The city of Seattle is blazing trails in the assault on business and disincentive for job creation, and Seattle Times columnist Jon Talton is correct to warn of a reckoning:
One thing is clear. The tax will not be paid by Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, or any other real or imagined toffs running the targeted companies. It will be “paid” by hiring fewer people here, making fewer investments, thus perhaps reducing overall taxes to the city. This is not sticking it to The Man.
One of the fascinating aspects of the jobs tax is how it reveals a tectonic shift in Seattle politics.
The slow-moving but generally pragmatic center-left that governed for years has collapsed.
Some of Talton’s lessons are either (it seems to me) either off base or specific to Seattle. I’m suspicious, notably, of the blame that he puts on the GOP for becoming a “hard-right party” that exploded its leverage by booting its centrists. One needn’t change the tilt of one’s head too much to see that as something more like a center-right party that didn’t move far enough to the left to keep progressive activists from attacking its donors and volunteers.
Consider Talton’s complaint that voters don’t have options; that can be a sign that people won’t run, given the charged atmosphere. In short, this probably isn’t quite the distinct trend that he presents it as:
Meanwhile, a hard-left movement arose with the activist foot soldiers, infrastructure and energy to win municipal elections. It might represent a minority of voters, but given the withering away of the old order, it can win. Voters don’t have alternatives.
This lesson is probably increasingly universal across the country. An activist infrastructure has been built up with funding from embedded interests (like labor unions), a supremely wealthy progressive elite, and siphoned taxpayer money from the Obama Administration. At the local level, it targets any politician or grassroots organization that attempts to offer an alternative, and so the alternative doesn’t get a voice.
So… the city gets insane tax-and-spend policies that create obvious incentives against economic activity and for reliance on public subsidies. A reckoning will come, indeed.