You Will Never Be Poor Enough

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Last week, I wrote about a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report that ranked the business climate in Pennsylvania as poor.

One of the states the Chamber ranks as having a good business climate is the low-wage and high-poverty state of Florida.

Wages and regulations, it seems, are even too high in Florida. Matt Stoller quotes Florida Governor Rick Scott:

There’s a reason [the jobs are overseas]. The labor’s less expensive, the regulation’s less expensive. Everything we do to make it harder on businesspeople means fewer jobs in Florida and less money to do the things we want to do.

If your state's whole strategy is to enter a global race to the bottom in terms of wage, benefits, environmental standards, and other regulations, your middle class has already lost.

Of course, there is a better way — helping businesses use skills and advanced technology to compete in customized markets with price premiums high enough to maintain U.S. living standards.

For more detail on this type of "high road" strategy, here are two excellent papers from Kochan and Shulman and Helper on manufacturing.

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