h1

Eviscerating Charlie Collins’ Laughably Awful “Jobs Magnet” Op-Ed

August 9, 2012

I don’t know why I continue to be amazed at the horribly specious arguments consistently pushed by AR Regressive politicians.  Recently on Twitter, @ARGOP is highlighting this hilariously awful op-ed by Charlie Collins (aka Cluckles as he’s too chicken to respond to direct questions when he’s having a “forum”) titled “Collins: Let’s Turn Arkansas Into A Good Jobs Magnet.”  Collins, in typical Regressive fashion, doesn’t actually talk about turning Arkansas into a good jobs magnet.  Or even a bad jobs magnet.  Alas, Collins’ op-ed is stereotypical tax cut for the wealthy rubbish we’ve come to expect from the party of the oligarchs.  Let’s quickly review his trash, shall we?

 Arkansans count on their elected officials to help improve the quality of life here, a worthy goal. Yet, numerous studies have concluded that we rank between 42nd and 48th among the 50 states on quality-of-life measures like median income (good jobs) and adult college graduates, while we rank near the top on negative measures like child poverty and teen pregnancy.

Leading off, he hits a home run of stupidity, though not for lack of knowledge!  Alas, does he have any ideas on how to address problems like the lack of college graduates, child poverty, or the state’s excessive teen pregnancy rates?  No, he does not.  In fact, he quickly glides over these problems like they don’t even exist.  Here’s some help, Cluckles.

If you want to improve the number of college graduates in AR, you could vote to build more state universities and improve the current state of public education in AR.  Problems with child poverty?  How about addressing the problems of adult poverty, and you take care of their children, as well.  Too many teens getting pregnant?  Well, it’s more than proven that states with abstinence only education have the highest teen pregnancy rates.  However, the AR Regressive party standards are anti-education, anti-helping the poor (tres Christian), and pro-abstinence only education.  In other words, some of the most basic problems of the state will never be addressed by your party’s platform, Cluckles.

But don’t worry, folks, Cluckles has a plan to address all the problems which don’t make Arkansas attractive to good jobs: tax cuts for the rich!

Growing state government faster than the economy grows, while punishing workers with more taxes has not achieved the quality of life improvement goal.

Especially if those quality of life improvements are never addressed, which is a failure at the policy level.  You’ve already ignored the lack of education, high poverty rates, and teen pregnancy issues.  You aren’t addressing basic fundamentals from the out-set.

Our top income-tax rate is 7 percent on earned income above $33,200. My plan would give all workers tax relief and simplify the system. We eliminate two of the six tax brackets—the 2.5 percent and 7 percent rates—which drops the new top rate to 6 percent. We then phase in higher income levels (six-figure earners) for the 6 percent rate over time.

Tax cuts for the rich WHOOOOOO!!!!! /drops mic and walks off the stage

Want to simplify the tax code?  Great idea.  As usual, the poor are going to pay the greatest price with these cuts, and the wealthiest will see a tax cut.  The last sentence of this paragraph is especially beautiful: “phase in higher income levels…over time.”  I’m sure this will be your top priority.  Or completely forgotten about.  Whatevs.

Most importantly, at no point do you address the tremendous revenue drop this creates, or how any of this solves the education, poverty, and teen pregnancy problems mentioned in his opening paragraph.  But if you make more than $100,000, you’ve just received a massive tax cut, one every other bracket will pay for with a huge drop in state-based services (you know, silly things like feeding the poor).

Cluckles, wouldn’t it just be easier for you to have all the poor line up at the Waltons’ and Stephens’ estates and have them hand everything over?  Seems more efficient this way, doesn’t it?

The result is a dramatic tax break for low-income workers (60 percent reduction from 2.5 percent to 1 percent), strong relief for middle-class working families (35 percent cut from 7 percent to 4.5 percent), and a modest drop for high-income workers and job creators (14 percent from 7 percent to 6 percent).

I cannot deny your math here, and I agree the effective rates for low-income and middle class workers need to be cut.  At the same time, the wealthiest will see a massive cut in their taxes, and you do not address the tremendous revenue cut and how this would be addressed in the budget.  You do not address education, poverty, teen pregnancy, etc., and you at no point address how this makes AR into a jobs magnet.  In fact, it does the opposite because you never address the primary problems you, yourself, cite above.

Most importantly, however, you at no point consider what makes a city/state a great place to live.

Here’s a random list of the top cities in America.  What do these cities most have in common?

  • Emphasis on education
  • Focus on public goods such as clean air and water
  • Strong, modern infrastructure
  • Excellent public transportation
  • Green space

All of these are directly due to local government policy decisions.  Sticking out is the wildly differing tax rates across these cities.  In other words, there is no reason to believe there is a direct correlation between being a top city in which to live and having a low tax rate.

But let’s return to your opening paragraph and the quality of life measurements you, Cluckles, cite as problematic.  Your proposal would create a massive drop in tax revenues, meaning there’s no way to focus on education, eradicate poverty, or cut-back on teen pregnancy because there simply wouldn’t be the money to do so.  And how would you improve infrastructure and other facets of being a good city while handing more money to the wealthiest?  Is this where you will offer some mindless platitudes about “free market solutions” and “supply-side fixes?”  I bet it is, since that’s generally where Regressives hide when someone points out that their actual economic arguments are without merit.

One can only rationally conclude your proposal is yet another smokescreen designed to punish the poor and enrich the wealthy.  The quality of life for most Arkansans would suffer, of course, which flies in the face of your opening statement about improving Arkansas.  Maybe, if we make the quality of life for the rich really, really good, that can trickle down to the rest of us just like the money does.  Oh…wait.