Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What I Would Have Said at the Candidate Forum, Question 3

 Some of you may know that I filed for Lt. Governor as an independent in an effort to advance a lawsuit by Neighbors of Arkansas against the unjust changes made in the law in 2013 which have the effect of making it much harder to get on the ballot as an independent. I will not be on the ballot as part of the remedy, but I remain confident that the law will soon be thrown out as unconstitutional. Similar laws have in the past, and there is no way there can be “equal protection” under the law when one's access to the ballot can be made harder every time one attempts to access the ballot outside of the two parties whose misrule has so harmed our nation.

During that process, before it was clear that our (three of us sued as candidates, the other two for local offices) being placed on the ballot was not going to be a part of the remedy, I held myself out as a candidate. I even got invited to a forum. One co-hosted by the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce and the Union County NAACP. This forum is to occur on September the 30th. Since I went to the trouble to answer the questions (in case access to the ballot this cycle was still an option) I thought I might as well share my answers with you. With that set up, here are the questions which will be asked at the forum tonight and how I would have answered them. If you don't think the system is broken, compare how I would answer them by how they are being answered by the candidates that the system is offering you.....

Question 3....
We cannot overlook the need for new jobs and new industry, knowing that, what is a probable first step?

At some point this evening, probably with this question but possibly the preceding one, the other guys are going to start talking about workforce education and job training programs. They will make the kinds of claims we have all heard so often before about how this government program is going to “create jobs”. But they don't really, they just steal economic activity from some places and redeposit it on other places, minus a friction cost or overhead. And of course, it steals economic activity from those of us less connected to this government program and redeposits it to the benefit of those more connected to the government. That starts that whole cycle I mentioned before where businesses spend less and less effort taking care of customers and more and more lobbying government for favors. This sort of government intervention in the economy, when costs are fully accounted, results in a negative feedback cycle.

Look, workforce education is nothing more than an attempt to have a planned economy with respect to labor inputs. Planned economies don't work. Central planning only works for the central planners and those connected to them, not the economy as a whole. Honestly when I first read their plans for “workforce education” you know what my first thought was? “What Warsaw Pact country's FIVE YEAR PLAN did they steal that from?” It sounds like maybe Bulgaria 1975. Am I close?

This represents an attempt by the corporate big boys to shift their job training costs onto the backs of taxpayers. Who do you think is going to sit on these planning boards where it is decided how many welders and phlebotomists and mechanics are needed in a region? Representatives for the big players in that business. And if you are paying the bill, why, they will have the steak and lobster. They will push for the most elaborate training facilities around. And if they think they will need 80 workers in the next five years do you think they will say “let's build it to train 80 workers in five years”? Oh no. They will say “build it to train 380 workers”. They will give a high number because it is in their interests to have a lot of trained workers to choose from so they can cherry pick the best. The rest can go flip burgers even after the taxpayers footed the bill for their training.

Central planning does not work. It never has, and this bunch is not the first group in human history smart enough to make it work. It only works for the connected, and like the late great George Carlin said, “its a big club, and you and I ain't in it.”

We would be better taking half of the money we are spending on workforce education and using it for tax credits for companies who want to have apprenticeships. That way the apprentices can be paid from the tax credit while they are learning. The company will invest a more reasonable amount for training facilities, and they would not train more workers than they need. In other words, this apprentice approach would waste a lot less money. The political parties hate it because there is no program for them to control. Some companies may hate it because they were so looking forward to you picking up all the tab. But a lot of employers would love it, especially the small ones who are not interested in sucking up to politicians and getting on Workforce Education boards, but would not mind taking on an apprentice. The other half of the money can be returned to Arkansas taxpayers who will use it to buy things and thus increase jobs and help the economy in a free-market way.


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