Category Archives: Red States vs Blue States on Jobs

My Favorite Color is Blue

Well, this is the way the world works. We often work at cross purposes to each other because we see solutions to problems very differently. For every yin there is a yang.

Stephan Kimantian, a former Republican candidate for Syracuse mayor is a guest columnist for the local paper. Sunday, June 14, 2015 we were treated to an article he wrote entitled Why New York Would Be Better as a Red State. It has long been apparent that this newspaper, The Post Standard, has already moved to the right. Will my state follow?

The article Mr. Kimantian wrote is all about money and economics. It is also obvious that, like me, this writer loves New York State. And it is arguably true that economic dilemmas are the biggest problems NYS faces. We are too expensive. I blame New York City and downstate for this but that is just my perception. Because state and local governments are competing to grab a smaller pot of monies, governments at various levels use cutthroat tactics to undercut and one-up each other. This manages to create a certain air of desperation that may drive businesses and developers away. In fact all the states and localities throughout America are competing with each other for the rather lackluster interest of manufacturers to do business in America when so much cheap labor is available elsewhere.

What red states are doing is cutting budgets by cutting items like education. The theory goes that if government shrugs off all its burdens (which used to be seen as essential parts of the American dream) taxes can be cut to the bone. If we destroy unions and disconnect worker benefits from labor we can drastically cut the cost of labor (lower your pay). If we get rid of regulations to protect citizens then the private sector will take care of us. They will provide schools and jobs. They will take these programs out of the public sector for us so we can become an industrial powerhouse once again. And since red states do not buy into the idea of climate change caused by man we can get rid of expensive environmental protections. Bring on the coal ash, bring on the fracking, bring on the heavy metals. Who needs clean water?

My feeling is that even if we rearrange America into the configurations these Republicans tout we still will not become the industrial engine of the world that we once were. How “cheap” would American labor have to be to compete with developing nations? Do you really want to work for 50 cents an hour? Do you really want America to become one big corporate state? We will be at the mercy of Big Business which, left to its own devices, can be generous to itself and very stingy to its workers.

Mr. Kimantian seems to be looking at red states through rose-colored glasses. Just losing our public schools will be a great loss indeed even if they do have some problems (which are not as ubiquitous as they would seem from coverage in the media),

Rather than move our way back to the 1890’s when there was little regulation of business and no labor unions, isn’t it possible to see this as an era of transition from the industrial age to some new age that is still somewhat industrial but also more inclusive and global? There is no way to stop this from happening, now that it has been set in motion.

We are already feeling the economic pinch of this while we wait for the world to catch up, but as our economy subsides a bit we will eventually meet somewhere in the middle and then business will choose locations based on different criteria (if we don’t destroy the planet first through pollution or war). How uncomfortable will we get? We will try to hang on to as many of our comforts as possible. If Business and Government joined hands who knows what new marvels we could create.

Capitalism describes our economy but Democracy describes our spirit. What good will it do if we lose our spirit in pursuit of a prosperity that may or may not materialize? We should look forward not back. We need to stay blue and embrace a future with balance and compassion. We need to keep a balance between business and government rather than dismantling our government to beg the corporate “gods” to smile on us once again.

By Nancy Brisson