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Taxes, regulations and government destroy the job creators and stiffle captialism, right? Isn't that what the Republicans and, in particular, the Tea Party want everyone to belive? If we just cut all taxes to zero and put the Government on vactaion, or completely out of business, the economy would take off like an rocket. Too bad for the right wing that the facts don't back up the hyperbole (which is soooo surprising!).

Danny Westneat penned a wonderful piece of satire in the Seattle Times today about the current job boom in Seattle and the reaction of Republicans far and wide to economic growth in one of the more liberal cities in America.  It's pure gold: Seattle boom an inconvenient truth for Republicans

Of the many wonderfully crafted lines in this piece, I couldn't help but laugh at this gem:

“Of all places,” said Reince Priebus, the national Republican chairman, who is leading the GOP in a soul-searching exercise.

“For years you heard the word ‘Seattle’ and the first thing you thought was: pot smokers and gays,” he said. “Well, the joke’s on us, because it turns out all those pot smokers and gays have jobs.”

Personally, Danny Westneat isn't one of my favorite writers at the Times (and the Times in general can be completely out of touch with the pulse of Seattle), but he hits the mark in this piece.  

Originally posted to NorthSeattleDem on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:11 PM PDT.

Also republished by Koscadia and In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Two words to explain it. (4+ / 0-)

    Microsoft Boeing

    These are the primary base of the economy.  Well, also the port of Seattle but that's also gummint socialism.

    Microsoft and Boeing depend on different aspects of big government.  Boeing's military business depends on nothing but Federal spending.  Their civilian business depends on a government-provided aviation infrastructure.

    Microsoft would not exist without various NSF initiatives.  Without the Internet, demand for desktop computers and laptops would be far lower.  Various parts of the Windows NT base of code (what goes into every desktop Windows since XP, as well as every Microsoft server product ever made) come from open source paid for in part with public dollars.  (Microsoft relies on that to avoid IP lawsuits.)  And, much as gummint tries to escape Windows, Linux desktops have not really made a big imprint in the public sector so some huge portion of high-margin Windows and Office and Exchange and Sharepoint goes to public entities worldwide.

    There are a lot of other spinoff businesses in Seattle, all of which are there because of Microsoft and Boeing.  And because most of them are "creative class" economic based, they bring in lots of well educated professionals and lots of creative types in their wake; thus, there was a market for stuff like alt rock and all manner of cultural goods; "Seattle Grunge" is probably a significant contributor to the local economy, too.

    Anyone want to do a comparison with Texas now?  Especially if you take Austin (also full of hippies, gays, and socialists) out of the mix?

    •  Microsoft and Boeing are primo fer sure (8+ / 0-)

      Other hot economic drivers:
      *Starbucks
      *Amazon
      *Google (has a big presence and expanding facilities)
      *Costco, Nordstrom, REI
      *Joint Base Lewis McChord (sprawling Army-Air Force Base in Tacoma)
      *Port of Tacoma
      *Eastern Washington grain (and ag in general, big business)
      *Timber like nobody else (okay, Oregon and Alaska)
      *Cheapest electricity in the country
      *Magical beards (hah!)

      •  Port of Tacoma? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril

        The Port of Tacoma creates a lot of jobs by sending Walmart's containers to points east.

        I thought that foreign trade was supposed to create poverty?

        And then there's the stores in Blaine that sell things to Canadians trying to dodge the VAT.

        •  Port of Tacoma (6+ / 0-)

          Wal-mart may be a component of their traffic, whatever moral quandries that may present there is no denying their economic impact:

          The Port of Tacoma is considered an "economic engine" for the region. A study released in July 2005 highlighted the Port's economic impact at both the local and state level:
          More than 43,000 jobs in Pierce County are related to the Port of Tacoma's activities.
          More than 113,000 jobs in Washington State are related to the Port's activities.
          Port-related jobs generate $637 million in annual wages in Pierce County.
          Port activities generate more than $90 million annually in state and local taxes in Washington state.

          Washington State is the most trade-dependent state in the nation -- one out of three jobs are related to international trade.

          Source
        •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dirtandiron

          it hasn't helped the low wage earners who used to work in manufacturing but now work at Walmart, or the other retail workers who have seen their own earnings reduced as a result of Walmart's market domination.

          "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

          by happy camper on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 06:24:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

        I'd put Amazon and Google under the "Microsoft" banner.  But Costco and Nordstrom and REI are all another development track.  But now you've screwed up my pithy "two words" comment.

