A Republican tells me he's tired of these public/private "partnerships" that band together to lobby the federal government for more tax money. He has a point. Or three.
It is kind of amusing to read about Blue Dog Mike Ross touting local efforts to extract more money from Washington and Little Rock, while he's trying so mightily to right the fiscal ship by denying health care to the needy people of his district. But a little corporate welfare? Ross is on that like a hound on a rabbit.
Ross dresses it up with a $3 word — intermodal. Translation: If they can just get some state and federal money for a little more four-lane and some rail spurs, high-tech enterprises will sprout like mushrooms after a rainy spell throughout the piney woods of Ross' Fourth District.
Then there are those "partnerships," so beloved by the Mike Rosses of the world. Translation: hardscrabble taxpayers will pay taxes on their mobile homes and blue jeans and cars to subsidize corporate interests. In return, the fat cats might trickle something down their leg on them.
It's so familiar as to be unremarkable. What's remarkable is that Mike Ross and other soap salesmen get away with it. Latest example: All Jefferson County needs to turn around its economic decline is a regressive sales tax to produce a pot of money for a group of insiders to divvy up trying to bribe a little investment in the community. Does it occur to anyone else that if you have to pay somebody to go on a date with you, it might be you don't have much on offer? Maybe fundamentals — education, environment, responsive government — should be addressed first.