MEC’s current chairman William Yates III said growing existing business while creating jobs and creating an attractive environment for new businesses are important factors when striving to “do better.”
Mississippi’s state government officials –the same ones who talk about “reducing government” yet admit openly to spending more than ever before in state history; the same ones who purportedly fight federal encroachment but quickly line up to support federal subsidies and mandates; the same ones who claim to disapprove of issuing state debt for the same type of local government spending they then rubber stamp; and the same ones who say they’ve killed legislation to increase taxes on internet consumers yet conveniently leave out that a state agency has already imposed it through administrative rules changes — these same officials are working to provide this same level of dedication to Mississippians by predicting “the jobs of the future.”
If “predicting the jobs of the future” sounds like an attempt to mimic the tone one might hear in a voiceover of a production at Disney’s Epcot Center, its only because — just like at Disney — the entire operation works on the same premise of momentary suspension of common sense. And though as a taxpayer you would have to invest an arm, a leg and take out a second mortgage for the privilege of just paying your part to get the state back to break even, they’re still making you exit through the gift shop just in case there’s money that didn’t shake free from your pockets on the last ride.
Welcome to the latest political iteration of the Mississippi Economic Council and many politicians idea of a ‘free market economy’, which ironically is not free, not the results of market decisions and bears no resemblance whatsoever to what is economical. It works, in fact, similarly to how a controlled economy in a fully-socialist country would work — that is, if it had ever worked.
But don’t you worry none, John and Jane Q. Public. The Mississippi Economic Council is touring the state to make darn sure you understand. They were in Meridian a few days ago.
(MEC Interim President Scott) Waller presented several questions to the audience, who were able to submit multiple-choice answers via a small handset.
The first question asked if the state economy is better now than it was five years ago. Sixty percent said yes.
When asked what factors were important in creating and improving a robust economy, 57 percent said improving the skills of the state’s workforce, while 33 percent said improving the state’s image.
Waller said also stressed the importance of investing in infrastructure, specifically the improvement of roads and bridges. When asked, 62 percent of the audience said it was extremely important, while 30 percent said very important.
When asked if they supported spending more money to do so, 38 strongly supported it, while 54 percent supported it. Six percent opposed the action.
MEC also puts a high premium on education, as it assists in preparing the workforce for future jobs.
Waller cited a Georgetown University study that showed 65 percent of jobs will require some sort of secondary education by the year 2020.
When asked if the workforce was prepared to meet the needs of today and the jobs of the future, 71 percent said “somewhat prepared.
“What that tells me is we have work to do,” Waller said.
Indeed they do. But, with time and gobs of money, and plenty of echo chamber events like these and the Hobnob held a few weeks ago, they might just get the answers they’re looking for.
We can only hope the effort continues to lead to dead-ends when trying to talk the Legislature into raising taxes as they have repeatedly over the past few sessions.