How to destroy an economy part 2

Published 9:10 am Monday, September 9, 2019

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Last week, I wrote about economics and how some on the left are attempting to undermine a very positive economy for purely political reasons. Most of them are running for president, not understanding that it will hurt all, themselves included, if they are successful. The media is simply doing the bidding of these folks.

However, no sooner had I written that column, then the governor of California takes the issue even further down a hole. He lashed out at other states because, in his words, “they are stealing our jobs.” Clearly, the governor needs a lesson in basic economics. In essence, no business should be expected to stay in a community that does not want them or that does not support them. They may stay out of a sense of loyalty to the community and their employees, yet, if they are mistreated, there is a limit as to how much they can and should put up with when government passes more and more regulations on them as well as increasing their tax burden

Over the last dozen years, as the California General Assembly passed more and more laws requiring businesses to do this and not to do that, businesses have looked around and tried to determine what is best for them. First, it was defense contractor headquarters and hotel chain headquarters that moved to Virginia. This appears to have little or no impact on the mindset of their General Assembly or the governor of California. They keep on taxing and regulating businesses. This year, Texas and Tennessee have been the benefactors of their wrong thinking.

The most basic understanding of economics is that you want the greatest number of people working in order to create wealth in a community. The more people working productively drives the wages up of all workers and families benefit. That is not what California and other states have chosen to do. They have passed laws to have the government set the wages of employers with little or no regard to the productivity of any one employee. Without that requirement of productivity, the employee may well end up as a liability to a business. To avoid that liability, employers are likely to either not hire people without skills or lay off those who do not produce effectively. Employers are more likely to be willing to pay overtime pay to good producers than risk hiring someone who is a drag on the business.

California, meanwhile, ignores the basic role of government. They are so focused on telling private companies how to operate their businesses they cannot deal with the most basic needs of the state overall. Instead of allowing law enforcement to protect their citizens, they are blocking the police from arresting lawbreakers with sanctuary laws all over the state. While not addressing people sleeping and defecating in the streets, they are loading down businesses with more and more burdensome regulations. Despite having the highest paid teachers in the country, their students are some of the worst prepared.

Considering all of this, there should be little question why businesses are leaving the state. Our responsibility in Virginia is to not allow burdensome regulations and taxes to become a deterrent to businesses starting here, growing here, or moving here. We should rather re-endorse the time-tested values of the free market system that has made America the leader in the world. Yet, every year, we have legislators who, for political gain, make proposals that would eliminate Virginia’s competitive edge. Some are trying to eliminate Virginia’s Right to Work law that allows workers to decide if they want to be in a union. Elimination of that law would allow unions to require one to join a union and pay dues to a unionized company. They are proposing that just as some states are following Virginia’s law. Other legislators want the state to set wage levels, not based on the value and skills that you bring to the table, but rather because they think they know more about your business than you do. These legislators and would be legislators are determined to follow the California model even if it harms their neighbors.

Frank Ruff Jr. represents Lunenburg in the state Senate. His email address is Sen.