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Commanding failure: Yet more proof

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Monday, Sept. 21, 2009
 

An in-depth analysis of Michigan's fumbling foray into government-directed "economic development" is must reading in Pennsylvania, which embraces the same fiscal policies -- and with the same miserable outcomes.

In what The Wall Street Journal calls "one of the largest experiments in smokestack chasing in American history," Michigan politicians over the past 14 years have provided $3.3 billion in tax credits plus another $1.6 billion to create jobs. The results in the analysis by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank, aren't pretty.

For every 100 jobs promised by politicians through tax credits for the favored few, only 29 materialized. Worse still, for every $1 million in manufacturing tax credits from 2001 to 2007 in a given county, 95 manufacturing jobs were lost in that county.

Two initiatives that promised to accrue half a million jobs and $440 billion in new investment by 2010 went bust in 2007 amid millions in bad loans.

And despite politicians' chorus for "jobs, jobs, jobs," the authors write, "(T)here's little evidence to show that these direct financial incentives actually have any impact on state employment levels."

Whether the same programs in Pennsylvania are called "economic development" or "WAMs" or "Susquehanna Succotash," they're a waste of precious taxpayer dollars.

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