Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Great American Job Scam

In a few minutes, House Speaker Bob DeLeo is going to announce his plan to file a bill promoting a combination of slot parlors and resort casinos. Mr. DeLeo has also refused to agree to a fresh, independent cost-benefit analysis of expanded gambling in the Commonwealth, which would take into account the current state of the economy, and new data coming to light about slot machines, jobs, costs of regulation and crime.

Governor Deval Patrick, Attorney Martha Coakley, and the Mass Chiefs of Police Association have called for this cost-benefit analysis.

But not Bob.

And so, in honor of Bob's enlightened and transparent approach to gambling legislation, I'm publishing these ironic excerpts from The Great American Job Scam, by Greg LeRoy.

The Great American Jobs Scam is actually a collection of scams that have evolved over the past half-century and especially over the past three decades. These scams both rely upon—and reinforce—several factors.They rely on taxpayer confusion about the causes and effects of job creation. These scams thrive when the purported benefits — especially jobs benefits — of tax cuts and other subsidies are played up, so companies must exaggerate the positive impact while the business basics of location behavior are played down. They rely on taxpayer costs being kept vague, understated, or hidden. They need program rules to stay loose and unaccountable so that when a company fails to deliver, it suffers no consequences. They flourish when governments fail to monitor the real outcomes on jobs, wages, and other benefits. And most of all, these scams are built upon a corporate-controlled definition of “competition” that prevents government officials from cooperating in taxpayers’ best interests.

Those who peddle and those who buy into these corrupted definitions salute the corporate bottom line while thumbing their noses at common sense, social science, and good government.

Blindfolded public officials practice job creation guided by wolves posing as Seeing Eye dogs.

It would seem that a ray of hope exists, however.

Fortunately, despite the siege of disinformation, there is a rich bipartisan history of reform that has created proven precedents for dismantling the scam.The most important of these is disclosure.When more information is available about the costs and benefits of the scam, many more people will get involved—and that’s the scammers’ darkest nightmare.

But with his stubborn stance against an independent study, the intention to rush the gambling bill as fast as he can, and gambling interests paying $2 million in 2009 to buy influence in this debate, it would appear that Mr. DeLeo is well on his way to penning the first chapter of someone's future book.

Maybe they can call it, The Great Bay State Slot Scam.


Mark Belanger said...

Three questions:

1. Do you know how many resorts and where?

2. What do you think are the odds that the legislation will pass?

3. How do you think this affects the chances for a sovereign casino in Middleboro?

Gladys Kravitz said...

Great questions.

1.) I'm waiting like everyone else to hear what Bob says about the numbers and locations. That will obviously effect the debate. He may reveal these details during the Chamber breakfast or wait until he files the legislation in approx. 2 weeks.

2.) I think the opposition in this state has never been stronger - which is why the lobbyists are spending so much. The economy and the facts do not support wild industry claims of revenue and job creation - another reason slot supporters do not want a cost-benefit analysis. I'm not a betting person, so I'm not placing odds. I'm a working person, and so I'm doing my best to work for transparency in this debate, as should everybody, pro or con on this issue, to avoid spending more down the road.

3.) Yes. If you don't want a casino in Middleboro, if you don't want to be fighting a casino in Middleboro for a very long time, support NOW.

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Gladys Kravitz said...


From WBUR:
The plan, which he detailed in a speech (PDF) to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, calls for two resort-style casinos and “a limited number” of slot machines at all four racetracks in the state. He says building two casinos — not the three proposed before by Gov. Deval Patrick — will avoid diluting their impact.

Middleboro Remembers said...

Great post and great book.

It makes you think twice about coporations that complain about paying their fair share of taxes for services while schools and infrastructure crumble.

It makes you think twice about supporting large corporations that corrupt our political system and buy politicians through their generous campaign contributions and, in some cases, promises of lucrative jobs once they leave office.