BusinessNH Magazine is a pretty left-leaning publication. In its April edition, it included a piece titled Strengthening NH’s Economy. It was included in a section called THINK TANK. Let me observe there are better ideas to be found in the average truck stop restroom. After completing the article, my urge was to respond.
The author is from an organization that self promotes as an “independent, non-profit, non-partisan, public policy research organization.” It seems to me the self-promotion is a legally defensible inaccuracy. The output of the organization is left-leaning in content and presentation. It seems they design their proselytizing around the talking points of the Democrat Party. So please, let me offer some commonsense observation about the content of the article.
Two major challenges… or three… of four…
The subject article begins, “There are two major challenges straining NH’s economy and limiting our potential: a low unemployment rate and lack of available workers, along with an insufficient supply of affordable housing for people with low to moderate incomes.”
What does this imply?
Well, first it says the NH economy is currently doing well. When unemployment is low those who want a job can get one. What happens when everyone who wants to work is employed, and there is still more demand for labor? That’s right; first employees become mobile. They move for better opportunities.
Better opportunities are defined many ways e.g., job content, authority level, working conditions, wages, and benefits. The result is employers start to compete for workers. The result of employer competition for workers is that wages begin to rise, more benefits are offered. The free market, to the extent it is allowed to function, responds. What’s wrong with that?
Once the market starts to respond to the demand, more money is put into circulation. The workers spend their money as they see fit. If housing is their need, then housing prices will rise due to the shortage of housing. The rise in housing prices will stimulate a free market response to build more housing units. Just as importantly, the units built will match the wants and the needs of the buyers. This is as opposed to housing built based on the perceptions of government bureaucrats and legislators. What’s wrong with that?
The wandering begins…
Tellingly, the first header in the article is “Infrastructure.” The article opened with the two significant challenges straining NH’s economy. That list did not include infrastructure. But there it is, the author promoting government answers to questions not in need of a solution. There’s no doubt NH has work to do on infrastructure. But it has been making strides forward by applying the budget surplus to additional emphasis in that area – a point not mentioned in the article. That’s called an error of omission.
Reinforcing the point the second header is “Cost of Higher Education.” The article opened with the two challenges which did not include higher education. There is nothing in the article to support the author’s assertion that,
“it (NH) should take steps to reduce costs so graduates can redirect their resources…”
Clearly, the author is advocating governmental selection of those graduate educated for governmental largess at the expense of blue-collar people, their fellow Granite Staters.
Let big government grant favors to the educated at the expense of the average NH taxpayer. Whatever happened to from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs, comrade? Won’t those graduate degrees generate enough money to pay for themselves? Why is the government buying something that won’t pay for itself? I’m asking the think tank too.
Where were we going again?
Finally, in header number three, “Housing Affordability,” the author addresses one of the two named significant challenges is addressed. The author concludes,
“…It will require a mix of increased public and private investment as well as policy changes to speed rehabilitation of existing stock and boost construction of new housing that is affordable to a range of income levels and residents of all ages.”
There you have it. If you build it, they will come, really? Why don’t we strengthen the wage base and they will come for the better wages? If Granite Staters can earn sufficient wages, they will buy, remodel, and construct what they require. They will do so in the way most efficient for them. Why not make the quality of life attractive to younger families? Why not get government regulations off peoples back lowering the cost of living here? Allowing people to keep more of what they make seems like a good idea, doesn’t it?
Are we there yet…
The article ends at header four, “Population Growth,” without ever having addressed the first major challenge low unemployment. Now when someone tells me low unemployment is my greatest challenge to me, that means they think higher unemployment is a good thing. How do you perceive such a statement? That’s where the author started and ended the article. We need higher unemployment… Does that also imply we need greater dependence on government, more taxation, less freedom?
The single paragraph dedicated to the subject contains three sentences. One recognizes demographic shifts, one new residents, and the last net migration. The article has no solution. The reason this is problematic is that the people of NH are the issue. Not having an approach to the problems identified is unhelpful. It implies rudderlessness in policy and principle.
Thoughts on a Granite State future…
What we do today as Granite Staters will determine what the future will look like. Accepting weak-minded political schlock as responsible thing tank output is unhelpful. New Hampshire has needs and wants. To the extent we understand how to address the needs we reduce the wants.
The Granite State needs a strong economy. To strengthen the economy, lowering taxation is fundamental. Government meddling in electric rates must end. The regulatory burden must be diminished. The cost to do business in New Hampshire has to come down. The size and reach of government must be restrained. People need jobs. Jobs bring people. Two major challenges addressed.
All boats rise on the tide; so too in a growing economy does the prosperity level of the people. It ain’t about what government can give us… It’s about what we can make for ourselves. We pay for government. Government does not earn anything. At what point can we take control of spending our own money? You spend your money and meet your needs better than Concord ever has or ever will. Think about it… Vote early, vote often. Vote your wallet and remember; this legislature is attempting to raise state taxes collections by about 24%.