Monday, May 21, 2007


Money doesn't grow on trees, but that hasn't stopped Dollar Tree Stores from generating forests of revenue. In 2006, sales at the retail chain, where every item costs a buck, were $4 billion. That's up 17 percent from the year before. The company now operates more than 3,200 stores around the country, as compared with just over 2,900 a year ago - an increase of more than one per weekday last year.

So this capitalist success story is an obvious candidate for a taxpayer subsidy, right? That's what Virginia thinks. On February 12, Democratic governor Tim Kaine announced his plan to award $200,000 in state money to Dollar Tree for an expansion of its corporate headquarters in Chesapeake. The cash comes out of something called the Governor's Opportunity Fund, which spends more than $15 million per year on companies that seek financial help. "We view it as a deal-closing fund," says Christie Miller of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, a state agency. "It's for attracting business to Virginia and keeping it here, too."

Giveaways to flourishing companies may not sound like a discount-store bargain for taxpayers, but they're standard operating procedure just about everywhere. Even local governments are getting in the act: The city of Chesapeake agreed to inject $200,000 of its own money into Dollar Tree's project. Around the country, this marriage of Big Government and Big Business carries a price tag of $50 billion each year, according to an estimate by Alan Peters and Peter Fisher of the University of Iowa. For the most part, however, these so-called business incentives "don't accomplish much of anything," says Peters.

That's not entirely true. They can accomplish quite a bit for politicians such as Kaine, who wasted no time in issuing a boastful press release about his Dollar Tree deal: "Governor Kaine Announces 100 New Jobs for Chesapeake." Yet these little exercises in industrial policy rarely drive economic growth. And sometimes they aren't so little: Last summer, then-governor George Pataki of New York, a Republican, approved a $1.2 billion package of grants and tax reductions for AMD to build a microchip factory in Saratoga County. The project is supposed to create 1,200 jobs, which works out to a price of $1 million apiece for New York taxpayers - a deal that might make even George Steinbrenner blush.

Perhaps these corporate-welfare schemes would be worth it if they created more jobs, helped depressed areas, or expanded a region's tax base. Evidence suggests that they don't accomplish any of these goals. "After decades of policy experimentation and literally hundreds of scholarly studies, none of these claims is clearly substantiated," wrote Peters and Fisher in their exhaustive analysis. "Indeed . . . there is a good chance that all of these claims are false."

This should come as no surprise. Politicians and bureaucrats in the grip of what Hayek called the "fatal conceit" - the notion that they can pick economic winners and losers better than the invisible hand of the market - have an exceedingly poor track record. The Mackinac Center, a think tank in Michigan, analyzed the performance of the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA), the state's most visible corporate-subsidy program. It found that among 127 deals whose employment promises were fully measurable through 2004, only 10 had met their projections. "MEGA is another in a long line of political programs disguised as economic ones," says Michael D. LaFaive, a co-author of the study. "They're great for giving politicians cover but do little to produce real job growth."

More here


Which minorities should we favour?

Post lifted from Discriminations. See the original for links

ABC News reports today that new census figures "Add Fuel To Fiery Affirmative Action Debate; Critics of Diversity Programs Say the Latest Census Figures Justify Their Stance."

"As America becomes increasingly multi-ethnic and multiracial, it becomes more and more untenable for some people to get preferences on the basis of race or ethnicity," says [Roger] Clegg [president of the Center for Equal Opportunity]. "I think it makes it harder and harder to justify giving some groups special treatment because it becomes more difficult to pick and choose who deserves special treatment." ....

Ward Connerly, the California businessman leading the drive behind the ballot initiatives, says the new census figures show that America is no longer the place it was when affirmative action policies were put into place in 1961. "We are a nation of minorities now; the idea the government can prefer one group over another is insane," Connerly says. "Racial preferences are fundamentally unfair and marginalize the very people they're intended to benefit."

Naturally, those who support racial preferences disagree.

Gary Orfield, the co-director of the Civil Rights Project and a professor of education at UCLA, says the basic structure of discrimination and inequality against African-Americans and Latinos remains in place and has never been resolved.

Orfield and friends would "resolve" this problem by keeping affirmative action, which itself is a massive "structure of discrimination," in place forever, or at least until the ever-present playing field is leveled, which is the same thing.



Every now and again, I collect the more interesting pictures, graphics and cartoons I have recently put up on my various blogs and post them all together in a single file of pictures. Most of them are pretty entertaining. The latest is here (or here).

A couple more Obama lies spelt out here

Nonie Darwish: "In her native Egypt, she is the daughter of a hero, a soldier killed while fighting the hated Israelis. In America, she is a hero, a Muslim-born woman who stands up for the Jews and Israel, and speaks out against the oppression by Islam against her sex. Her website, the provocatively titled Arabs for Israel, promotes Muslim support for the Jewish state. These are controversial messages that have seen her banned from the campus of at least one Ivy League university. Her email inbox bulges with insults. "Sometimes they say things like 'Jihad is our pride' or 'You are a pig and an ape like the pigs and apes you defend'."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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