Corporate America has perverted economic development, using job
blackmail (the threat of relocation), dubious business climate
studies and secretive site location consultants to win subsidies
from states and cities that often exceed $100,000 per job. The
result: corporate tax rates have been slashed, shifting a higher
tax burden onto working families. But the special favors often come
with few strings attached, so corporations remain free to lay
workers off, run away or outsource. Less tax revenue also means
crowded schools, crumbling infrastructure, and poorer public
services. And special tax breaks for big-box retailers like
Wal-Mart fuel suburban sprawl, cannibalizing sales from small
merchants and even killing regional malls. Meanwhile, America has
neglected the two things that are proven winners in economic
development: skills and infrastructure. The U.S. faces a looming
skilled-labor crisis due to the baby boom generation's approaching
mass retirement; it has also woefully neglected its infrastructure
systems. in loose giveaways to corporations and put the money where
it is most desperately needed and sure to pay off.
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