In the first comprehensive analysis of 783 EDGE agreements, the Chicago Tribune found that two of every three businesses that completed the incentive program failed to maintain the number of employees they agreed to retain or hire.
State officials can’t say how many jobs have been created through the job program; nor can they say how many jobs EDGE companies have eliminated. The Tribune, however, found that 79 current or former EDGE recipients have reported eliminating 23,369 jobs through layoffs and closures since entering the program.
Officials have long pitched tax breaks as a competitive tool that bolsters the state’s fragile economy, and the program has seen explosive growth as Illinois battles with other states to attract and retain businesses. Leaders of the EDGE program say it has been a lifeline for dozens of companies, helping to create new jobs and improve workplaces.
But the Tribune’s analysis suggests that tax credits often do little to help companies expand or create sustainable jobs. A pattern of deals emerges in which businesses lobbied for maximum rewards and minimum requirements — and the state said yes.
Tax breaks may help politicians claim they are bringing in new jobs and money but they don’t often benefit taxpayers as much as the political and business leaders suggest. See earlier posts here and here. And perhaps the biggest issue is that once come communities or state start offering tax breaks, everyone feels like they have to play the game as well just to get a hearing from major corporations. It can then become a race to the bottom: as governments offer more and more breaks, companies benefit more and more yet the local area gets less and less.
If the Tribune‘s analysis is correct, perhaps a better route for the state would be to improve business conditions overall rather than resorting to tax breaks to simply survive.
“The persistent gap in media coverage is produced by a mix of two ingredients,” said Eran Shor, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at McGill University and the lead author of the study, which found that 82 percent — nearly five out of every six names referenced in the media — are men’s. “The ingredients are the media’s preoccupation with leaders at the expense of everyone else and the well-known ‘glass ceiling’ that continues to block off working women’s access to leadership positions.”
According to Shor, he and his co-authors discovered that among “obscure individuals” — people who make the news only once or twice — there was near parity in terms of male and female mentions.
“However, the media focuses nearly exclusively on individuals at the top of occupational and social hierarchies, who are mostly men: CEOs, congressmen, movie directors, and the like,” Shor said. “And because these famous individuals account for most of the name occurrences in the news, the overall coverage difference between women and men has remained extremely wide.”…
Contrary to speculation by earlier researchers, Shor and his co-authors showed that women’s coverage was not higher in news produced by liberal media organizations. “This is a surprising finding because there is some literature suggesting that liberal news outlets may cover women’s issues more than conservative ones,” Shor said. “They do not. There is also quite a lot of literature that suggests having women as editors in chief or managing editors or more women on editorial boards would make a difference but, once again, that is not the case.”
A related test of this could then look at social sectors where women are in more positions of leadership and see whether men and women have more parity in media mentions.
There are also issues here with causation going both ways. Leaders are at the top of social hierarchies partly because the media pays them so much attention. People could be in particular important positions – like leading companies or in top posts of governments – but not all of these positions get equal time. In other words, the media plays in important role in influencing who is viewed as an important leader in the first place.
Republicans are typically known as the party in favor of more powerful local governments. Yet, this may not be the case in places where local governments limits their quest to power:
The strange spectacle of Republicans trying to roll back local control makes a bit more sense in context. For years, Democrats mostly controlled both the statehouse and the governorship. But Republicans captured the legislature in 2010, and the governor’s mansion two years later. Ever since, they’ve been busily passing a series of very conservative measures, some of which I explained here. The rightward shift inspired a prolonged series of protests in Raleigh and other major cities called “Moral Mondays.”
The large demonstrations, combined with their general impotence to stop the legislature—internecine GOP struggles, and not public opposition, have generally killed the most controversial measures—illuminate what’s going on. Rural-urban divides are a fixture of American politics, and they’re a particularly powerful force in North Carolina right now. Its urban centers tend to be far more liberal, while the rest of the state is far more conservative. The liberals can gather large, impassioned crowds to rally against conservative moves, but they don’t have the numbers (so far) to elect a majority in the state legislature—especially after post-2010 redistricting that made the map more favorable for Republicans. (Barack Obama narrowly won the state in 2008 but lost it in 2012.)
