Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Washington's advanced economy makes it one of the best states to start a business

A new report released yesterday named Washington as one of five top states leading the way in reshaping the United States economy and encouraging entrepreneurship. Gee, isn't that something Dino Rossi claimed we were failing at?
Five states -- Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey -- are leading the United States' transformation into a global, entrepreneurial and knowledge and innovation-based New Economy, according to "The 2008 State New Economy Index," released today by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). The report is being released during Global Entrepreneurship Week, an initiative to inspire young people around the world to embrace imagination, innovation and creativity.
Perhaps not coincidentally, all of the states named above are high tech blue states, which supported Al Gore, John Kerry, and Barack Obama.

The lowest-ranking states? All red.
Mississippi and West Virginia ranked lowest among the states in making the transition to the New Economy. The other lowest-scoring states include, in reverse order, Arkansas, Alabama and Wyoming.
Republicans constantly assail Democrats for having the courage to support public investment in our common wealth: mass transit, great schools, wondrous parks, majestic wildernesses, well-equipped libraries, recreation centers, quality police and fire protection... yet the evidence shows that blue states, where Democrats are strong and in power simply have a better standard of living.

This isn't an accident.

Business groups may whine constantly about taxes, but they seem to value the things our taxes pay for, including all what I just mentioned, plus resources created by federal investment (the Internet being a prime example).

Let's also not forget that some nine tenths of the cases that before our court system have to do with corporate law. Those courts are paid for the people of the United States of America. They're part of the common wealth, the foundation that supports our economy. For years Republicans have been trying to tear up that foundation, and we've seen firsthand the terrible consequences.

Under Governor Chris Gregoire and a Democratically-led Legislature, Washington has set the example in creating economic opportunity:
All the states at the top of the ranking -- even those that are not growing rapidly in employment -- also show above-average levels of entrepreneurship. Most are at the forefront of the information technology and Internet revolutions, with a large share of their institutions and residents embracing the digital economy.
Dino Rossi may have talked a lot about wanting to make Washington a great entrepreneurial state during the 2008 campaign, but it's Chris Gregoire and Democrats who have walked the walk.

Progressives know that the way to build a strong economy is to invest in our common wealth, ensure a level playing field for everyone, and require businesses to operate ethically. Conservatives believe in bettering business by drowning government in a bathtub - as Grover Norquist famously said.

Conservatives fantasize about an ownership society, where everyone has become a crafty investor or prosperous businessman, and government is tiny - almost unnecessary. Progressives know that's a myth.

In practice, conservatives have supported making government bigger. Much bigger. They oppose services created to give struggling Americans a boost, but favor vast increases in defense spending and funding for unnecessary military entanglements (like the occupation of Iraq).

Progressives want to end the wanton, unchecked waste of our common wealth and use our resources in a fully fledged assault on the major problems that afflict us: the credit crunch, the climate crisis, our decaying infrastructure, our overdependence on foreign oil, lack of access to healthcare... there's a long list.

Progressives want America's economy to work for everyone, not just a wealthy elite. Republicans give lip service to the idea of helping entrepreneurs, but dismantling government - their "solution" - only makes it harder for Main Street shopkeepers and family farmers to earn a living.

Progressives are the true defenders of small business.

We can't just be content to improve our quality of life along the coasts and around the Great Lakes, though. We are one America, and it must be our goal to strengthen prsoperity in every corner of this great country.

To do that, we have to compete everywhere and win elections. That means protecting and broadening Governor Howard Dean's "fifty state strategy", so that a revitalized Democratic Party stays vibrant and healthy in the years to come.


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