It comes as no surprise that the right-wing, Koch brothers-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) says the “best” of the nation’s states’ economies can be found in states where corporations are king and the middle class is an after-thought, if that, in state policies such as taxes, environmental laws and wages.
ALEC recently released its report, “Rich States Poor States” that supposedly gauges the economic health of each of the 50 states. But, says Ann Pratt, Executive Director of Progressive States Network, “At a time when the economic security of the middle class is in peril, these rankings based on a corporate wish list of anti-middle class policies could not be more divorced from reality.”
To ALEC and their CEO friends, a state with a low minimum wage, one in where there are fewer jobs, or one in which millionaires don’t pay their fair share in taxes is considered “richer” than one which pursues policies that actually ensure the economic security of the middle class. After seven straight months of job losses in the state and local government sector, with teachers, firefighters, and policeman losing their jobs every single day, the criteria used by ALEC to assess states’ economic health are not only wrong—they are irresponsible.
ALEC’s economists give points to right-to-work states, low minimum wage laws, low corporate tax rates, weak workers’ compensation, the “quality of legal system”—probably more accurately described as few regulations to obey—and other criteria.
But Pratt points out that:
Many economists have noted that state policies like a fair minimum wage, progressive tax systems, and the right of private businesses to enter into a contract with their employees do not hinder states, but rather help state economies become more prosperous for all.
That the catch—Prosperous for all.