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Consider the source of Laffer plan criticism

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: December 7, 2012

ECONOMIST Arthur Laffer, who argues that lower tax rates foster greater economic growth and revenue than significantly higher rates, has come under fire from Good Jobs First, a Washington-based group that calls Laffer's theories “snake oil.”

This attack is notable not for its substance, but for the identity of Laffer's critics. Simply put, Good Jobs First routinely opposes standard economic-development and free-market policies. The group's website makes clear its agenda, stating, “Because union members earn better wages and benefits than their unorganized counterparts, it is no exaggeration to say that unionization is economic development.”

The folks who used to work at Hostess might disagree now that union intransigence has forced the company into bankruptcy. But the theory at Good Jobs First seems to be that having no job is better than having a nonunion job.

That view is reflected in Good Jobs First's attacks on Walmart, which the group suggests is taxpayer-subsidized if anyone working there qualifies for government aid. Apparently, the dignity of work has no benefit for low-skill workers and they should disdain the chance to start climbing their way up the economic ladder.

On another front, Good Jobs First often criticizes state business incentives. In November, as officials sought to keep International Paper's headquarters and roughly 2,300 employees in Memphis, Good Jobs First executive director Greg LeRoy spoke to the Memphis City Council in opposition to business incentives, such as the property tax breaks International Paper was seeking. We're sure the affected workers appreciated LeRoy's “help.”

Good Jobs First opposes “suburban sprawl,” saying it “stresses the tax base necessary for public education” and “traps unemployed and underemployed workers by creating jobs beyond public transportation routes.” Never mind that people often move to the suburbs because the schools are better, or that maintaining all jobs within walking distance of a bus stop is an almost-certain physical impossibility.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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