APPEL: The Advocate, The Louisiana Budget Project And The Miserable “Louisiana Way”

It was inevitable I suppose. The Louisiana Budget Project has issued a report dramatically demonstrating the impact of the failure of Louisiana’s economy to produce jobs and income anyway near the level necessary to build wealth and happiness for our citizens. Sadly, at the end of the day theirs was just one more liberal attempt to divert our attention from the truth.

LBP’s goal, as highlighted by its proposed solutions, was to double down on social programs in a vain attempt to ease the misery of our people caused by our economic failures. LBP, whether by oversight or by design, ignores the opportunity to connect our people’s misery to the fundamental causes of our long term economic malaise. Typical of left-wing thinking they propose putting a band-aid over a melanoma! Ignore the real problems, keep the people happy with government pabulum and keep our friends in office so we can spend more on a failed social approach.

What a solution!

Saturday, the Advocate in an editorial by Mark Ballard attacked business incentives as if the cause célèbre’ of the Democrat Party in our state were the root cause of our failures. They quoted a labor union official asking if the incentives were so successful where were the jobs? Well, to an astute reader the Advocate’s attempt to support organized labor’s position actually ends up backfiring because it poses the real question. Anyone who logically connects our economic failures demonstrated by the LBP’s report with our political situation realizes that the Advocate’s question should have been “how much worse off would we be without the incentives?”

Until we cast off the shackles of really bad government policy and really bad leadership we will never address the illness in our economy and finally create a state in which our people can achieve the American dream. Attacking business incentives is popular with the status quo set, I get that. But as much as I hate these vestiges of crony capitalism they are our only solution to bad education results, bad government policies, bad infrastructure, a civil justice system that is so tilted to making trial lawyers bundles of money that business just won’t relocate here, a governor who believes that Louisiana’s policies are somehow good for our economy and we just need a whole lot more money to keep them going, and on and on.

The Louisiana Budget Project is right; the Louisiana economy is miserable. However their report fails badly as they conclude that we must just keep building the welfare state instead of addressing the core reasons why an economy in such an asset rich state is so miserable.

The Advocate’s attack on incentives misses the target. Incentives should always be a part of our economic development toolbox but they must be time-limited and they must have limitations based upon measurable economic payback. The problem with the Advocate position is that they have chosen to accept the position, politically aligned with the governor, that if only we had all that money that we use to fund incentives then we could have a better state. In doing so they attack the only thing that we currently have in our toolbox to overcome our political and economic defects. Just like the Louisiana Budget Project they advise putting a band aid on melanoma!

Let me make this clear, Louisiana will remain one of the worst performing states in the United States until the people demand through their vote that we make significant change. Sadly, trusted sources such as the Louisiana Budget Project and the Advocate do great harm as they endlessly build upon the myth that the “Louisiana Way” supported by just more taxes, always paid for by someone else, will make it all better.

We have deep-seated political structures that must be uprooted and cast off. It is far past time for intelligent people to stop defending the “Louisiana Way” and to face the future bravely. It is far past time for our people to demand a better life and to cast off leaders who only promise more of the same. Our state is rich in assets but we are so mired in efforts to hang on to an unsupportable belief in our own myth that what we have been doing is good for our people that we are blind to our potential.

I have seen the world and have seen what success looks like. We have so many more assets to build upon than so many successful places have that it defies any logic. We can be successful, we can have family wealth to support our future, we can be great………. but we have to want to!

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