Despairing of Raleigh, progressives have often pursued their priorities at the local level. That’s exactly what the state bill was intended to stop. When Congress does this to state and municipal governments, it’s known as preemption—it’s a bedrock constitutional principle that federal laws trump state laws. With a Democrat in the White House, though, there are limits to what the Republican Congress can pass. But the GOP has been gaining seats at the state level for years, and now controls most state legislatures. Cities often tilt left, even in very red states, but conservative state governments around the country have begun passing laws that preempt municipal legislation. Last year, for example, Matt Valentine chronicled how state governments are overturning much stricter gun laws passed by cities with preemption laws…
In other words, it’s a classic case for big-government uniformity. Faced with these bills, Democrats in turn tend to make a strikingly conservative argument: Local people know best, and they ought to have the right to make their own rules about how they live, as long as it isn’t negatively affecting their neighbors.
Local control is very important to many Americans, particularly if you have some means to get to a community where you can have a voice or be assured that local government generally agrees with what you want.
Let’s be honest: both parties today are willing to forgo some (most?) principles if it means that they can use their particular tool of power to get what they want. Opposed to executive power when your party is out of the presidency? Just argue your interests are too important when your party is in office. Control Congress while another branch isn’t doing what you want? Try to bypass their power and/or limit their abilities. This leads to a rhetorical question: how well can these levels of government or different branches work together to get things done if the primary goal is just to exert power?
A new Pew Research Center report finds that the 1965 Immigration Act was largely responsible for bringing 59 million immigrants into the American population between then and 2015. These new arrivals, their kids, and their grandkids make up over half of the total U.S. population growth during this period. Looking ahead to 2065, immigrants that came to America as a result of this law, plus their families, will account for almost 90 percent of the nation’s population increase from now to then…
The Immigration Act of 1924 clamped down on immigration from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Western and Southern Europe. Here’s Stephen Klineberg, a sociologist at Rice University, commenting on the explicit racism of the policy, via NPR:
“It declared that Northern Europeans are a superior subspecies of the white race. The Nordics were superior to the Alpines, who in turn were superior to the Mediterraneans, and all of them were superior to the Jews and the Asians.”
The 1965 law re-wrote that policy, and since then America’s white population share has declined from 84 percent at the time to 62 percent in 2015. Meanwhile, the Hispanic population share grew from 4 to 18 percent, and Asians rose from less than 1 percent to 6 percent (below, left). If President Johnson hadn’t signed the 1965 law, America would be 75 percent white today…
Quite a long-lasting impact for a piece of legislation that still doesn’t seem to get much attention today. And, as the article notes, it may not have been easy to know the impact of the Act at the time even as its effect from the vantage point of today looks significant. If supporters or opponents of immigration want to support or change policy, this is a place to start (though there have been changes made since then).
Also noted: much of the population increase in the United States in recent decades is due to immigration. Otherwise, the fate of the country looks more like many other industrialized nations with low birth rates and an aging population.
“There’s a shortage of trophy properties that are available for sale in this pocket of Los Angeles,” Barry Watts, president of Domvs London, said in a telephone interview. “You’ve got high-net-worth people who want to own multiple homes across the world, and Los Angeles offers something different. If you want to drive your convertible car 12 months a year, it’s a city where you can do that.
Homes priced at more than $100 million are becoming increasingly common as billionaires, seeking places to put cash, shatter sales records from Los Angeles to London. Around the world, five properties sold for $100 million or more last year, and at least 23 others have nine-figure asking prices, according to Christie’s International Real Estate.
In the Los Angeles area, the Bel Air homes add to multiple trophy mansions being built, including several on a speculative basis, or without a buyer in place. In December, video-game designer Markus Persson bought an eight-bedroom, 15-bath spec mansion in Beverly Hills for $70 million. The developer of a four-house compound being built in Bel Air hopes to sell it for $500 million…
The Bel Air project that spec developer and film producer Nile Niami wants to sell for $500 million will have a 74,000-square-foot main residence, three smaller houses, a 30-car garage and a “Monaco-style casino.” The most expensive home ever sold worldwide with a confirmed price was a London penthouse purchased in 2011 for $221 million, according to Christie’s.
After a certain point, it doesn’t seem to really matter what is in the unit or how it is built. Instead, two other things matter. Where exactly it is located – typically among other expensive and limited properties. A place where the wealthy can sort of gather together (in their separate compounds) near a cultural and economic center. Second, how much of a status symbol it is because of its high price. How does it compare to other luxury properties? Such an expensive home is a trophy to have until others push past the price point.