusetts. Sure.
Massachusetts has 5.8% unemployment, 22% better than Michigan's 7.4%.  Massachusetts' median household income is about $67,000, 37% higher than Michigan's $49,000.

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