I did a double-take when I picked up my morning Clarion-Ledger. The headline read, “Mississippi’s Economic Outlook Ranks in Top 10 Nationally, Annual Report Says.” Seriously? While I love trumpeting good news about my state, I’m no Pollyanna. Was this a Rip Van Winkle thing? Did I go to sleep for 20 years and miss the big transformation?
Then I read the report and found the variables used to come up with this list. Things like low taxes, little regulation, low union participation. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves was so excited about this list that he said, “The report is more proof that we are on the right track to bringing higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs to the state.” Wonder if he choked on his cornbread when he gave that quote to the reporter?
It seems there is a definite bias to this report and an erroneous connection between cause and effect. When I think of “economic outlook,” I think of jobs, household income, education, home prices and such.
Mississippi’s unemployment rate remains stuck above the national average. Our median household income is the lowest in the country. While we did not take the hit from the housing crisis in 2007-2008, we also have not experienced the gains as seen elsewhere. And our education system? Don’t get me started!
While I would love to see Mississippi making one of the good lists, I call “bunk” on this report. The only thing it measures is the stubbornness of our legislators. It is just reinforcement for bad policy. The list of red states produced by this study is verification of ideological blindness. When it comes to economic development, the only color that matters is green.
Mr. Reeves, Mississippians are begging you! Forget holding the party line. Just show us the money!
And the Clarion-Ledger’s promotion of this junk science report? Lazy.
» Nancy Lottridge Anderson, Ph.D., CFA, is president of New Perspectives Inc. in Ridgeland — (601) 991-3158. She is also an assistant professor of finance at Mississippi College. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and her website is www.newper.com.