We’ve heard enough about how subsidized economic development too frequently turns into corporate welfare for the undeserving rich, but is anyone doing it well? Good Jobs First finds two-count-’em-two American cities who are – Wichita, Kansas, and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Wichita’s Industrial Revenue Bond program is as transparent as they come, meaning that folks can learn whether corporations keep their wage and job promises when they take taxpayer money, while Grand Rapids spends a mere $14,000 per job, versus over $100,000 per job in nearby Lansing, and attracts over $30 in private investment per subsidized dollar. Hey, it’s only two examples, but it’s a beginning. Warning: the Wichita deep take link doesn’t work at this writing.
Sonali Kohatkar explains how the long-standing cooperative arrangement between Kaiser Permanente and its unions is about to fall apart, with the unions voting to strike at the end of this month. Long story short: Kaiser Permanente now acts more like a big corporate health care provider than the Medicare-for-All provider it occasionally seemed to be like, and the COVID pandemic put a strain on all hospital workers, to the point where they’re most definitely not content with half-measures. Will Kaiser Permanente come to its senses in the next few days? Probably not. Will its many satisfied customers ever be so satisfied again if they don’t? Certainly not. There’s a lesson in there, somewhere, admittedly a lesson few corporations know anymore, though all of them used to know it, or they’d face oblivion.
ProPublica reports that Massachusetts has several thousand subsidized apartments vacant despite having a 180,000-plus waitlist for folks who need housing. I’m going to say the big problems are that the state doesn’t tax the rich enough to fund programs like these, and (in a surely related note) they don’t hire enough people to vet applicants and fix apartments. I’m not sure centralizing applications state-wide (versus applying locally) is the root of all problems like some say, but the state should either develop a system that reaps the benefits of both (centralization reduces favoritism, while local authorities know their potential tenants better) or concede that favoritism simply isn’t as bad a problem as, you know, people with cancer living out in the street. If I can identify these problems, I’m sure they can, and they can almost certainly solve them better than I can, too.