Wednesday, December 14, 2005

"Sound financial footing" ... my foot

The recently released Milken Institute report on the L.A. economy finds that the county's biggest employer is local government (462,960) which also tied for first place in job creation in the years 1980-2003, adding over 111,000 jobs

Local government employment, however, is surpassed by the county's informal sector which Milken researchers estimate now employs 679,000.

The L.A. Times' lead editorial re the Milken report fails to connect these dots.

High taxes and onerous regulations explain and support government employment and they drive businesses underground.

Times editorial writers rue instead the fact that off-the-books companies do not pay sales taxes.

But "[b]usinesses can be offered amnesty for past transgressions. Business education programs could offer both strategic advice and help in obtaining capital for those willing to comply. If such efforts were even half successful, public attitudes about the underground economy could shift, the city and the county would be on a sounder financial footing and Los Angeles would be a better city, even if lunch might be a dollar more."

A "sounder financial footing" and more taxes collected, perhaps to support even more government jobs. All that is missing from the reverie is an end to declining newspaper readership.