    •  IMHO, what counts is not the volume of dollars (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini

      so much as the rate of turnover. Currency is called that because, like the current in a stream, it is meant to move.
      Washington, D.C. has a monopoly. It is the only agency in the country that produces money. The fifty states rely on it being sent out. Why it gets laundered through the Federal Reserve is a puzzlement, unless you figure that Congress has an interest in giving the financial community an initial "cut" of every dollar that is sent out.
      Federal taxes are levied for two purposes: as an indicator of who's doing what with the currency (& try to control them) and to insure that the currency is recycled, kept moving, rather than getting stuck in some hoarder's accounts. The difference between what Congress sends out and what comes back is what's called a "deficit," even when those dollars get stashed at the Treasury, which, for some reason, pays out a dividend for keeping the dollars it originally issued safe for the new "owner."
      In other words, before a dollar is used to mediate any exchange or trade of real goods and services, bankers and bondholders get a 5% cut for doing absolutely nothing but collecting the dollars from the Fed. Middlemen.
      If the interest is in moving money more quickly, as it should be, then sales taxes are more effective, even if some income taxes are paid monthly or quarterly. Also, there's an economy of scale realizable in the collection and processing of sales taxes that you don't get with income tax collections from individuals, especially if there are no large corporate employers doing the collecting.
      For some reason, I suspect it's because the Congress has been trying to ration the dollars and rationing prompts hoarding, the rate at which dollars get passed around has slowed to a trickle in the last three decades, as this graph attests:

      MZM is money that earns no interest but does show up in bank accounts, where it is counted.

      The graph for another kind of money M2M shows the same pattern:

      You can see the effect of the stimulus in 2009.

      The rate at which dollars move from hand to hand goes up and then Wall Street engineers a recession to bring it back down and capture more for their coffers. Since Wall Street churning dollars in short trades does not get taxed -- i.e. none go back to the Treasury, dollars churning on Wall Street are effectively being hoarded (think rodent on a treadmill in a cage).

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 04:06:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Washington Has the Single Most Regressive Taxes (7+ / 0-)

    in the US. Or it did when I lived there.

    The job creators enjoy a very Republican treatment by the state. If I were Republican I'd consider touting that.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:59:30 PM PDT

    •  You're right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, auron renouille

      Probably the worst thing about living here.  Incredibly high barriers to small business success and the middle class bears the brunt of taxation.

    •  it still does (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, Stude Dude

      the lowest quintile of workers pay an average 18% or so of income in state taxes, the highest quintile of workers pay maybe 5% of their income in state taxes.

      In Oregon nearly every worker is between 7 and 9%.

      ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

      by James Allen on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:25:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Gooserock - exactly, the state of Washington (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, Silvia Nightshade

      has NO income tax. The GOP loves that and would likely overstate the case for why Washington is booming.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:48:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Still does (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, greengemini

      And the Seattle Times is at the forefront of maintaining that status. Almost 10% sales tax. No income tax.

      The cited Danny Westneat recently wrote a fairly positive column about the state's tax revolution by initiative mercenary, Tim Eyman.

      I've been unemployed here for quite some time and I don't know much about a boom. Amazon.com is hiring a lot of out-of-towners to staff the half of downtown they have appropriated.

      The law, in its majestic equality, gives the rich as well as the poor the right to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to eat dumpster donuts. - With apologies to Anatole France

      by chuckvw on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 11:44:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It does (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini, chuckvw

      The sales tax is absurdly high, and even so, not actually sufficient for funding the state.

      It's fair to call the western half of the state "liberal", although I think "left-libertarian" would be a better label. But "socialist" it is not.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 05:31:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  that's the story in texas (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw

      no income tax, but sales and property taxes. poorest quintile pay twice as much a percentage of their income in taxes than the next quintile. and each next quintile pays less than the previous.

      "Today is who you are" - my wife

      by I Lurked For Years on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 07:09:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Really enjoyed reading that this morning (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril

    and all the sputtering right wing responses were a hoot!  Really brought the contrast out between real reality and their constructed reality.

  •  Yeah baby! I adored this column of Westneat's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril

    a psychiatrist could..... "eliminate whether Geoffrey was having an affair, or had become gay, whether he had a social disease, or had become a Republican." - Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

    by FlamingoGrrl on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:16:54 PM PDT

  •  oh my (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kovie, greengemini

    I may have to give up this bastion of the right to work, Arizona, where the air is polluted, job benefits are severely limited, the taxes are going up on the middle class and the 'independents' think they are just that because they don't watch Fox, but do listen to Rush, and return to the socialist paradise I was forced to leave in '05. Seattle I do so miss you.

