Word Play

Posted on February 01, 2006
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Politicians love to use catchy slogans to sell their proposals. Governor Napolitano’s latest is “public-private partnerships.” Unfortunately, good slogans often make for poor policy.

During the State of the State address, the governor proposed a $25 million “public-private partnership” called Innovation Arizona. The aim is to attract top researchers to Arizona through state funding and aid product development in specific industries by providing matching funds.

Back in the 1930s there was another term for such public-private partnerships: “corporatism.” Mussolini wrote about the need for government to direct the economy toward “certain fixed objectives” and “collaborate” with business because private initiative could not be counted on to take the country where it needed to go.

When government and business team up, taxpayers should hold on to their wallets. For example, the Arizona Department of Commerce recently issued $350 million in taxpayer-backed bonds on behalf of Chandler to finance an Intel expansion. Why taxpayers should foot the bill for companies like Intel is anyone’s guess. 

“Public-private partnership” is just another term for corporatism. Instead of partnering with preferred businesses, policymakers should create a healthy low tax climate in which all businesses can operate. There is a great catch phrase for this too: “the free market.”

Key Links:

-Goldwater Institute: “Handouts for Developers”
-Cato Institute: “Ending Corporate Welfare”
-Governor’s Office: “State of the State Address”
- Arizona Republic: “City backs Intel on $350M, Bonds would go toward plant expansion”

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