The Nation's John Nichols wrote last week that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has adopted a "Southern strategy" of promoting union-busting policies and economic-development strategies that raid Northern states and move jobs to states where organized labor is restrained and wages are kept low.
One can understand using a politician's economic development policies to persuade voters (Walker faces a recall election tomorrow) to cast their ballot in a particular manner, but using anti-southern bigotry and misinformation demonstrates ignorance of how economic development actually works.
Never mind that “northern” residents and businesses have been flocking to the south for more than three decades – and not just because of the warmer climate. Businesses have found that operating costs are lower - including those associated with energy, taxes, labor and real estate. Would Nichols have residents of southern states not try to improve their economic condition by adopting policies that make their locations more competitive
And, while the south has enjoyed cost advantages the Wall Street Journal reported on May 20th that the Midwest is closing the business cost gap.
Southern states aren’t the only ones guilty of “raiding” either. Indiana and other Midwest states have conducted well orchestrated marketing campaigns in Illinois when that state raised its corporate income taxes. Nevada, New Mexico and other western states have taken advantage of California’s fiscal and tax problems to attract businesses to their state. It’s an economic development strategy used by nearly every state, not just southern ones.