    •  If we ever get real high-speed rail in the US (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, Dirtandiron, Lahdee

      It might someday be viable to "commute" from the PNW to the SW relatively affordably and easily. 200mph trains mean an 8 hour train trip from Seattle to Phoenix, even faster if ultra-high speed rail arrives. I think that HSR is one of the most incredibly underrated technologies that we'd massively benefit from.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 07:31:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Big mountains, no one lives there (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nextstep

        High speed rail is viable in Europe and Japan, because of population density. (Yes, people who live in the Intermountain West are pretty dense......)

        A high speed rail line from Cascadia to the southwest would run by jackrabbits, sagebrush and a couple of dozen Tea Partiers.

        High speed rail would need Corporate Welfare that usually only the defense department sees.

        •  Enough cities and big tourist sites to support it (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chuckvw, Dirtandiron

          E.g. Yakima, Spokane/Coeur D'Alene, Boise, SLC, Moab & Utah parks, Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Las Vegas, Reno, etc. It doesn't have to built all at once. Once built, though, it will not only serve existing needs, but create new ones by making them viable. Tons of tourism/vacation dollars there.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:39:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Park City can barely support a city bus (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nextstep

            The municipal bus system just started running buses between Salt Lake and Park City.  They had tried before, but they were losing too much money.

            Also, our mountains are a lot bigger and Japan's or even Switzerland's.  Tunneling through mountains or dynamiting them to create road bed to run high speed rail is going to create an ecological disaster.

            •  No need to build HSR access to everywhere (0+ / 0-)

              Only to major hubs, which can then branch off to existing or new and less expensive and intrusive lower-speed connections. A HSR line to SLC would obviously suffice for most of N Utah, with perhaps another one to Moab for S Utah and on to Arizona. And it's not like there's a lack of existing rail and highway right-of-ways and tunnels, bridges and viaducts that could be leveraged to build HSR lines.

              "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

              by kovie on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 02:09:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed about Westneat (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, Dirtandiron

    He tends to be one of those annoying, lazy and smarmy "both sides do it" bloviators who tries to find some safe middle path between the two "extremes", but on this he gets it right. I didn't have the nerve to check the comments section, which at over 300 comments undoubtedly had a lot of angry wingnuts spewing their bile because their pony got a boo boo.

    I miss the old P-I, before it went web-only and became a shell of its former self. Seattle deserves two real dailies. I wouldn't at all be surprised if Amazon develops a Kindle-based one that eventually goes national, with localized content. It's an obvious business model just waiting to happen and yet another way that Seattle can add more jobs given that Amazon is becoming one of its top empoyers, and really its top employer in Seattle proper, Microsoft being in Redmond and Boeing in Everett, Renton and Kent, and WaMu gone.

    Makes me want to consider moving back there in a few years. I miss it a lot. And it's not as if the weather's been any better on the east coast!

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 07:26:04 AM PDT

    •  Agree about the P-I (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie

      The death of the P-I was a sad day for news in Seattle. The Times is insufferable about 98% of the time (I rarely read it anymore, just skim the headlines to see if anything strikes my eye). And when they go to a pay wall in the next few weeks, they'll lose me for good. (After the whole McKenna ad fiasco last election they lost the last pieces of credibility they had left).

      I think what I found most interesting with this piece is not the belief that something is wonderfully fantastic in Seattle right now (seems to be getting better but there are still many important issues that need to be addressed, both economically and socially), but the truth in the basic premise: to the right wing, Seattle is some bastion of lunatic lefties and tax and spend government (along with pretty much the entire West Coast and, well, all big northern cities). But despite that, this and many other big, liberal cities are in as good or better shape economically when compared to deep red areas of the country.

      •  Obvious issues aside, Seattle is a HUGELY (0+ / 0-)

        successful city. I recently moved back east after 10 years there (living in N Seattle, like you, just a few blocks from McGinn's house and the remodeled Fred Meyers), and like any city it has its issues, e.g. the lack of proper mass transit (being addressed finally if still inadequately), lack of well-distributed diversity (still way too white & yuppie), rising crime (a whole bunch of shootings near where I lived my last year there). But on the whole it's a city that works, with relatively low crime, clean streets, lots of great parks, reasonably well-managed growth, economic growth in 21st century industries, fairly low stress, etc.

        I still check both papers' web sites out of nostalgia, as even the Times feels more "homey" than the NYT, and even post in the comments sometimes (I love messing with the resident wingnuts who are INSANE). One of the things I liked about Seattle was that it had a small town feel to it even though it was a large modern city. I never felt tiny the way I sometimes do in NYC, even when downtown. It's a city that's built on human dimensions.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 02:20:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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