A July 26 article in the Buffalo News rejoiced, “Job growth in WNY gains speed, credibility.” There is no doubt about the speed. The credibility may be another story.
Writer David Robinson gave due credit to “high-profile projects, from the Medical Campus to Solar City’s 1,500-employee solar panel factory, that are giving a jolt to the local job market, first because of all the construction associated with those projects, and eventually with the hiring that will take place as those businesses ramp up.”
What he didn’t mention was why those two sectors were enjoying such spectacular growth: tax breaks and other incentives provided by local, state and federal governments.
It has become fashionable to call tax breaks “subsidies,” based on the perverse idea the government not only has a legitimate claim to all wealth you’ve created in the past, but any you may create in the future. Tax breaks aren’t subsidies, but they are part of a larger economic system that has never worked.
Step One is to tax and regulate everyone into a state of complete economic paralysis. Buffalo’s local governments perfected that fifty years ago. They never got around to Step Two until now.
Step Two is to grant limited relief to those businesses who either represent something politicians like or who promise to deliver something politicians need. Solar City delivers both. They represent the green energy movement, the cause célèbre of politicians everywhere. They have also promised to create a significant number of jobs, which helps politicians get reelected.