A Mitt Romney presidency may look something like Bobby Jindal's governorship of Louisiana, writes NPR's Adam Davidson in The New York Times magazine:
Bobby Jindal, is a former McKinsey & Company consultant who has focused on making his state more attractive to businesses. Since taking office in 2008, Jindal helped cut antiquated taxes (like those on certain factory machines) and streamlined regulatory burdens (like lengthy permit processes). He and Stephen Moret, his secretary of economic development (and another former McKinsey guy), have also used state tax incentives in creative ways. A few years ago there were virtually no video-game designers in Louisiana; today, digital media is on pace to make up 5 percent of the state’s economy. In 2011, according to Southern Business Development magazine, Louisiana attracted more new business-development projects per capita than any other state in the South. Its unemployment tracks below the national average, too. Romney would presumably be encouraged by the comparison.
Yet, Davidson notes that the benefits being created for Louisiana's high-skilled workers are not being created for the uneducated and poor.
Though Jindal and his backers are quick to point out the state's successes in attracting specialized industries like pharmaceuticals and digital media, Jan Moller, director of the Louisiana Budget Project, tells Davidson the "cuts-only" approach is not the answer. For Louisiana, Moller says the main outcome of Jindal-style economics has been "the affluent remain comfortable and the poor remain stuck."
“The cuts-only approach has hurt Louisiana more than it’s helped,” Moller tells Davidson.
Since specialized industries will likely continue seeking high-skilled workers -- in Louisiana and throughout the country -- Davidson, looking to the future, writes:
(I)t is in everyone’s interest to channel at least some of the benefits of high-growth businesses toward preparing the undereducated for a very different 21st century. These are not problems that any business executive has to deal with. When people or divisions at a company consistently underperform, they’re usually let go. For the president, of course, this isn’t an option.
Read the full New York Times magazine article by Adam Davidson here.
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