Saturday, February 04, 2006

Government Vs. Private Business

I finally got to see someone come flat out and say that the best thing we could do for the local economy is to expand Humboldt State University. Pat Cleary seems to think that's the way to go in this discussion that ended up being the cover story for this week's North Coast Journal. At least that's the way I read it. I'll have to admit the discussion was a bit too convoluted for me to follow closely.

That's ok, Pat. Others around the country feel the same way. Here on the North Coast you hear it a lot from those on the Left who feel that any new development should be some government project as opposed to a privately funded and owned one. Witness the controversy over the future of the Balloon Tract.

A lot of people have done quite well on the receiving end of government largesse and, yes, some communities thrive on it. Witness the howls of protest whenever there's a threat of military base closures in California. The Education- Industrial Complex isn't any different than the Military- Industrial Complex.

Naturally I'm not too keen on the suggestion that government should be Humboldt's biggest growth industry. But some feel that more money going towards government actually increases wealth and economic opportunity in the private sector. Bill Kowinski alludes to that in his North Coast Place blog. I'm sure to some extent that is true. That can only go so far, though. Eventually someone in the private sector has to be around to pay for all the so- called infrastructure and you can't just keep beating on the private sector and hope it will just bounce back each time, especially as it gets smaller and smaller.

That entrepreneurship increases with increased government involvement and funding is a tough one for me to swallow. The graph Bill suggests showing level of government support vs. entrepreneurship would be interesting but it might not show the whole picture. What would be missing is government taxation and regulation that has greatly increased over those same years and makes it more and more difficult or even worthwhile for businesses to even get started.

I'd suggest the lower levels of entrepreneurship nowadays has more to do with, one: dependence on government- more and more people take it for granted that government should be the one providing jobs or finding them one; and two: it's become much more difficult to start and run a business now than it did twenty or thirty years ago. Heck, why bother going through all the hurdles of trying to start a business when you could get an easier and much more lucrative job working at HSU or Caltrans? That would be crazy.

12 Comments:

At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's pretty sad that this area looks at government jobs as high paying jobs with great benefits.

 
At 1:56 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Some local government jobs aren't all that high paying, especially some county jobs. BUT, the benefits, like health insurance, make up quite well for it.

 
At 12:19 AM, Blogger Captain Future said...

Thanks for the mention. You're right that government bureaucracy can get in the way of small business startups. But a lot of regulations concerning health and safety and environment are important--and they are important to business, because unless everybody has to abide, some people with no scruples will cut health and safety etc. to cut costs.

What I was getting at is the role that government plays in creating a place for business to thrive in, not as the only employer. I especially don't like to see people getting suckered by the 'get government off the backs' by businesses who don't pay a fair share of taxes and then turn around and take advantage of every tax shelter, and demand even more corporate welfare, delivered by their high priced lobbyists, whose salaries we pay as surely as we pay government salaries.

Business gets its money from the same source as government: from us. Why should we pay for lobbyists and bribes, phony advertising and corporate expansion that more often than not drives down local wages, ruins small businesses and exports jobs, at the expense of our community, environment, and ourselves? Or that demands "get government off our backs" so they can poison the air and water and our bodies, create environmental havoc, and then they move on. Who gets stuck with the bill then? The same people that made them rich, and paid for all this to be done to them. Regulation at its best is preventive medicine. It always winds up costing less, in money and in pain.

 
At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HSU expansion is not on the horizon, at least in the next 10 years. HSU has been operating with a student deficit for so many years, there are real questions about its future. It will take another new president and another wash out of top management, this time hand-picked by the chancellor's office, before real progress is made at meeting and exceeding its own meager enrollment targets. HSU is diseased.

 
At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just HSU, rumor has it that CR is hurting as well for enrollment.

 
At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Gilderoy Lockhart said...

CR recruits from the surrounding community. HSU recruits from our community and from around the state.

HSU's publish-or-perish controversy is all the more funny when you realize HSU is desperate enough to court the students rejected by the other CSU schools. Do we want scholarly researchers teaching kids who needed remedial courses (taught at HSU) just to bring them up to the entry level college requirements? Or do we want true instructors whose greatest skill is in actual teaching... for students who most obviously need good teachers? I'm afraid choosing the publish-or-perish route over HSU's traditional "teaching college" model will merely result in higher college drop-out rates and further damage to the school and community.

 
At 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That isn't quite correct Gilderoy Lockhart, CR has dorms you know, for a reason. They also recruit from out of the area. HSU and CR both suffer from some poor teachers, just look at any of the school rating websites out there and you'll find some nice comments. Haag seems to lead the way at HSU for "asshole teacher of the year" award by most accounts.

 
At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, dorms for all the Mendocino, Trinity and Del Norte students, and a few non-locals who plan to get a couple inexpensive years in before transferring to HSU. A community college is intended to be just that, teaching members of the community.

 
At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heck, a coworker lives in Eureka and her daughter lives in the dorms. Go figure.

 
At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Gilderoy Lockhart said...

The California State Community College system has 109 colleges organized into 72 districts. Ours is the Redwood Community College District. I'm sorry to inform Anonymous, but given that College of the Redwoods is serving the Redwood Community College district, it has a "strong commitment to serve the residents of the district by providing campuses in Crescent City and Fort Bragg and Branch campus locations in the Klamath-Trinity and Southern Humboldt areas."

For the geographically-impaired, the above described region is huge. The Eureka campus is the largest. So, yes, Virginia, there are dorms in Eureka. Show me an ounce of evidence that CR actively recruits students from outside of its district and I'll have to say you've given us evidence the college has grown too large and lost sight of its purpose.

 
At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Better look at the Football and Basetball teams!

 
At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also don't forget about the Eureka downtown center. How much a month do you think they pay for that place? Anyone care to take a guess?

 

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